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How Rising Temperatures Impact the Biodiversity of Small Rodents

Paper Reviewed
Jiang, G., Liu, J., Xu, L., Yu, G., Honglin, H.E. and Zhang, Z. 2013. Climate warmng increases biodiversity of small rodents by favoring rare or less abundant species in a grassland ecosystem. Integrative Zoology 8: 162-174.

In a paper published in Integrative Zoology, Jiang et al. (2013) say that potential global warming is widely believed to impose "a great threat to biodiversity," noting that "many published studies suggest that climate warming may cause a dramatic decline in biodiversity, especially in colder and drier regions." Unconvinced of this contention, they decided to investigate for themselves what they describe as "the effects of temperature, precipitation and a normalized difference vegetation index on biodiversity indices of rodent communities in the current or previous year for both detrended and non-detrended data in semi-arid grassland of Inner Mongolia during 1982-2006."

This work revealed, in the words of the six Chinese scientists, that (1) "temperature showed predominantly positive effects on the biodiversity of small rodents," that (2) "precipitation showed both positive and negative effects," and that (3) "a normalized difference vegetation index showed positive effects." And focusing on the first of these findings, they say their study results indicated that "temperature shows predominantly positive effects (26 of 28 significant correlations ae positive) on biodiversity of small rodents in the semi-arid grassland of Inner Mongolia grassland."

As for what this all means, Jiang et al. say their results suggest that "recent climate warming increased the biodiversity of small rodents by providing more benefits to population growth of rare or less abundant species than that of more abundant species in Inner Mongolia grassland." And they make a point of noting that this significant finding "does not support the popular view that global warming would decrease biodiversity in colder and drier regions."

Posted 20 November 2014