Invasive aquatic plant species thrive due to climate change

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Invasive aquatic species taking over a river in Connecticut.

Climate change could play a major role in the distribution of invasive aquatic species due to a rise in global temperatures.  

Ruth Kelly and her colleagues from Queensland University studied 15 invasive species of aquatic plants and found that with an increase of global temperature due to climate change, the species that would normally die off from cold temperatures will actually be able to thrive.  These invasive aquatic plants can only survive in a fixed temperature range but, as the global temperature increases many places will be prone to these species taking over the newly warmer locations.

Through statistical analysis, environmental niche models, and climate niche models this group of scientists were able to predict the areas that will be most affected.  Some of the projected hotspots for these invasive aquatic species includes areas around major cities and river systems because these places are more prone to emissions and runoff.  The most important factors associated with these species were land use, nutrient concentration, and natural landscape.

This is extremely problematic because invasive species are amongst the leading factors of decreasing biodiversity in todays vital ecosystems.  Since invasive species kill large amounts of global biodiversity, this has an affect on the tourism industry and local communities that rely on the environments they live around.  Once invasive species are introduced into an area it is very difficult to remove them, which is another reason why they are such a huge threat to global biodiversity.

To read more about this study click here.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Journal Source:

Ruth Kelly, Katie Leach, Alison Cameron, Christine A. Maggs, Neil Reid.Combining global climate and regional landscape models to improve prediction of invasion riskDiversity and Distributions, 2014

Photo Source:

http://www.ct.gov/caes/cwp/view.asp?a=2799&q=376972&caesNav_GID=1805&caesNav=%7C

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