South Africa: Marion Island Clue to Global Warming Threat

0 Comments – August 8, 2007

An extremely interesting article even though I think the title is making a basic claim that is not proven by the article!

I have written about the adaptability of species on this site before (see here and here and here). I found this article to have a unique spin. I am not convinced though that this article is about the dangers of global warming or the dangers of man introducing new species into another environment.  Wikipedia has a great write-up and other links on the dangers of species invasion and you may want to do some background reading there as well as check out their references.

The article discusses that the introduced species of springtails has survived better in the climate that is indicative lately to Marion Island. This puts pressure on the native species of plants and animals. The article discusses that this is a outcome of global warming but they make a very weak argument.

While there may be some drought going on at the island, they don’t prove that drought is a function of global warming. Rather, their statement that there is less rainfall implies that this is just a drought and not a function of global warming as some studies suggest that global warming will bring wetter conditions.

In general, I think the tie to global warming is more of way to get the study and article read by more people. Global warming is a pretty popular topic right now and species invasion simply doesn’t get much press.

Climate change is likely to give invasive species the edge over their indigenous counterparts, according to new research on tiny comma-like soil animals living on Marion Island in the southern Indian Ocean.

Scientists found that species of immigrant springtails that were inadvertently imported by visitors to the island over the past 70 years survived hot and dry conditions far better than those that had lived there for thousands of years.

Marion Island has a cool, wet, windy environment that has already begun to experience the drought-like effects global climate change is expected to inflict on temperate regions. Over the past 50 years its annual mean temperature has risen by 1

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