"Heat stress is an emerging focus of Arctic research. As extreme heat waves
become more frequent and rapid warming threatens northern latitudes, the same
adaptations that have allowed animals to survive cold temperatures are the ones
that may make them more susceptible to heat. Scientists want to know which
species will be able to adapt to the hotter conditions of the High North,
either through evolution or changed behavior, and which ones won’t.
“This is a big topic in the sciences. Can animals keep pace with climate
change?” said Ryan O’Connor, a postdoctoral fellow at the Quebec Center for
Biodiversity Science at the University of Quebec at Rimouski, who does research
on snow buntings for the ArcticSCOPE project.
For murres and buntings, the answer to this question is tricky. “I mean the
buntings can’t go any farther north,” O’Connor said.
Birds aren’t the only animals at risk for heat-related stress and death. Large
mammals and cold-blooded species, like fish, may also be at risk, as
temperatures rise to levels that exceed their ability to cope with heat. In the
2018 Arctic Report Card, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
identified a more than 50 percent decline in the herd size of caribou, which to
manage heat stress, in addition to panting, rely on dwindling patches of snow
left over from winter. Scientists are concerned about what the resulting
changes in behavior and physiology will mean for the long-term existence of
Arctic species and what happens when those shifts interact with other factors,
such as habitat loss."
Via Robert Sanscartier.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics