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06/14/2011 05:40 AM ID: 89720 Permalink   

Animals, Plants May Not Evolve Fast Enough to Evade Global Warming


According to a study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. journal, life may not be able to evolve quickly enough to survive the threat of climate change. The study was conducted on a tide pool copepod.

Though these tiny sea creatures range in habitat from Baja California to Alaska, they showed little ability to evolve tolerance to heat. Study co-author Eric Sanford said the big question is whether organisms can evolve over decades.

The short-lived copepods were bred for 10 generations, each subject to increased heat stress. The 10th generation only showed about 1 degree Fahrenheit improved heat tolerance over the first generation.

    WebReporter: Ben_Reilly Show Calling Card      
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
  by: nimira     06/14/2011 10:35 AM     
  They have before, they likely will again  
Temperature changes have been so extreme to change up to 15 degrees in only 10 years before. Life adapted and survived then.

Nature operates like free market capitalism. You can´t adapt? Then you fail and those who can adapt take your place.
  by: Questioning_Answers     06/14/2011 12:17 PM     
No they won´t. Not most of them. But that IS how evolution works. The vast majority may die but a few will either move somewhere where they can survive, remain in the isolated patches of their previous range that are still survivable, thrive because of an improvement to their circumstance or simply adapt/evolve past the problem. I´m honestly not worried about *ALL* life itself. Lots of thing will survive. But I´ve always liked penguins. I´m gonna miss penguins.
  by: VermiciousG     06/14/2011 01:55 PM     
  Sorry QA  
I wasn´t really arguing with you. It just seems to be a shame that WE had to be the latest and greatest mass extinction event.
  by: VermiciousG     06/14/2011 01:58 PM     
Yeah you were basically saying the same thing I said. Global temperatures don´t really concern me though; nature can recover.

George Carlin on Environmentalism and Global Warming

  by: Questioning_Answers     06/14/2011 02:46 PM     
"15 degree´s in 10 years"?

Refer to: Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum

55.8 million years ago global temperatures rose by about 6°C (11°F) over a period of approximately 20,000 years. Which lead to a thousand years of mass extinction.
  by: ukcn001XYZ   06/14/2011 07:24 PM     
@QA -- where do you get that from? That´s faster warming than I´ve ever heard of.
  by: Ben_Reilly     06/14/2011 07:26 PM     
that evolution takes millions of years...why is this a surprise?
  by: jediman3     06/14/2011 10:30 PM     
Evolution happens over several generations. For microbes that can be a few hours.
  by: VermiciousG     06/15/2011 01:42 AM     
Dang you beat me to that. To add to that it has also been shown that if there isn´t much of the microbes they tend to evolve faster than being crowded.
  by: vhan     06/15/2011 02:51 AM     
  National Geographic: 15 Degrees in 10 Years
As follows:

But getting to the Holocene was a start-stop affair. It began with an abrupt warming—probably the cause of Whitlock´s suddenly altered forest. Then there was another switch, back to cold times, and yet another warming at 11,500 years. In that jump, Greenland´s surface temperature increased by 15 degrees Fahrenheit ( minus 9 degrees Celsius) in a single decade. England warmed suddenly too, becoming a haven for certain beetles that can only live in balmier climes. And on both sides of the North Atlantic, the sudden warmth melted terrestrial glaciers thousands of years old in just a few hundred years.

"All those events happened essentially overnight," says Oregon State University´s Peter Clark, who is tracking climate changes in Ireland´s glacial geology. "We´d like to understand why the sudden retreats happened—what triggered them and if something like that could happen today," says Clark. "But to get those answers, we first need to know as precisely as possible when the ice melted."
  by: Questioning_Answers     06/15/2011 03:59 AM     
Of course, your article points out that kind of warming was only recorded around the North Atlantic. Obviously that´s a bit different.
  by: Ben_Reilly     06/15/2011 05:58 AM     
Well duh, that´s the main reason global warming = bad. The other being inundation.
  by: H. W. Hutchins   06/15/2011 06:40 AM     
"Of course, your article points out that kind of warming was only recorded around the North Atlantic. Obviously that´s a bit different."

* Not if you actually read the entire National Geographic article.

If you read the whole report, you would have also seen that these rapid temperature fluctuations typically occur first in one hemisphere, while the other hemisphere experiences the opposite.

"As the water gets cooler here, the ocean gets warmer in the Southern Hemisphere," says Clark. "It´s a seesaw effect."

That´s what we have been seeing in the past several decades too:

The northern ice sheet has been melting, but the antarctic ice sheet has been growing. This is just as the National Geographic report shows has happened throughout history.

Some may even think that nothing will survive hotter temperatures, but did you know that we´re currently in a cold period of earth´s history?

As it can so easily be seen above, you could accurately describe the earth´s current temperatures as extremely cold. Alaska itself used to be a tropical paradise. According to the last several hundred million years of temperature data, Alaska could easily become tropical again.

Alaska Once Tropical

So in short, no it´s not different, as life has proved to handle anything that´s been thrown at it for billions of years; including a tropical Alaska, a myriad of supervolcanoes, thousands of meteor strikes, and the wild temperature fluctuations which accompany them. Life adapts.
  by: Questioning_Answers     06/15/2011 10:32 AM     
But you´re still talking about localized climate changes. Global warming trends in the Earth´s history have taken place over longer periods, such as the tropical Alaska you cited.

And yes, thanks, I did know that Alaska was once tropical. Fossil remains of crocodile-like reptiles have been found within the Arctic Circle. Did you know Antarctica was once covered by forest and roamed by dinosaurs? Of course, *that* was enabled by continental drift; Antarctica used to be a lot closer to the equator.

I love how you just assume you´re the only one who knows things.
  by: Ben_Reilly     06/15/2011 09:42 PM     
You still didn´t get it. Many global temperature changes throughout history have started as "localized" changes.

Yep continental drift played a part in the process of Alaska being tropical; as did the Earth being many degrees warmer and having zero ice caps did.

Earth is currently in a very cold period, has survived rapid temperature changes before, and there´s no evidence saying that won´t happen again (besides computer models which have already proved inadequate at predicting the future of earth´s temperatures).

I love how you just assume that I just assume that I´m the only one with knowledge, just because I´m trying to communicate ideas with you. It´s probably best not to take a conversation personally.
  by: Questioning_Answers     06/16/2011 01:41 PM     
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