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Struggling to predict how species shift with climate

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  • Mike Neuman
    Struggling to predict how species shift with climate September 2006 Biologists increasingly accept that conservation efforts must anticipate the effects of
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 11, 2006
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      Struggling to predict how species shift with climate
      September 2006

      Biologists increasingly accept that conservation efforts must
      anticipate the effects of future climate change.

      Bioclimatic models, which estimate how the distribution of different
      species changes with climate, are vital for planning conservation
      projects. But it is difficult to choose which model to use since
      biologists disagree about their relative performances.

      In this article, Miguel Araújo and Carsten Rahbek examine progress in
      the field.

      A recent assessment of prominent models found that some widely used
      models performed poorly, while the ones that performed best were more
      recent and complex.

      It is challenging to assess whether models that give accurate
      descriptions of the current species distribution will correctly
      predict the future. Robust predictions of future distributions under
      climate change are key, but a study this year showed that results
      vary wildly between different models.

      Techniques such as 'hindcasting' — in which models are tested with
      reconstructed species distributions from the fossil record — could
      improve accuracy.

      What is clear, given the uncertainties surrounding this kind of
      prediction, is the need for a new round of testing.

      http://www.scidev.net/Features/index.cfm?
      fuseaction=readFeatures&itemid=549&language=1

      Link to article in Science
      http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/313/5792/1396?
      ijkey=BFFEUDO.5RsHE&keytype=ref&siteid=sci
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