19 Aug 2011:
Species Moving Rapidly
In Response to Climate Change, Study Says
A new study finds that animal and plant species are responding to the effects of climate change at a rate two to three times faster than previously believed
. Researchers at the University of York in the UK
University of York
found that in more than 2,000 instances, species are changing their habitats to adapt to warming temperatures. On average, they found that species are moving toward higher elevations at 12.2 meters (40 feet) per decade and toward the poles at 17.6 kilometers (11 miles) per decade. “These changes are equivalent to animals and plants shifting away from the Equator at around 20 [centimeters] per hour, for every hour of the day, for every day of the year,” said Chris Thomas, a professor of conservation biology and lead author of the study, published in the journal Science
. In the UK, for instance, the comma butterfly has moved 220 kilometers north from central England to Edinburgh in just two decades, while the Cetti’s warbler, a small songbird, has moved 150 kilometers during the same period. In addition, the study found that species have been moving fastest in regions where temperatures have warmed the most.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
e360 on Facebook
Donate to e360
View mobile site
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscribe to our feed:
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
, winner of the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, documents the work of African researchers monitoring wildlife in Uganda's remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Watch the video.