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Global Warming Breeds New Species, Ups Biodiversity in Long Run

Sep 04, 2012 09:01 AM EDT
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The impact of global warming is known to cause significant loss in the biodiversity, but a new study reveals a contrasting sequence suggesting that warming planets can actually help in increasing the biodiversity.

However, experts noted they are not suggesting that global warming is good for the species that currently exist. While new species evolve in the long run, the existing species are likely to face extinctions in the mean time.

Global warming is caused due to an increase in average temperatures of the Earth's atmosphere on account of increase in emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon by human activity.

While it is believed that the climate change is affecting the ecosystem and the biodiversity, a team of international researchers from the Universities of York, Glasgow and Leeds, UK, have suggested that global warming can increase biodiversity with the evolution of new species, but only in the long run, a news release from the University of York said.

Researchers analyzed the fossil and geological records dating back to 540 million years ago and studied the pattern of marine invertebrate biodiversity based on improved data available. While warmer periods lead to extinction of species, it also plays a significant role in the evolution of new species. According to experts, warming temperatures increase the biodiversity with new species evolving over millions of years.

"The improved data give us a more secure picture of the impact of warmer temperatures on marine biodiversity and they show that, as before, there is more extinction and origination in warm geological periods. But, overall, warm climates seem to boost biodiversity in the very long run, rather than reducing it," lead author of the study Peter Mayhew, from the Department of Biology at University of York, said in a statement.

When the experts studied the ecological pattern of the species, they found affluent presence of biodiversity towards the Equator, where the temperature is very warm. While studies in the past have suggested a contrast theory, the new records "bring them into line with the ecological pattern," Dr Alistair McGowan, of the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences at the University of Glasgow, said in a statement.

The findings of the study are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)

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