Madagascar Biodiversity

Different Species Have Different Responses to Climate Change in Madagascar
October 14, 2014

Scientists around the world are researching how climate change and land use will affect wildlife around the world. According to a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, however, animals will not always respond the same way.

An international team of biologists, including Duke University’s Anne Yoder, surveyed 420 species of reptiles and 325 of amphibians in Madagascar to construct a model of how these species will respond to a changing climate there. They found that different groups of species did not respond to the same stresses. For example, elevation was most important to specific tree frogs while a stable climate was important to leaf chameleons.

Madagascar is home to an incredibly diverse population of wildlife — click here to see a slideshow of some of Madagascar’s unique animals — and is home to many rare species, including all of the world’s wild lemurs. This makes Madagascar an important location for preserving biodiversity.

In a broader context, this study bolsters a growing body of evidence that climate and land-use change will not have the same effect on every species and highlights a growing need for more species-specific studies.

- Daniel Lane

Daniel Lane covers science, engineering, medicine and the environment in North Carolina.