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Habitat Loss

Highlighting the difficulties even in scientific investigations of the links between global warming and biodiversity, research convincingly reveals that habitat destruction and climate change now rank among the most serious threats to global biodiversity and that predicting how species are likely to respond to these two threats rank among the most difficult challenges for biologists. To contribute to the knowledge on these critical subjects, the writers at Paper Masters will build on previous studies that effectively employed lattice models of data calculation to explore how hypothetical species possessing various traits would react to a loss of habitat. The writer will use the models to develop a similar modeling strategy that for determining how species with particular characteristics would respond to climatic change. The tools in question essentially predict the likely future distribution of species by projecting models of their environmental niches onto future climatic conditions that are produced by a general circulation model.

To help you outline a research project on habitat loss, we suggest the following structure to your research paper:

Outline: Habitat Loss

I. Introduction

a. Main subject of study: Impacts of global climate change on habitat loss

b. General overview of the topic

c. Thesis statement: Global warming contributes to a loss
of biodiversity, which in turn is directly and indirectly damaging to human wellbeing

II. Literature review

a. Review of prevalent ideas in the field

b. Summary of main points of recent relevant research

c. The understudied global warming-biodiversity link

III. Analysis of selected studies on the effects of climate
change on biodiversity, causing habitat loss

a. Hughes: Greenhouse gases and world climate

i. Background to study

ii. Brief overview of methodology

iii. Major Findings

vi. Potential weaknesses?

b. Travis: Relationships between climate change, habitat destruction, and biodiversity

i. Background to study

ii. Brief overview of methodology

iii. Major Findings

vi. Potential weaknesses?

3) Zavaleta, Shaw, Chiariello, et al.: Biodiversity in the face of co-occurring climatic changes

i. Background to study

ii. Brief overview of methodology

iii. Major Findings

vi. Potential weaknesses?

4) Hannah, Midgley, Lovejoy, et al.: Challenges of conserving biology in the context of changing global climate

i. Background to study

ii. Brief overview of methodology

iii. Major Findings

vi. Potential weaknesses?

5) Diaz, Fargione, Chapin, & Tillman: Negative impacts of
biodiversity loss on humans

i. Background to study

ii. Brief overview of methodology

iii. Major Findings

vi. Potential weaknesses?

IV. Integrated critical analysis of major studies

a. Implications of major study findings for the understanding of how global warming affects biological diversity

b. Contributions of studies to the existing research

c. Personal ideas about the policy implications of the studies

d. Personal ideas about the topic within the context of the current global political economy: What obstacles might exist to implementing suggested policy changes?

e. Suggestions for future research

V. Conclusion and reiteration of thesis statement

VI. References

Habitat Loss

Paper Masters explains that when applied to projections of habitat loss, these models indicate that clearly delimited habitat thresholds exist for most species and that below its given threshold any species is likely to swiftly go extinct. The extent of habitat destruction that must occur before a species reaches its threshold level depends upon the colonization abilities of the species and the extent to which it is a generalist: generalist species with high colonization abilities are usually the most tolerant of habitat loss. Research generates similar results with models involving climate change, indicating that when climate change is fairly gradual most species are able to sustain levels close to their original concentrations and distributions within an affected area. Once again, however, an abrupt threshold exists beyond which the species rapidly proceeds towards extinction.

Thus, as is the case with habitat loss, some models indicate that generalist species with high ranges and high colonization skills are most likely to survive climate change, while specialist species with limited capacities for colonization are the most likely to face extinction. Given the fact that tropical environments are generally the sites of greatest biodiversity, it is especially disturbing to note that tropical species generally tend to have narrower ranges than their temperate counterparts. As such, given similar rates of climate change in tropical and temperate areas, it is expected that tropical species would suffer most from the threat of extinction. Ironically, therefore, the most biologically diverse parts of the planet are also those with species that are most at risk for extinction in the face of climate change. Worse still, since many tropical areas now face especially high threats of habitat loss, it is highly disturbing to note that when one considers that entire ranges of a species, climate change and habitat loss may act in the same direction, each reinforcing the negative impacts of the other and thereby multiplying the risks of extinction.

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