Research press release


Nature Climate Change

Shrinking in size

一次生産者から最上位捕食者までの生物すべてが、気候変動に応じて小型化していることを指摘するPerspective論文が、Nature Climate Change(電子版)に掲載される。


このPerspective論文で、D BickfordとJ Sheridanは、化石記録からの証拠、実験的比較、地理的比較、そして、温血生物と冷血生物の小型化に現在の気候変動が関わっているとする最近の研究を検討した。そして、生物の体の大きさの変化の原因が気候変動と二酸化炭素濃度の上昇である可能性が非常に高いことを強調したうえで、観察された体サイズ小型化パターンの原因に関する理論を立て、この小型化傾向に注目すべき例外があることを論じている。


Organisms from primary producers to top predators are shrinking in size in response to climate change, according to a Perspective published online this week in Nature Climate Change.

It is well established that species are shifting their distributions to higher elevations and latitudes in response to warming, and that key life events such as migration are happening earlier in the year. What is less appreciated is that many species are also becoming smaller, as an ecological and metabolic response to increased temperatures and variability in precipitation. If this trend continues, it could have profound implications for food security and the stability of ecosystems.

David Bickford and Jennifer Sheridan look at the evidence from fossil records, experimental and geographic comparisons, and recent studies implicating current climate change in the shrinking size of both warm- and cold-blooded organisms. Highlighting the changes in organism size that are most likely as a result of climate change and increased carbon dioxide levels, they theorize on reasons for the observed patterns of size declines and discuss notable exceptions to the size-reduction trend.

Bickford and Sheridan argue that the size reduction trend will become much more pervasive in the future, negatively impacting both the crop plants and protein sources that are important for human nutrition. They say that research should focus on quantifying size trends more broadly, and identifying the drivers of size declines.

doi: 10.1038/nclimate1259

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