Earth Science, Life Science, Natural Selection & Evolution, NSE 4: Adaption (HS), NSE 4: Fitness (MS), W&C 1: Changing Climates (HS), W&C 2: Biomes (MS), W&C 2: Future Climate (HS), Weather and Climate

Predicting Changes in Biodiversity

Risk of biodiversity collapse under climate change in the Afro-Arabian region

SUMMARY: This study looked at three families of mammals (rodents, shrews, and bovines) in the Sahara and Arabian Desert regions. Researchers wanted to know how these animals would react to climate change if they were able to move away from the region versus if they were unable to migrate out. The number of animals that would go extinct or lose their habitats by 2050 and 2070 were compared. Results showed approximately the same number of species going extinct in 2050 and 2070 regardless of whether or not they were able to migrate out of the area. Half the species listed as “Least Concern” by the IUCN will become either “Vulnerable” or “Extinct” soon.

LESSON COMMENTS: As part of the global warming conversation/discussion, teachers can use this article to talk about the ability of some animals to adapt and what happens if they cannot. Using the results from this project, teachers can delve further to see if the same results were found by other researchers looking at models of other biomes around the world. Please note that the researchers do say that their results should be interpreted cautiously. The discussion and conservation implication sections are easier to read and can be the focal point of assignments on possible solutions.

Soultan, A., Wikelski, M., & Safi, K. (2019). Risk of biodiversity collapse under climate change in the Afro-Arabian region. Scientific reports, 9(1), 955. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-37851-6