Predictions of the loss of animal and plant diversity around the world are common under models of future climate change. But a new study shows that because these climate models don’t account for species competition and movement, they could grossly underestimate future extinctions.
“We have really sophisticated meteorological models for predicting climate change,” says ecologist Mark Urban, the study’s lead author. “But in real life, animals move around, they compete, they parasitize each other, and they eat each other. The majority of our predictions don’t include these important interactions.”