Understanding climate-related loss of biodiversity

Science 1 May 2015:                        

Accelerating extinction risk from climate change

Mark C. Urban

Predicting extinction in a changing world

There is great interest in understanding how species might respond to our changing climate, but predictions have varied greatly. Urban looked at over 130 studies to identify the level of risk that climate change poses to species and the specific traits and characteristics that contribute to risk (see the Perspective by Hille Ris Lambers). If climate changes proceed as expected, one in six species could face extinction. Several regions, including South America, Australia, and New Zealand, face the greatest risk. Understanding these patterns will help us to prepare for, and hopefully prevent, climate-related loss of biodiversity.