Categories: Biology

Biodiversity on Earth Increases with Global Warming

biodiversity-tropical-climate

It would seem logical that periods of global warming in Earth’s history started the extinction pulses that defined the geological record. However, that’s not the case as a report that was published this week proves. The warming of Earth is accompanied by an increased biodiversity. That doesn’t mean that the mass extinction pulses won’t take place.

The scientists published their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Evolutionary ecologist and lead author Peter Mayhew and his team discovered the findings by examining the number of known families of marine invertebrates, as well as sea-surface temperatures over the course of 540 million years on Earth.

They found out that when temperatures were high, biodiversity increased. When global temperatures fell, biodiversity declined. This result actually contradicts earlier work, including findings from Mayhew.

Earlier work measured fossil diversity by tallying the first and last appearances of each group of species, which assumed that the creatures existed during the intervening years. Once again, this sounds logical, but overlooks the fact that some geological time periods are better studied than others.

The new study looked only at well-sampled periods and instead of interpolating organisms’ presence from their origin to their extinction, it tallied the species groups present during each period. This comes as somewhat as a surprise that biodiversity increased in periods of global warming. Tropical ecosystems are known to be as the Earth’s most diverse, and this study might explain why.

Warming produces both extinctions and originations. In the past, the originations of new species might have outstripped the loss of old ones, but that doesn’t imply that today’s climate change will be beneficial to all.

The rate of change is what’s paramount, states Mayhew. For diversity to rise, new species need to evolve, a process which can take between thousands and millions of years, much slower than the rate at which extinctions are likely to occur with today’s rapid change.

The study’s results are interesting, but it’s the more recent time periods that are even more important, in the scale of decades and hundreds of years. The details that scientists are interested in aren’t ascertained by looking into the deep past. An examination of the more recent fossil record is warranted.

[via Nature]

Share

View Comments

Recent Posts

NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Captures Closest View of Jupiter’s Icy Moon Europa in 22 Years

Observations from the Juno spacecraft’s close pass of the icy moon provided the first close-up…

September 30, 2022

Russian Cosmonauts Undock From Space Station and Return to Earth

Yesterday, September 29, the Soyuz spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) at 3:34…

September 30, 2022

Ancestral Heritage and Cancer: New Connection Discovered

The study also identified a new prostate cancer taxonomy. Two groundbreaking studies recently published in the…

September 30, 2022

Scientists Discover the Secret to Making Food Seem Tastier

How does color impact how you perceive food? According to recent research, a restaurant may…

September 30, 2022

Celebrate “International Observe the Moon Night 2022” With NASA

NASA invites the public to participate in the celebration of "International Observe the Moon Night"…

September 30, 2022

Increase Happiness and Reduce Stress – Researchers Recommend Replacing Social Media With This Type of Activity

The study recommends replacing social media with physical activity.  Your mental health will be greatly…

September 30, 2022