Why does the 'nicer' climate produce more species?
The answer provided by the scientists' research and summarised by The Economist is simple (ie., not irreducibly complex):
That there is more sunlight—and so more opportunity for photosynthesis—at the tropics explains why warm climates create more living matter (or biomass, as it is known to ecologists). It does not, however, explain why this biomass is apportioned into more species... By a process of elimination ... the three researchers were left with the conclusion that, by pushing metabolic rates up, tropical heat causes more mutation and thus more speciation. In other words, evolution happens at a faster rate in Kenya than, say, in Kansas. It does, though, occur in Kansas, too—whatever some of its citizens might think.Read the full piece here. And the abstract for the published research here.
LINKS: A heated debate: A clue to an old ecological mystery - (stolen from) The Economist print edition
The road from Santa Rosalia: A faster tempo of evolution in tropical climates - Shane Wright, Jeannette Keeling, and Len Gillman, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA
TAGS: Science, Conservation, Global_Warming, Religion