Prospects of surviving climate change not so bleak for some species

Scientists believe some species, like the Drosophila birchii rainforest fly, may be able to evolve and adapt to the effects of climate change, new research suggests.

However, their survival is dependent on the condition that environmental changes aren’t too abrupt or dramatically altered beyond the conditions that a species currently experiences.

Previous research offered a bleak prospect for tropical species’ adaptation to climate change, now researchers from Monash University are hopeful that certain species can avoid extinction.

“Whilst many believe some species have the evolutionary potential to adapt no one really knows for sure, and there are fears that some could become extinct,” lead author Dr. Belinda Van Heerwaarden said in a statement.

Building off of an experiment from 2000, Van Heerwaarden, Dr. Carla M. Sgrò, from the Faculty of Science and colleagues tested the ability of tropical flies native to Australian rain forests, Drosophila birchii, to withstand potential future conditions as a result of climate change.

In the prior study, researchers exposed these flies to very dry conditions – a drastic change compared to the damp tropical rainforest. Most flies died within hours, and those that did survive and were left to breed over 50 generations were no more resistant to climate change’s effects.

Read the full, original story: Rainforest flies may be able to withstand climate change

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