Reindeer Threatened by Shrinking Habitat, Climate Change

Image: Reindeer Threatened by Shrinking Habitat, Climate Change

Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 08:18 AM

By Ellito Jager

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
A definite link has been established between habitat stability and genetic diversity thanks to scientific research on endangered species of reindeer, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Reindeer or caribou populations are shrinking. Lands where the animals can find lichen — a fungus — to eat are dwindling. Meanwhile, wildlife populations are being cut off from one another.

For example, herds on the east side of Hudson Bay, in northeastern Canada, are being isolated from those on the west. This would limit the chances that breeding will create the kind of genetic diversity necessary for species survival during climate change.

The reindeer could lose much of their habitat within 60 years.

"These animals have already faced two climate changes: We're now in a warming period, but ten to twenty thousand years ago, the Northern Hemisphere was very cold," said Glenn Yannic of Université Laval in Quebec.

In an article published in Nature Climate Change, Yannic wrote that climate change since the Ice Age has reshaped species' geographic distribution contributing to genetic diversity. The scientist and his colleagues, who studied DNA samples from 1,297 animals, mapped out genetic variations within reindeer populations in North America, Europe, and Asia. Their findings tied genetic diversity to habitat. Climatically stable regions fostered high genetic diversity.

Scientists do not want the reindeer to follow in the footsteps of the wood bison which became locally extinct as a result of overhunting and the loss of their natural grasslands habitat.

"If you want to conserve the maximum of genetic diversity, we have to focus on regions that remain stable," Yannic said, citing the Alaskan and Russian arctic. "Alaska, in particular, has been very stable for a long time over the past and for the future."

The most stable habitat for reindeer can be found north of Alaska's Brooks Range and along its massive western coast.

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Boston Bombing Nightmare Leads Survivor to Dream Startup

Monday, 21 Apr 2014 06:15 AM

Hours after the blast that ruptured an eardrum and left a 9-inch gash in one leg -- but spared her life -- Amanda North  . . .

Space Station Gets Easter Delivery of Food, Supplies

Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 15:42 PM

A Space Exploration Technologies' cargo ship made an Easter Sunday delivery of food, science experiments and supplies to . . .

Obamacare Enrollees Urged to Change Passwords over Heartbleed Bug

Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 10:55 AM

Americans with accounts on President Barack Obama's health insurance enrollment website, HealthCare.gov, were advised th . . .

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved