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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Ecosystems & Climate Change

Ecosystems & Climate Change

Climate change impacts to marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystem processes. (credit: Science Magazine)

Impacts from climate change continue being revealed now almost daily. Research by conservation biologists at the University's of Florida and Hong Kong quantifies how much. Their 'footprint' calculation of impacts to ecological processes were published in Science and show some effects are now occurring to all the Earth's ecosystems. Their investigations determined that from "a total of 94 ecological processes we evaluated, 82% show evidence of impacts from climate change." 

In commenting to Science one of the biologists, Brett Scheffers at the University of Florida, noted:

"We now have evidence that, with only a ~1 degree Celsius of warming globally, major impacts are already being felt in natural systems. Genes are changing, species' physiology and physical features such as body size are changing, species are moving, and we see clear signs of entire ecosystems under stress, all in response to changes in climate on land and in the ocean".

These climate impacts affects trees, coral reefs, glaciers, and animals in their terrestrial, marine, polar and mountain environments. Research continues adding more evidence of 'climate signals' to the dramatic changes now underway. It also shows how inadequate our responses have been so far.

Ecological restoration could easily be one our biggest challenges but also offers some of the greatest opportunities if we paid more attention. A college biology teacher offers his perspective to a group of high school students and touches upon potential productive collaborations, sustainability training, and hopeful results. WHB

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