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Posted Mon Jul 11 2011: from PlanetForward:
Evolution and Climate: Thoreau's Woods Reveal Patterns
Primack combined his data with that of Henry David Thoreau, a 19th century naturalist, to illustrate that the effect of climate change on different plant species is biased against certain lineages. Groups of closely related plants that have not shifted the timing of traits (such as when they flower) to match changes in temperature have decreased in abundance due to climate change. Primack wanted to know how evolutionary relationships influence plant species' susceptibility to climate change. He and his students surveyed Thoreau's woods for flowering-time responses and abundance of the same plants Thoreau and other botanists counted a century and a half earlier. Thoreau's woods, located in the town of Concord, Massachusetts, are ideal for such studies because up to 60 percent of Concord land is protected or undeveloped.... More specifically, there was a correlation between flowering-time tracking of seasonal temperatures and changes in abundance, indicating that plant species that did not track temperatures have experienced greater declines than species that do track temperature. This pattern was found in plant families such as dogwood, mint, orchids and roses. The study is notable because it shows that climate change-induced species loss is happening and does not occur randomly. Entire lineages, encompassing many closely related species, are being lost completely.
[Read more stories about: ecosystem interrelationships, global warming, sixth extinction]

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'Doc Jim says:
Those lineages lead lives of quiet desperation.

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