Sweden’s Linköping University reported that based on the results of their mathematical model, global warming will lead to the extinction of several species; particularly in the polar region. The simulations they conjured presented how climate change significantly impacts ecosystems in different regions. Some of which, mirrored those that are already happening in the natural world.

About the LiU Mathematical Model of Global Ecosystems

The scientists patterned the ecosystems and species from all over the world from those located in the equator to the polar regions of the Earth. Every modelled species is optimized to adapt in a particular temperature range, and interact with other species in the area. The model was utilized by the Swedish researchers, to synthetically produce the potential impacts of climate change on ecosystems within the next 300 years.

Throughout those 300 years, simulations increased the temperature gradually and realistically, followed by a long period of stable climate of a high temperature. The artificial model also mimicked the long-term effects that might occur on ecosystems.

Linköping University’s PhD student Anna Åkesson expounded that once the climate gets warmer, a certain species can adapt to its temperature optimum by traveling northwards. However because of the migrations, original species in the polar regions are affected badly as they ten to lose in the survival competition with the migrating species. While some species die out while travelling from south to north, species that successfully arrived have already adapted to the new temperature.

Senior Lecturer at IFM Anna Eklöf pointed out that this phenomena is already happening. Citing the arctic fox as an example, this polar fox species has lost their ground to the red foxes who successfully migrated northwards into the arctic forests.

Different Ecological Processes and Temperature Dependence Will Impact the Survival Ability of Certain Species

The simulation through the model showed how some ecological processes impact their ability to survive and to migrate to other regions, while amidst predators that feed on preys.

The LIU researchers also factored in the traits of the species can be modified through evolution and temperature dependence. Various species have different temperature dependence, which when needing to adapt to a new environment, can stunt them from surviving the competition.

In all of their conjured simulations, climate change always led to various species’ extinction. Yet they also noted that temperature-dependent interactions helped many species to survive. This also opened the possibility of effective coexistence among species can lessen the negative effects of climate change.

Ms. Eklöf added that an entire ecosystem with greater diversity and large variation of traits can actually cope better. To help other ecosystem and climate change researchers expand their findings, the LiU researchers have published the model’s code as open source that they can utilize.