Climate change risk for animals living in prime conditions
Animals living in areas where conditions are ideal for their species have less chance of evolving to cope with climate change, new research suggests. The study examined whether birds might be able to evolve to adapt to changes to the natural environment within their range - the geographical area where the birds nest, feed, migrate and hibernate over the course of their lifetimes.
It found that populations that experienced both the most favourable conditions, usually at the centre of their species' range, and toughest conditions found at the very edges of the range had the lowest evolutionary potential. The populations that displayed the greatest potential to evolve with changing conditions were found living between the two extremes, the study showed.
The research team, including scientists from the University of Oviedo, University of Málaga, Doñana Biological Station, the University of Exeter and the University of Western Australia, studied data on 12 European bird species.