When three college students started their journey in the year 1965 to the mountain Kinabalu in Borneo, where they found caterpillars, they didn’t know that they have built the foundation for research on the impact of climate change.

New research from the university of York have repeated this survey 42 years later. On the average animals moved about 67 high to be able to cope with the climate change.

This is the first evidence which shows that the climate change affects the distributon of tropical insects, which are the biggest animal group on Earth leading to a risk of the global biodivesity.

One author of York I Ching Chen university said about the study: “Tropical insects form the most animals on Earth, we do not know whether they respond to climate change or not.”


Professor Thomas said: A large number of animals were completely limited in tropical mountain areas, such as Mount Kinabalu.”

Many of the discovered animals in the expedition have not been found somewhere else in the world. When these animals are forced to move up to cooler climates, their habitat will become more narrow. This leads to extinction of some species.


Expeditions in 2007 with the participation of Henry Barlow helped a lot in understanding the diversity of caterpillars.


Jeremy Holloway, another member of the expedition in 1965, from the Natural History Museum in London, has devoted his career to the identification (classification) of moths from South East Asia, allowed the team to identify new specimens.


Dr. Suzan Benedick, an expedition member who is an entomologist at the University Malaysia Sabah, said: The photographs from the expedition in 1965 has led us to the right places 42 years ago.”


Moths were catched at a height of 3675 meters above the sea-level. Researchers compared the height of the collected and identified specimens, which were found between the years 1965 and 2007. The results showed significant changes in elevation, showing that the caterpillars moved to higher places in the past.


But one thing is quite positive. Beside Mount Kinabalu the Himalayas in New Guinea are important, serving as a haven for the animals when the highest position is also the coolest. But the climate is too hot (or too dry) for the animals around the lowlands, so that they have to find more suitable habitats by moving up along the mountain slopes. Dr. Jane Hill, a member of the expedition and one of the advisers of the I-Ching Chen, said: It is important to protect the forests around the mountains, so that the lowland species can reach the cooler areas if they want.”


 (Translated from Khoahoc.Com)


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