High Andean bats could become extinct
UN researchers estimate that at least 70% of specialized high mountain bat species could lose their habitat and become extinct due to global warming.Bogotá D. C., 08 de agosto de 2012 — Agencia de Noticias UN-
An enormous distribution area decrease for this species is expected, which will put it on the brink of extinction.
This is the conclusion which Dr. Hugo Mantilla-Meluk, a UN biologist, came to after studying the influence of global warming on high mountain ecosystems, and therefore on the species which live in these habitats.
“According to our analysis, the altitude of the high Andean ecosystems will increase by approximately 100 meters. This means that what now has 2,000 meters will become 2,100 meters in the future”, says Dr. Mantilla-Meluk.
Pollution affects the climatic change, especially the upper altitudes of the planet. Therefore, by understanding high altitude species’ diversity and morphology, we will understand the effects of elevation on these flying mammals.
Phyllostomidae bats consist of 118 known species. Although Mantilla-Meluk’ research has focused only on the Anoura group, which has gone from four to eleven recorded species since the research began.
Nectarivore bats, which feed on flower nectar, are part of this group. Many thrive in the upper mountains of the Colombian Andes, which are also threatened by global warming.
Moreover, plants which grow in the mountains are different from the plants which grow in lower areas. Therefore, the distribution of the animals respond to the availability of resources, adapting and establishing themselves in specific ecosystems.
“These bats have adapted to this increasing altitude and its conditions. What we have here is a very particular case in the history of the animals”, says the researcher.
With this research, they were able to find answers regarding the problems faced by these species in response to global warming. Researchers are offering a bleak forecast for the Anoura group if something is not done quickly.
“The real problem with the loss of biodiversity due to global warming is not only the loss of names or species which look pretty on a post card. The problem is that as part of nature, we’re doomed to follow. By losing these models, we will also be losing a great wealth of information, which helps guarantee our own existence”, says Mantilla-Meluk.(Por: Fin/CJCO/clc/fgd