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A new study by researchers of the LOEWE Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F) and Goethe University shows that tropical species will be most at risk from rising temperatures as the discrepancy between physiological thermal limits and projected temperatures is highest in tropical regions. In contrast, a large part of mammal and bird species in temperate zones will find ambient temperatures in 2080 within their tolerance ranges. However, indirect effects of rising temperatures may counteract opportunities given by species' physiological tolerances in temperate zones. The paper was published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

In responding to changing ambient conditions, species become extinct, adapt or move to a different, more suitable habitat. One of the largest studies of this kind was carried out by researchers from the German LOEWE Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F) and Goethe University. The study highlights the alternative idea that the species may also just be able to tolerate the ongoing changes. The researchers selected nearly 460 mammal and bird species and analyzed their tolerated temperature ranges. These estimations were subsequently matched with data from geographical distributions and temperatures in these habitats currently and under projected climatic conditions in 2080. The analyzed species are a representative selection of physiological diversity within the global bird and mammal species.
Are species in temperate zones unmoved by climate change?
From a global perspective, 54% of the bird and 62% of the analyzed mammal species will experience temperatures above their tolerated threshold across 50% of their current distribution for a certain period of time. "However, we found significant regional differences. In 2080 the majority of the analyzed mammal and bird species living in the temperate zones will likely find suitable temperature conditions in a large part of their habitat. But they are not off the hook, because rising temperatures might have indirect effects. For instance, higher temperatures may improve conditions for pathogens or competing species and have negative impacts on the occurrence of food resources," says Dr. Christian Hof, Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F).
Species-rich tropical regions are most vulnerable to rising temperatures
The share of species which will experience temperatures above their tolerated threshold increases from polar and temperate regions towards tropical regions, even though increases of temperature projected for temperate and polar regions exceed those in the tropics. "Bird and mammal species living in tropical regions tend to live closer to their upper temperature limits. Even small increases in ambient temperatures may therefore challenge their long-term survival," explains the lead author of the study, Imran Khaliq, a current PhD student at BiK-F. In addition, projections show decreasing precipitation in tropical regions. This worsens the perspective for tropical species as water availability is crucial for endotherm species (such as mammals and birds) to compensate thermal stress.
Birds adapt physiologically to ambient climate, mammals adapt by behavior
Projections of mammal responses to climate change may contain a substantial component of uncertainty as the data show a higher independence of physiologically-tolerated temperatures and climatic conditions in their habitats when compared to birds. This may be due to differing strategies in coping with extreme temperatures. While in birds, physiological adaptations appear to dominate their strategies to cope with extreme temperatures, mammals have developed behavioral strategies to cope with climatic extremes, e.g. creating preferred microclimates in burrows and dens.

Journal Reference:
I. Khaliq, C. Hof, R. Prinzinger, K. Bohning-Gaese, M. Pfenninger. Global variation in thermal tolerances and vulnerability of endotherms to climate change. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2014; 281 (1789): 20141097 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.1097
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One of the riddles of mammal evolution explained: the strong conservation of the number of trunk vertebrae. Researchers of the Naturalis Biodiversity Center and the University of Utah show that this conservation is probably due to the essential role of speed and agility in survival of fast running mammals. They measured variation in vertebrae of 774 individual mammal skeletons of both fast and slow running species. The researchers found that a combination of developmental and biomechanical problems prevents evolutionary change in the number of trunk vertebrae in fast running and agile mammals. In contrast, these problems barely affect slow and sturdy mammals.

The study will appear on 14 July 2014 in PNAS.
The mammal vertebral column is highly variable among species, reflecting adaptations to a wide range of lifestyles, from burrowing in moles to flying in bats. Yet, as a rule, the number of trunk vertebrae varies little between most mammal species. The vertebral column and its high evolutionary potential is considered to be of central importance for the evolution of vertebrates, which is why the constancy is both puzzling and important. The authors propose, on biomechanical and developmental grounds that evolutionary change is virtually impossible in fast running and agile mammals, but only marginally affects slow and sturdy mammals. The rationale is that several mutations are necessary to change the number of trunk vertebrae, with single mutations leading to irregularly shaped transitional lumbosacral vertebrae that are incompletely and asymmetrically fused to the sacrum. These irregular lumbosacral joints reduce flexibility, thus severely hampering running and jumping. Their observations indeed show that selection against these initial changes is strong in fast and agile mammals and weak in slower and sturdier ones.
In total, 774 skeletons of 90 different species were analysed. The skeletons belonged to collections of 9 European natural history museums including Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden.
"The stiffness of the back of a mammal is key to whether evolutionary change is possible or not," said Frietson Galis, one of the authors of the study. "`the locomotion of slow mammals with a stiff back is only marginally affected by irregular lumbosacral joints, but for fast running mammals such joints are fatal " continued Clara ten Broek another author of the study.
"A combination of developmental, biomechanical and evolutionary insights and a large dataset were necessary to solve this puzzle of mammal evolution," said Frietson Galis.
"The stiffness of the back of a mammal is key to whether evolutionary change is possible or not," said Frietson Galis, researcher at Naturalis Biodiversity Center and one of the authors of the study. "the locomotion of slow mammals with a stiff back is only marginally affected by irregular lumbosacral joints, but for fast running mammals such joints are fatal" continued Clara ten Broek another author of the study.
"A combination of developmental, biomechanical and evolutionary insights and a large dataset were necessary to solve this puzzle of mammal evolution," said Frietson Galis.

Journal Reference:
Frietson Galis, David R. Carrier, Joris van Alphen, Steven D. van der Mije, Tom J.M. Van Dooren, Johan A. J. Metz, Clara M.A. ten Broek. Fast running restricts evolutionary change of the vertebral column in mammals. PNAS, 2014 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1401392111
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A team including researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research has developed a novel methodology that, for the first time, combines 3-D and advanced range estimator technologies to provide highly detailed data on the range and movements of terrestrial, aquatic, and avian wildlife species. One aspect of the study focused on learning more about the range and movements of the California condor using miniaturized GPS biotelemetry units attached to every condor released into the wild.
"We have been calculating home ranges for the tracked condors in three dimensions for the first time using this GPS location data, and our novel density estimator was used to incorporate the vertical component of animal movements into projections of space-use," said James Sheppard, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate at the Institute for Conservation Research.
While its population now stands at approximately 400 birds, up from only 22 in the mid-1980s, conservation efforts to reintroduce the California condor to its former habitat in the mountains of California and Mexico have been hampered by a lack of understanding about condor movement patterns and habitat use.
"This data will be used as a predictive management tool to inform conservation efforts to restore condor populations, particularly with regard to emerging threats such as climate change and wind energy impacts," added Sheppard.
The team created highly detailed data sets and visualizations relying on expertise from researchers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, after they tracked three highly iconic but threatened species: California condors, giant pandas, and dugongs, a large, marine animal somewhat similar to the manatee.
"We were able to speed up their software by several orders of magnitude," said Robert Sinkovits, SDSC's director of the Scientific Applications Group, which helps researchers make optimal use of SDSC's larger supercomputers. "In this case, calculations that had formerly taken four days to complete were finished in less than half an hour."

Journal Reference:
Jeff A. Tracey, James Sheppard, Jun Zhu, Fuwen Wei, Ronald R. Swaisgood, Robert N. Fisher. Movement-Based Estimation and Visualization of Space Use in 3D for Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (7): e101205 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101205

News from : Zoological Society of San Diego. "3-D technology used to help California condors, other endangered species." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2014. .

  绿孔雀也称爪哇孔雀、龙鸟,产于东南亚,在中国主要分布于云南及西藏地区,数量稀少,被列为国家一级保护野生动物,目前已处于濒危状况。(张国英 王晋源)
文字来自 新华网云南频道:
图片来自 马鞍山日报:

国家林业局政府网7月14日讯 2014年7月8日上午,黑龙江省森工总局召开新闻发布会,对黑龙江老爷岭国家级东北虎保护区再次发现野生东北虎情况进行了通报。6月23日,老爷岭东北虎国家级自然保护区监测人员在整理监测数据时发现,今年3月31日和4月13日,在保护区内再次拍摄到了清晰的野生东北虎和东北豹影像。经专家比对,这次发现的东北虎和东北豹正是去年在同一地区拍到的两只。省森工总局野生动物保护部门表示,连续拍摄到相同东北虎和东北豹在同一区域出现的视频资料,可初步推测它们已经选择在该区域定居。证明我省林区的自然环境已得到较好的改善,已经具备东北虎等珍稀野生物种的生存条件。(龙江森工天保办)
来自 中国林业网:

中国绿色时报7月7日报道(作者 吴青) 7月3日,在习近平主席和韩国总统朴槿惠的共同见证下,国家林业局副局长张建龙和韩国环境部部长尹成圭在首尔青瓦台签署了《中华人民共和国国家林业局和大韩民国环境部关于野生动植物和生态系统保护合作的谅解备忘录》,决定在野生动植物保护、自然保护区管理、湿地保护与恢复、荒漠化防治等领域进一步发展合作关系,开展互利合作。