Climate change may have a more unpredictable effect on the distribution of cold-blooded animals than scientists had previously thought, a new analysis shows.
Marine biologist Dr Amanda Bates and colleagues set out to explore how global warming will affect the distribution of animals such as fish, frogs and lizards.
“Although people had assumed that the ranges of species are limited by temperature, this was a paradigm that had not been tested at a global scale,” says Bates, who worked on this study from Deakin University and the University of Tasmania.
In a new analysis published in the journal Nature Climate Change, Bates and colleagues from Simon Fraser University in Canada report that things are not as simple as that assumption might suggest.
The researchers first looked at existing data on what temperature ranges 142 different animal species could live within. They then compared those findings with the actual temperature ranges found where those species exist in the wild.
“We wanted to understand the window that animals can live within—both hot and cold,” Bates says. “And then we asked whether those limits matched where they were found in nature.