Research Press Release

Environmental sciences: Pacific island species under threat from climate change identified

Scientific Reports

July 14, 2017

The terrestrial vertebrate species in the Pacific that may be most vulnerable to extinction owing to the impacts of climate change have been identified in a study in Scientific Reports.

Lalit Kumar and Mahyat Tehrany identified 150 vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered terrestrial vertebrate species from the International Union for Conservation of Nature database found in 23 countries in the Pacific. The authors combined this information with a database of 1,779 Pacific islands based on the islands’ susceptibility to climate change, to identify those species that may be most at risk of extinction. The authors found that 59 islands with a very high susceptibility to the impacts of climate change are home to 12 species unique to that location and 178 islands with a high susceptibility host 26 unique species. The authors also identified a number of critically endangered species found on islands with a very high or high risk from climate change including the Chuuk flying fox, greater monkey-faced bat, Fiji banded iguana and Marianas flying fox.

The authors suggest that the methodology applied here could be used to prioritize resources in order to protect the most vulnerable species.


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