Tropical species could be more threatened than arctic ones
Despite all the media attention given to arctic species that are endangered, scientists are saying that tropical species are in more trouble from dying out than the arctic ones. A team out of the University of Washington say that the temperature changes cause the tropical areas of the world to experience more extreme changes and even just a degree or two of warmth will make a huge difference.
But how could the earth warming up a few degrees make such a difference in a place where it is already warm?
It turns out that the organisms are really suspectible to change and even a slight change in temperature affects them; they cannont handle even the slightest heat change. They are used to living in a narrow temperature range.
"There's a strong relationship between your physiology and the climate you live in," said Tewksbury, "In the tropics many species appear to be living at or near their thermal optimum, a temperature that lets them thrive. But once temperature gets above the thermal optimum, fitness levels most likely decline quickly and there may not be much they can do about it."
Arctic temperatures change more frequently and the species that are used to living there have adapted to these changes.
"Many tropical species can only tolerate a narrow range of temperatures because the climate they experience is pretty constant throughout the year," said Curtis Deutsch, an assistant professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles. "Our calculations show that they will be harmed by rising temperatures more than would species in cold climates.
More species live in the tropics than in the arctic climate as well, and some of them are the most important to human survival: species such as frogs and lizards.