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Many Species Not Currently Threatened Likely to Be as The World Heats Up

6/17/2013 10:18:43 AM

An international study released Wednesday shows that many species that are not considered threatened are "highly climate change vulnerable" and may require additional conservation measures to protect them.

A group of more than 100 scientists associated with the International Union for Conservation of Nature found that up to 41 percent of bird species, 29 percent of amphibians and 22 percent of corals fall under this category.

Conservationists and scientists were surprised by the result because they expected more overlap between species currently threatened and species likely to be affected by climate change.

Antarctica: Emperor Penguins Photo by: Flickr user eliduke

"The tragedy of this is that we need to make a lot of decisions about conservation ... before we know what will happen," said Chris Thomas, a biology professor at England's York University who was not involved in the study.

The biggest causes of extinction now are habitat loss, overexploitation and invasive species, but this may change as the world warms.

Nonthreatened species vulnerable to global warming include the emperor penguin, the little owl, Rose's rain frog and the imitator salamander. Areas of concern include the Amazon rainforest and ocean waters off the coast of Indonesia, home to species of common corals (Alister Doyle, Reuters, June 12).

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500.

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