Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Climate Change Predicted to Cause Major Behavioral Shifts

There are many examples of evolutionary changes in species that result from drastic shifts in environmental conditions. Charles Darwin provided some of the first evidence of rapid adaptations based on environmental factors when he studied finches in the Galapagos Islands. Like the finches, who quickly developed new beak structures over a small number of generations because of changes in available food, several species have already been forced to alter their habits and behaviors because of the environmental impacts of climate change. Recent research in this area focuses not only on possible physical adaptations, but also alterations in behavioral patterns.

Previously, studies have indicated that climate change had led to changes in the migration patterns of birds. Biologist Allen Hurlbert notes that,“timing of bird migration is something critical for the overall health of bird species. They have to time it right so they can balance arriving on breeding grounds after there’s no longer a risk of severe winter conditions. If they get it wrong, they may die or may not produce as many young. A change in migration could begin to contribute to population decline, putting many species at risk for extinction.”

To read the full article, see: http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/climate-change-predicted-to-cause-major-behavioral-shifts/

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