Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Climate change brings you the 'pizzly bear'

Posted By on Tue, Mar 5, 2013 at 8:55 AM

As it advances, climate change will manifest in many ways, whether it's higher average temperatures, shifts in precipitation patterns, or the costs of building heartier storm water collection and treatment systems.

Researchers also expect to see change in the ranges of some plant, animal, and insect species; in fact, those shifts are already occurring to some degree. And an article posted last month on Mother Nature Network focuses on an interesting aspect of that shift: whether hybrid species — think the polar-grizzly bear cross known as the pizzly bear — are on the rise because of climate change.

According to the article, some scientists suspect that climate change is pushing southern species north, where they mate with their northerly cousins. The article builds off of a Canadian ecologist's study of flying squirrel species.

But the article points out that climate change isn't the only factor at work here. Development pushes species out of old habitats and into new ones, for example, and has resulted in hybrid species in the past. Some scientists aren't sold on the idea that climate change has any more influence than development or other factors.

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