Why, Do You Know, Why Reasons

Do you know the 'why' reasons, or, do the 'whys' often bother you for scientific explanations? For instance, you do know that stars twinkle, but do you know the reasons why, and how? Or, do you know the 'why' reasons behind falling in love? Or, do you know the reasons why dogs bury bones? Probably many of you don’t! Why Corner – the 'why' blog, answers these 'whys' for basic knowledge, with real reasons for the 'why' facts. So, just know them all here if you have the 'why' urge, that is!

May 12, 2008

Do you know why global warming is the greatest threat to tropical species?

Prof. Know Why answers for your general knowledge and awareness on why global warming is the greatest threat to tropical species:

Global warming is the ultimate concern in today’s world, if you care! Nearly every other day, news headlines are flooded with the topic of global warming, although most of us are probably ignorant about the consequences that global warming can actually cause to living beings.

The latest research on global warming says that while global warming is expected to be strongest at the poles, it may be an even greater threat to species living in the tropics.

Tropical species are accustomed to living in a small temperature range and thus may be unable to cope with changes of even a few degrees, according to an analysis in the last week’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research was led by Tewksbury, an assistant professor of biology at the University of Washington and Curtis A. Deutsch, an assistant professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"There's a strong relationship between your physiology and the climate you live in. 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," Joshua J. Tewksbury said in a statement.

Concern over global warming has largely focused on arctic species like the polar bear. But such animals may be accustomed to living in a wide range of temperatures, while there tends to be little change in the tropics, so there has been no need for species there to adapt.

"The direct effects of climate change on the organisms we studied appear to depend a lot more on the organisms' flexibility than on the amount of warming predicted for where they live," Tewksbury said. "The tropical species in our data were mostly thermal specialists, meaning that their current climate is nearly ideal and any temperature increases will spell trouble for them."

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