Live Animals In A Climate Change Simulator Reveal Which Species Adapt

A Brazilian project called ADAPTA will put hundreds of species from the Amazon in conditions that mimic what the world will be like after years of climate change. The mission: to see which animals adapt and which will need our help to survive.

Try as we might, we can only slow down climate change so much. And climate simulator models, while useful, don't tell the whole story about what our future planet will look like. So scientists in Brazil have launched ADAPTA, a project that will house hundreds of species of plants, mammals, fish, and insects from the Amazon in climate-controlled rooms that represent Earth 25, 50, and 100 years from now. The project will, essentially, put these species through a real-life climate simulator.

The project, which is being launched by Brazil's National Institute for Amazon Research, will "analyze why and how different groups of plants and animals can or cannot survive similar extreme environments," according to ADAPTA's website.

Here's how it will work: machines will pump CO2 into closed-off rooms. Each climate-controlled room will stay at temperatures that reflect climate projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. ADAPTA's researchers will examine how the species adapt over time by performing genetic sequencing on new generations born in these controlled climate-simulating conditions.

In other words, the project aims to speed up evolution so scientists can make more informed decisions about conservation (and what species we should focus on saving). Once researchers know what makes certain species thrive while others die off in the same conditions, they can potentially help the weaker species survive. Because while we may not be able to stop climate change, we can at least try to brace our planet for the impact. And we can only do that if we have an idea of what the impact might be.

[Hat Tip: Treehugger]

[Images: Top: Flickr user Silvain de Munck; Bottom: ADAPTA]

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