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Many animals can’t adapt fast enough to climate change

By looking at these kinds of studies together, the authors of the Nature Communications paper found that the 17 bird species they examined seem to be shifting their phenology. “There are limits to these adaptive responses, and the lag is getting too big. “I think the results of this paper really add an abundance of caution, that we shouldn’t hope that species will adapt to changing climate and changing habitats, that we don’t need to do anything,” says Mark Reynolds, lead scientist for the Nature Conservancy’s migratory bird program, who wasn’t involved in the study. ” On a very basic level, if insects start breeding earlier in the year because the planet is warming, birds have to shift their life cycles. What’s so troubling about this study is that, by comparison to other animal families, birds are relatively adaptable in their phenology: they can tweak the timing of their migrations, for instance.

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