University of Aberdeen press release.
Animals are more likely to mate in warmer environments, a study published in the Animal Ecology Journal, analysis of the impact of climate change on reproductive behavior found.
Examination of the impact of temperature changes on 22 species suggests that animals are more likely to mate at higher temperatures, contrary to what was expected. Researchers from the University of Aberdeen analyzed a wide variety of animals such as geckos, frogs, butterflies, dragonflies, birds and marine life.
The aim of the research was to increase understanding of the potential impacts of climate change on mating patterns in animals.
There is an urgent need to understand how populations will react to rising temperatures
Dr Natalie Pilakouta, senior lecturer in animal behavior and conservation at the School of Biological Sciences, said: “Our results suggest that climate change may not have as adverse an effect on animal reproduction as we might assume. . Contrary to what we expected, our main finding is that animals are more likely to mate at higher temperatures.
“Previous research has typically focused on a single species, making it difficult to generate broad predictions of how animal populations will respond to climate change. This study, by contrast, has pooled data from a range of studies published data allowing us to detect common patterns between species. As a result, this has provided us with a powerful tool to better understand the effects of rising temperatures on natural populations.”
Published in the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Animal Ecology the results could help scientists predict the impact climate change will have on animal reproduction. It will also help to understand how populations can adapt to a warming world.
Dr Pilakouta added: “In light of global climate change, there is an urgent need to understand how people will respond to rising temperatures. Understanding the effects of temperature changes on mating behavior is particularly important, given its implications for population viability.
Animals may be more likely to mate at higher temperatures
“Our research looked at 53 studies from around the world, including Asia, North America, Australia and the UK, and is the first study of its kind. Disruption of animal populations due to human activity is a major conservation concern and this study is important to help us understand these effects.
“Our results suggest that animals might be more likely to mate at higher temperatures, but we don’t yet know what the effect might be on the number of offspring produced or how well those offspring survive.”
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