Scientists Look To Protect Species From Climate Change
MARIN, Calif., Oct. 10, 2007 (KGO) (KGO) -- In a worst case climate-change scenario, as many as one-third of the world's plants and animals could disappear.
Some scientists are worried about a chain reaction effect from plants that don't pollinate on time, insects that don't hatch, and so on.To that end, they are looking for early indicators, and they may be finding one. As viewed by humans, the Golden Gate makes a nice a post card. For a migrating birds of prey though, it's a barrier they must cross. Every autumn since 1983, an annual ritual on what birders call "Hawk Hill", in the Marin Headlands, takes place. They point binoculars and scopes to take a census of nineteen species, roughly 40,000 birds a year. The birds have flown this route long before the Army was here, or people. In fact, their patterns trace back to the last ice age. Now, as the climate changes again, Allen Fish of the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory wonders how it affects these creatures at the top of the food chain. This year, they'll look closely at the rough legged hawk, which travels all the way from the arctic. The numbers show that in the past twenty-five years. The rough legged hawk has arrived five days later, which may not sound like much. "It might be a statistical blip or a trend with serious implications because nature is interconnected. "We're talking about is a potential to desynchronize a huge range of biological events," said Allen Fish, Golden Gate Raptor Observatory. One species cues another. Should they push nature out of synch, nobody knows the consequences. "In some insects' life, that could be enormous. A bird, not so much. But we have yet to learn," said Fish. So there is a new sense of urgency to the count this year. This group of watchful, appreciative eyes aims to preserve life in a time of growing stress.
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