Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Australian Scientists Use Butterflies to Gauge Climate Change

In an Article in Australia's The Age, Australia's Monash University lead researcher Paul Sunnucks said studying butterflies is a good way to measure climate change. "They are cold-blooded, so that makes them very responsive to temperatures," he said. "A couple of degrees can make the difference between life and death."

Starting next month, researchers from Monash, Melbourne and La Trobe universities will visit 28 areas to study the brown butterfly, which is common along the eastern seaboard.
Dr Sunnucks said international research had found that butterflies were dying out in
warmer places. "They are moving away from the equator … trying to get to where it's cooler."

Britain's Stern report on climate change, published in October, predicted that up to one quarter of Australia's butterflies would be threatened by a 2 degree global temperature rise.

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