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Scientific developments
NASA's WISE Mission Captures Black Hole's Wildly Flaring Jet

Climatic Fluctuations Drove Key Events in Human Evolution, Researchers Find

Researchers Discover How 'Promiscuous Parasites' Hijack Host Immune Cells

Using Human Genomes to Illuminate the Mysteries of Early Human History

Carnivorous Plant Inspires Coating That Resists Just About Any Liquids

From the Comfort of Home, Web Users May Have Found New Planets

Aquarium Fishes Are More Aggressive in Reduced Environments, New Study Finds

Bioengineers Reprogram Muscles to Combat Degeneration

Asia Was Settled in Multiple Waves of Migration, DNA Study Suggests

Some Brain Wiring Continues to Develop Well Into Our 20s

Evolutionary Tree of Life for Mammals Greatly Improved

Nitrate Levels Rising in Northwestern Pacific Ocean

Nanoscale Nonlinear Light Source Optical Device Can Be Controlled Electronically

Cloaking Magnetic Fields: First Antimagnet Developed

Nature Offers Key Lessons On Harvesting Solar Power, Say Chemists

Monkeys Also Reason Through Analogy, Study Shows

Invasion of Genomic Parasites Triggered Modern Mammalian Pregnancy, Study Finds

Jumping Gene Enabled Key Step in Corn Domestication

Salty Water and Gas Sucked Into Earth's Interior Helps Unravel Planetary Evolution

People Learn While They Sleep, Study Suggests

New Technique Maps Twin Faces of Smallest Janus Nanoparticles

New 'FeTRAM' Is Promising Computer Memory Technology

Hide-And-Seek: Altered HIV Can't Evade Immune System

Scientists Reveal Molecular Sculptor of Memories

Correcting Sickle Cell Disease With Stem Cells

Ancient Climate Change Has Left a Strong Imprint On Modern Ecosystems
As Earths climate cycles between warm and cool periods, species often must move to stay within suitable conditions. Scientists have now mapped how fast species have had to migrate in the past to keep up with changing climate. They found that small-ranged species which constitute much of Earths biodiversity are concentrated in regions where little migration has been required. Climate change due to human activities will drastically increase the required migration rates in many of these locations, putting their unique faunas at risk.

During the Last Glacial Maximum (21,000 years ago) Earth's climate was much cooler and many species were forced to occupy very different areas than they do today. In northern Europe, for example, many of the species found today are relatively recent arrivals from their refuges in southern Europe. A team of ecologists and computer scientists have asked how fast species around the world have had to migrate to keep up with this massive historical climate change and whether there are differences in the modern communities between places with low and high required migration rates.

Required migration rates were estimated by calculating how fast climate conditions have moved over Earth's surface at a point. This velocity depends on both the rate of temperature change through time and on local topography. On steep topography, a short distance traveled can produce a large difference in temperature, leading to small climate-change velocities.

What happens if a species cannot migrate as fast as it must to keep up with the velocity of climate change? Its range may shrink and, in some cases, the species may go extinct. This is most likely when climate-change velocity is high relative to species' dispersal abilities. The researchers tested this by mapping patterns of small-ranged species diversity for all terrestrial amphibians, mammals and birds. High concentrations of small-ranged species occurred where velocities were low (for example, the South American Andes), and small-ranged species rarely occurred at all where velocities were high (much of northern Europe, for example). Weak dispersers (amphibians) were most strongly affected by velocity, while the strongest dispersers (birds) were least affected.Within the mammals, bats showed patterns more similar to birds, while non-flying mammals were more like the amphibians. Thus, there appears to be a direct connection between the required migration velocity, a species' ability to disperse in response, and ultimately, the probability that a species will be driven to extinction by climate change.

This research provides the first evidence that past regional climate shifts interact with local topography and species dispersal abilities with long-lasting important consequences for the global distribution of biodiversity.

Anthropogenic climate change is leading to increased climate-change velocities. Moreover, there are several regions in the world including the Amazon basin and much of Africa where velocities have historically been rather low but are expected to increase rapidly in the next 70 years. These areas, by virtue of their historically low velocities, have high concentrations of small-ranged species. These species will likely be at particular risk as velocities increase over the next several decades.


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Laser Light Used to Cool Object to Quantum Ground State

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Long-Lost Lake Agassiz Offers Clues to Climate Change

Series of Bumps Sent Uranus Into Its Sideways Spin, New Research Suggests

Venus Has an Ozone Layer Too, Space Probe Discovers

Supersaturated Water Vapor in Martian Atmosphere

Is Chivalry the Norm for Insects?

Crab Pulsar Beams Most Energetic Gamma Rays Ever Detected from a Pulsar

Subtly Shaded Map of Moon Reveals Titanium Treasure Troves

Ancient Climate Change Has Left a Strong Imprint On Modern Ecosystems

Astrophysics and Extinctions: News About Planet-Threatening Events

Giant 'Kraken' Lair Discovered: Cunning Sea Monster That Preyed On Ichthyosaurs


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Easily Embarrassed? Study Finds People Will Trust You More

Stardust Discovered in Far-Off Planetary Systems

Galaxy Caught Blowing Bubbles

Sharks Are in Trouble, New Analysis Confirms

Engineers 'Cook' Promising New Heat-Harvesting Nanomaterials in Microwave Oven

NASA Space Telescope Finds Fewer Asteroids Near Earth

Scientists Release Most Accurate Simulation of the Universe to Date

'Superfast' Muscles Responsible for Bat Echolocation

Space Telescopes Reveal Secrets of Turbulent Black Hole

'Alarm Clock' Gene Explains Wake-Up Function of Biological Clock

Mechanism Uncovered for the Establishment of Vertebrate Leftright Asymmetry

Astronomers Reveal Supernova Factory

Reefs Recovered Faster After Mass Extinction Than First Thought

Gravitational Waves That Are 'Sounds of the Universe'

Decline and Recovery of Coral Reefs Linked to 700 Years of Human and Environmental Activities

Unprecedented Arctic Ozone Loss Last Winter

'Mirage-Effect' Helps Researchers Hide Objects

Electricity from the Nose: Engineers Make Power from Human Respiration

Natural Compound Helps Reverse Diabetes in Mice

Physicists Move One Step Closer to Quantum Computer

Pumice Proposed as Home to the First Life Forms

Arctic Sea Ice Continues Decline, Hits Second-Lowest Level

Sociability May Depend Upon Brain Cells Generated in Adolescence

Last Universal Common Ancestor More Complex Than Previously Thought

Monkeys 'Move and Feel' Virtual Objects Using Only Their Brains