Climate Change a Threat to Plant Species Diversity

Irish Times

NOT MANY people outside the world of science would be able to offer an explanation of systematics. It’s a botanical and biological specialism, the science of documenting and describing the diversity of living organisms, writes Harry McGee

Some of the world’s leading authorities in this area, in addition to experts in biology, botany and climatology, are at Trinity College Dublin this week to discuss the impact of climate change on the world’s biodiversity, such as changes in the distribution of species and threats of extinction.

The conference will hear that climate change will lead to “very large reductions” in the diversity of plant species across the globe. It will also lead to the extinction of plants and animals, and will shift habitats to cooler places, say some of the experts on botany and biology to speak at the conference.

The conference will draw together international experts in systematics who will discuss for the first time how global warming has affected biodiversity.

Speakers will include world authorities such as Dr Michael Donoghue of Yale University, Dr Stephen Hopper, director of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, London and Dr Ian Woodward of the University of Sheffield.

For systemists, trying to document all the world’s different life forms is a daunting task.

“We do not have a precise figure for how many species are on earth,” says Dr Trevor Hodkinson of the botany department at TCD, which is hosting this week’s conference.

Read on here.

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