Scientists Predicting Which Animals Will Cope with Widespread Droughts
JCU's Dr Tasmin Rymer led a study that produced a template measuring several crucial factors, including an animal's physiology and environment, to determine how it would handle a severe drought.
Dr Rymer said scientists believe the current rate of climate change is unprecedented in Earth's history and will lead to more and worse droughts in many areas.
"So we developed a theoretical framework that allows researchers to estimate the likelihood that a species will be able to cope," she said.
Dr Rymer said the "Adaptive Triquetra" model considers the primary driving stressors of droughts: temperature, limited water, and reduced food availability. Then it looks at how well an animal's specific body system could mount a response, and the extent to which its traits are adaptable.
"We have provided a comprehensive suite of traits to consider when making predictions about species' resilience to drought. It's designed to help scientists assess the potential for a species or population to cope with increasing aridity," she said.