Wednesday July 3, 2024


As the climate warms, many species are on the move, raising new challenges for policy-makers around the world. Shifts in the ranges of mosquitoes and disease-bearing ticks and bats are introducing illnesses such as malaria and Lyme disease into regions where health care systems are unprepared. Movements of commercially important fish from one jurisdiction to another are shifting job opportunities and causing trade disputes.

To help understand and anticipate when species will shift their ranges, an international team led by McGill University researchers has identified factors that have prompted or constrained shifts in the habitats of thousands of species around the world in recent decades.

McGill Ph.D. student Jake Lawlor, lead author of a study published recently in Nature Reviews Earth and Environment, explains, “Most systems in which humans use or interact with other species were built under the assumption that species would stay in place. Integrating range shifts that have already occurred, or might occur in future, into resource-management and conservation plans will be necessary as the effects of climate change continue to be felt.”

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