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October 17 2012

Scientists have 'limited knowledge' of how climate change causes extinction

A major review into the impact of climate change on plants and animals has found that scientists have almost no idea how it drives various species to extinction.

Though some organisms struggle to cope physiologically with rising temperatures a simple and direct result of climate change there was scarce evidence this was the main climate-related threat to many species whose numbers were already falling.

More often, climate change took its toll on life through more complex and indirect routes, such as reducing the abundance of food, making diseases more rife, and disturbing natural encounters between species, the review concludes.

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