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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Apr 30;99(9):6070-4. Epub 2002 Apr 23.

Climate change hastens population extinctions.

Author information

1
Department of Environmental Sciences, Huxley College of the Environment, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9181, USA. jmcl@cc.wwu.edu

Abstract

Climate change is expected to alter the distribution and abundance of many species. Predictions of climate-induced population extinctions are supported by geographic range shifts that correspond to climatic warming, but few extinctions have been linked mechanistically to climate change. Here we show that extinctions of two populations of a checkerspot butterfly were hastened by increasing variability in precipitation, a phenomenon predicted by global climate models. We model checkerspot populations to show that changes in precipitation amplified population fluctuations, leading to rapid extinctions. As populations of checkerspots and other species become further isolated by habitat loss, climate change is likely to cause more extinctions, threatening both species diversity and critical ecosystem services.

PMID:
11972020
PMCID:
PMC122903
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.052131199
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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