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Study: Tropical Species and Communities Are Responding to Climate Change


The effects of climate change in the tropics are manifesting as changes in species abundances, shifts in ranges, and changes in the timing of life history events, like fruiting and flowering of trees, according to a literature review published in the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics and authored by a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, professor.

Climate plays a major role in the distribution and abundance of species, and climate change will likely alter life in the tropics.

“One of the clearest signals of the impact of climate change in the tropics has been the upslope movement of a variety of species,” said Kimberly Sheldon, author of the review and assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. “With warming, we would predict species would move toward higher elevations, and we see that tropical birds, moths, trees, and herpetofauna are all shifting upslope.”

Read more about Sheldon’s study.