Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Genetic variation down 80% by 2080

ScienceDaily (Aug. 24, 2011) — If global warming continues as expected, it is estimated that almost a third of all flora and fauna species worldwide could become extinct. Scientists from the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum, BiK-F) and the SENCKENBERG Gesellschaft für Naturkunde discovered that the proportion of actual biodiversity loss should quite clearly be revised upwards: by 2080, more than 80 % of genetic diversity within species may disappear in certain groups of organisms, according to researchers in the title story of the journal Nature Climate Change. The study is the first world-wide to quantify the loss of biological diversity on the basis of genetic diversity.
This is the news release from ScienceDaily outlining one of the latest studies and projections for species extinctions due to climate change, this time drawing attention to the loss of genetic variation within species.  Further details from Joe Romm's Climate Progress here.  Time and again, studies are appearing that point towards the IPCC worst case scenarios either being the most likely to occur, or else rather understated.  Romm quotes from a report in the Royal Society special issue on 'Biological Diversity in a Changing World' (November 27, 2010, 365) that usefully captures the tone, put simply, '[t]here are very strong indications that the current rate of species extinctions far exceeds anything in the fossil record.'

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