Dispersal And Climate Change

Dispersal and climate change

In many different ecosystems, a large number of species are threatened by climate change due to poor dispersal capabilities. Lacking proper dispersal mechanisms, species such as slow-maturing plants, mosses, and flightless insects simply may not be able to keep up with changing climatic conditions.

You can already see the effects of climate change on Africa’s range-limited species. For example, the once-common Aldabra striped snail (Rhachistia aldabrae) is now so rare that this species of Lazarus was once thought to be extinct in due to climate change. There is also concern that successive droughts in the Cape floristry region have recently killed a rare species of sorrel (Oxalis hygrophila). Next might be cave grasshopper (Cedarbergeniana imperfecta) and Marais pointed-winged grasshopper (Pseudosaga maraisi).

These critically endangered insects are among the few caving specialists in Africa, and although they live in severely constrained and restrictive ecosystems , they face major challenges in adapting to climate change. Dispersal restrictions will also severely affect
terrestrial species living on oceanic islands, which will find it almost impossible to track their climatic niches as they move across the ocean.

One of these species is the Cape Verde skylark (Alauda cepae); As population sizes fluctuate in response to rainfall, drought conditions caused by climate change have brought this bird to the brink of extinction in recent years.

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