As climate change progresses, the planet may lose more plant and animal species than predicted, a new modeling study suggests.
This is because current predictions overlook two important factors: the differences in how quickly species relocate and competition among species, according to the researchers, led by Mark Urban, an ecologist at the University of Connecticut.
Overall, competition slowed everyone down in the pursuit of habitat; however, the strongest dispersers were able to overcome this and displace others, the researchers found.
"It's not about how fast you can move, but how fast you move relative to your competitors," Urban said.
"The species that face the greatest extinction risks might not be limited to those that disperse less than climate change absolutely requires, but also those that disperse poorly relative to their warm-adapted competitors," they write in a study published in the Jan. 4 online edition of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.