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CCEMC-Funded Report Identifies Risks to Alberta Amphibians from Climate Change

EDMONTON, ALBERTA -- (Marketwired) -- 06/25/14 -- A recent report by the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute identifies that amphibians - the frogs and salamanders that are so common in our ponds and wetlands - are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Many other species will prosper as Alberta ecosystems change in the decades ahead. Widespread, adaptable species like the coyote and American Crow will thrive.

The report, Climate Change Vulnerability of Alberta's Terrestrial Biodiversity: A Preliminary Assessment, was produced by ABMI with funding from the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC). It examines the ability of more than 170 different plants and animals to respond to climate change.

"We combined predictions of the changes we expect for Alberta's climate with key information about the sensitivity of each species to that change," says report co-author, Dr. Chris Shank. "It's this combination that determines the vulnerability of a species to climate change."

The report by ABMI researchers Dr. Chris Shank and Amy Nixon draws on earlier research that indicates Alberta's mean annual temperature is expected to increase by 2.5 degrees Celsius or more by the middle of this century. Annual precipitation will increase but so will the frequency of severe droughts, and the province will become drier overall.

As a result, Alberta's plants and animals will either need to adapt to new conditions or adopt a new range, or they may become extinct from the province over the longer term.

"This report highlights how important it is to proactively manage species that are vulnerable to shifts in climate," said CCEMC Chair Eric Newell. "It provides valuable background for researchers and organizations who are responsible for species management practices and maintaining healthy ecological function."

The report is part of the Biodiversity Management and Climate Change Adaptation Project. The project is one of three adaption projects supported by the CCEMC. Another CCEMC adaptation project focuses on tree species adaption risk and a third is helping communities around the South Saskatchewan River Basin adapt to future climate variability. Details about all of the CCEMC adaption projects are available on ccemc.ca/projects.

The report is available online: www.biodiversityandclimate.abmi.ca

The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) is an arm's-length, not-for-profit scientific organization. The ABMI's core business is to monitor and report on the status and trends of Alberta's species, native habitat, and human footprint. ABMI provides relevant, timely, and credible scientific information to support natural resource and land use decision-making in Alberta. More on ABMI is available at abmi.ca.

The CCEMC is a not-for-profit corporation that operates independently of government. It provides ongoing, dedicated funds to support the discovery, development and deployment of innovative clean technology and to help Alberta adapt to climate change. More information about the CCEMC is available on ccemc.ca.

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