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Species Roundup

September 9, 2011

A new study documents the rate at which species are moving toward the poles or up the sides of mountains to escape climate change.


Plants and animals head for the hills. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Species are moving toward the poles at a rate a mile per year, and to higher altitudes at one meter per year, in places where climate change is happening most rapidly. This according to a new report from the University of York published in the journal Science. The migration rates are far faster than scientists had thought. In addition, many of the organisms are facing extinction because other plants and animals they rely on can’t relocate fast enough.

In other species news, scientists report in the journal PLoS Biology that there are about 8.7 million species living on earth, and nearly 90 percent are currently unknown. Earlier estimates ranged from 3 million to a hundred million. The researchers used a new mathematical analysis tool that looked at patterns among the 1. 2 million species already known. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.