UC Riverside's Derek Roff says global warming may threaten endangered species

July 11, 2003

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- (www.ucr.edu) -- In a perspective article entitled "Evolutionary Danger for Rainforest Species" in the July 4, 2003, issue of the journal Science, UC Riverside's Derek Roff explains new findings that show that a population of rainforest fruit flies had no genetic variation in an ecologically important trait: 'desiccation resistance' or the protective strategy used by cells against drought stress in order to prevent water loss. In the perspective, Roff also discusses the implications of the study for the adaptation of species to global warming.

"The perspective concerns the lack of genetic variation to adjust to changes in climate such as might occur with global warming," said Roff, who is professor of biology. "Given that California is likely to incur changes over the next few decades as a result of global warming, this result indicates that we should be concerned about the possibility that some presently endangered species may also lack the necessary genetic variation to survive the change."

In the perspective article, Roff comments on the paper "Low Potential for Climatic Stress Adaptation in a Rainforest Drosophila Species" by A. A. Hoffmann et al., also appearing in the July 4 issue of Science.

Roff writes:
"The principal finding was that there was no genetic variation within the studied population to permit it to adapt to changing thermal conditions," Roff said. "Given global warming, it is important to assess the genetic capability of organisms to respond to the changing conditions, particularly in respect to endangered species."

Roff is an evolutionary population ecologist with wide-ranging interests in population and quantitative genetics, life-history, and the biology and ecology of dispersal and migration. In 2002, he was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his contributions to evolutionary biology in the area of life history evolution and quantitative genetics, especially with regard to advancing theory by empirical tests. In 2002, he was elected a member of the Royal Society of Canada. He came to UC Riverside in 2001.
The UC Riverside Department of Biology serves three main functions: undergraduate instruction, graduate education, and research in basic biology. The department conducts research and teaching in many areas of life science including cell biology, conservation biology, developmental biology, ecology, evolution, molecular biology, physiology, and population biology. The department is part of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, a multi-departmental unit dedicated to instruction and basic research in the physical and life sciences, and also to 'mission-oriented' applied research in the agricultural sciences. The Biology major is a popular undergraduate major on the UC Riverside campus, with approximately 1000 students currently enrolled. Biology also provides much of the undergraduate instruction for majors in other life science departments and other science majors.

The University of California, Riverside offers undergraduate and graduate education to nearly 16,000 students and has a projected enrollment of 21,000 students by 2010. It is the fastest growing and most ethnically diverse campus of the preeminent ten-campus University of California system, the largest public research university system in the world. The picturesque 1,200-acre campus is located at the foot of the Box Springs Mountains near downtown Riverside in Southern California. More information about UC Riverside is available at www.ucr.edu or by calling 909-787-5185. For a listing of faculty experts on a variety of topics, please visit http://mmr.ucr.edu/experts/.

University of California - Riverside

Related Global Warming Articles from Brightsurf:

The ocean has become more stratified with global warming
A new study found that the global ocean has become more layered and resistant to vertical mixing as warming from the surface creates increasing stratification.

Containing methane and its contribution to global warming
Methane is a gas that deserves more attention in the climate debate as it contributes to almost half of human-made global warming in the short-term.

Global warming and extinction risk
How can fossils predict the consequences of climate change? A German research team from Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), the Museum of Natural History Berlin and the Alfred Wegener Institute compared data from fossil and marine organisms living today to predict which groups of animals are most at risk from climate change.

Intensified global monsoon extreme rainfall signals global warming -- A study
A new study reveals significant associations between global warming and the observed intensification of extreme rainfall over the global monsoon region and its several subregions, including the southern part of South Africa, India, North America and the eastern part of the South America.

Global warming's impact on undernourishment
Global warming may increase undernutrition through the effects of heat exposure on people, according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Yuming Guo of Monash University, Australia, and colleagues.

Global warming will accelerate water cycle over global land monsoon regions
A new study provides a broader understanding on the redistribution of freshwater resources across the globe induced by future changes in the monsoon system.

Comparison of global climatologies confirms warming of the global ocean
A report describes the main features of the recently published World Ocean Experiment-Argo Global Hydrographic Climatology.

Six feet under, a new approach to global warming
A Washington State University researcher has found that one-fourth of the carbon held by soil is bound to minerals as far as six feet below the surface.

Can we limit global warming to 1.5 °C?
Efforts to combat climate change tend to focus on supply-side changes, such as shifting to renewable or cleaner energy.

Global warming: Worrying lessons from the past
56 million years ago, the Earth experienced an exceptional episode of global warming.

Read More: Global Warming News and Global Warming Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.