Gosh. Study highlights species that are ‘deceptively resilient’ to climate change

From the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA – DAVIS and the “sneaky Nature will get you with climate change… someday” department.

Species may appear deceptively resilient to climate change

Ecological air conditioning offers short-term protection from a warming climate

Nature itself can be the best defense against climate change for many species — at least in the short term­ — according to a study published in the journal Ecology Letters from the University of California, Davis.

The study found that natural habitats play a vital role in helping other plants and animals resist heat stresses ramping up with climate change — at least until the species they depend on to form those habitats become imperiled. This suggests a need to re-evaluate climate change predictions for many species, including predictions that species in the south will move north with global warming.

The work focused on the rocky shoreline stretching from California’s Channel Islands to Washington’s Olympic National Park, where low tides expose marine species to intense heat. It also has implications for habitats like grasslands and rainforests, which support millions of smaller species.

These are mussel beds at low tide at Bodega Marine Reserve in California. CREDIT Laura Jurgens


Similar to how trees support birds and chipmunks, species like mussels and seaweed form habitat for other coastal species. They can lower temperatures so much for those other species that there is ultimately no difference in heat stress for sea creatures living in southern California versus northern Washington. If those habitats become suddenly imperiled, however, the species relying on them have little time to adapt.

“We might take for granted some of the resilience of our ecosystems because we don’t realize how much they depend on these habitats,” said lead author Laura Jurgens, who was a Ph.D. candidate at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory at the time of the study and is currently a postdoctoral researcher with Temple University and Smithsonian Institution. “For creatures that live in mussel beds and seaweed beds, it’s like having a house with air conditioning at low tide. You can tolerate a lot of what goes on outside if you have air conditioning. But if you’re looking at a future with more intense heat waves, and you don’t have air conditioning anymore, you wonder, ‘Where can I go?’ For these species, they could make a big move north, but it won’t help — they still need these habitats to keep the heat in a tolerable range.”

The study indicates that plants and animals whose habitats serve as “ecological air conditioning” are not likely to move until the other species protecting them are threatened. This could make those species more vulnerable to sudden events like warm blobs of ocean water, disease, extreme storms or intense heat waves. These species may appear “deceptively resilient” to climate change until one event takes away their habitats.


The study adds to the understanding of how different species respond to climate change. Scientists have observed some plants and animals under climate change are leaving lower latitudes for cooler ones. But this study shows that, for some species, habitat is more important than latitude in protecting them from the effects of climate change.

“If you’re an octopus living in a mussel bed, the most important thing to keep your body temperature survivable is that mussel bed around you, not whether you live in Southern California, where it’s warmer, or Washington,” Jurgens said.

The study also reinforces the benefits of habitat conservation. It indicates that destroying habitat can reduce climate resilience, while restoring and conserving habitat can help maintain biodiversity as the climate warms.

“People are really big compared to most organisms on the planet,” Jurgens said. “We’re enormous, and it’s hard for us to understand what it’s like to be in these habitats unless you imagine yourself in a place like a forest you walk into on a hot day. If that temperature is what you need to survive, that forest better be there.”


There was no link to the paper given in the press release, so there’s none here. But, I’m not sure it’s worth reading anyway.

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Don Gleason
November 22, 2017 8:29 am

Guess we’ll have to study this for a few thousand years to find out…

Curious George
Reply to  Don Gleason
November 22, 2017 9:39 am

Ecology Letters denies evolution.

Bryan A
Reply to  Curious George
November 22, 2017 9:57 am

Interestingly there is no mention of the potential buffer of increasing sea levels ensuring that the tide pool waters remain cooled by tidal influx of cooler water with every wave.

November 22, 2017 8:38 am

Hmmm…any guesses as to why nature has become so resilient to changing climates? Could it possibly be that these resilient species have been contending with changing climates for as long as they have existed, which is far longer than we’ve been around.

Reply to  rocketscientist
November 22, 2017 9:25 am

Also the fact that in the last 100 years, there has been very little actually change in the climate.

Maybe a fraction of a degree warming.. That’s it.

Reply to  AndyG55
November 22, 2017 9:26 am

And that is of course just after the coldest period in 10,000 years

Reply to  AndyG55
November 22, 2017 9:45 am

“..last 100 years……Maybe a fraction of a degree warming.”

.6 degrees C in less than 50 years, which would be over 1 degree in 100 years

Reply to  AndyG55
November 22, 2017 10:01 am

Robert, you like most, ignore the PER DECADE trend,which the IPCC said was supposed to be .30C,while your own link shows HALF that rate.

Thank you for exposing another example of the AGW conjecture failure.

Meanwhile Andy was talking about 100 year time frame while you used a 37 year time frame,you sure you want to continue your line of argument?

Reply to  AndyG55
November 22, 2017 10:14 am

SSTommy, yes, we can continue if you wish to .

Notice that Andy did not specify units, and that in the 37 year interval the increase is 1.08F which is not a “fraction of a degree”
Are you saying that there was no warming for the 63 years prior to the satellite record?

Reply to  AndyG55
November 22, 2017 10:20 am

SSTommy, add another .2 C for the interval before the satellite record:

Reply to  AndyG55
November 22, 2017 10:24 am

SSTommy, this is not a “fraction of a degree” :

It’s a full degree C

Reply to  AndyG55
November 22, 2017 10:44 am

Sorry Robert, 1940’s were about the same temperature as now, maybe marginally less.. unknown.

There has only been a fraction of degree, if any, warming .

Extrapolating in a non-linear chaotic cyclic system is mathematical stupidity.

Reply to  AndyG55
November 22, 2017 10:45 am

GISStemp is a fabrication. The peak around 1940 has been manically removed.

We are dealing with REALITY, not AGW propganda an lies.

Reply to  AndyG55
November 22, 2017 10:46 am

“Are you saying that there was no warming for the 63 years prior to the satellite record?”

There was actually considerable COOLING from 1940 to the start of the satellite data.

Reply to  AndyG55
November 22, 2017 10:52 am

The ONLY warming in the satellite data has come from the 1998 El Nino, which caused a step of about 0.3C

The recent transient, we will see how it settles, but looks like no step at all.

I guess if you are dumb enough to use linear trends, which are highly affected by steps and transients, that’s your nonsense to deal with,

In reality there was no warming from 1980-1997 or from 2001 – 2015.

You can go down the path of using the El Ninos to create a fictitious trend, but that only proves my point.

Reply to  AndyG55
November 22, 2017 11:06 am

Robert, again you failed to see that Andy was using the 100 year period to claim a fraction of a degree:

“Also the fact that in the last 100 years, there has been very little actually change in the climate.

Maybe a fraction of a degree warming.. That’s it”

you had written this error,

“Notice that Andy did not specify units, and that in the 37 year interval the increase is 1.08F which is not a “fraction of a degree”

He never said 37 years,YOU did that..

You made a dishonest attempt here.

Reply to  AndyG55
November 22, 2017 11:13 am

Robert, unwittingly supports Andy’s statement about fraction of a degree:

“SSTommy, add another .2 C for the interval before the satellite record:”

which is 63 years right there with only a .20C increase,or add another 20 years to reach .40C increase


Now 83 years long.

Then add the last 16+ years to get up .8C in 100 years,that is definitely LESS than 1 degree. Meanwhile did you notice that Hadcrut is cooling the past,as the charts make clear? Therefore .8C is too high,probably more like .5C or so.

You need to slow down,Robert.

Caligula Jones
Reply to  AndyG55
November 22, 2017 11:32 am

…then deduct the “warming” that is really “less cold”…

Reply to  AndyG55
November 22, 2017 11:34 am

“,probably more like,5C or so.”

Yep maybe a tad more.

Too much data has been destroyed and corrupted since the AGW scàm started to have any certainty.

Only thing really certain is that GISS and HadCrud have little resemblance to reality, both having erased the strong 1940’s peak that was so prevalent in most of the NH.

Even down here, a lot of records were set around the late 1930’s

And if you go back to the late 1800’s, the temperatures were undoubtedly higher than they are now. Horrendously warm. !

Reply to  rocketscientist
November 22, 2017 5:58 pm

Let’s see, resiliency. Who needs it?

The black mussel, Mytilus edulis L. and a denizen of the northeastern coastal N American continent, lives in the intertidal zone. During summer low tides, these organisms spend several hours (up to 8 hours) in air that can be as high as 120 deg F (49 deg C) while also lying in direct sunlight; being black energy absorption is high. Then, in the winter, during low tide, the air can be less than -30 deg F (-34 deg C); between being black and evaporative cooling, it’s a chilly ride during a cold winter low tide. So, these bivalves have to deal with a >80 deg C temperature range that fluctuates several times daily because of the tides, forcing them to constantly deal with the relatively moderate seawater temperatures and the often more differing air temperatures. It is ingenuous to think that a change of a few degrees overall, up or down, would have any effect on such hardy organisms.

What most people do not realize is that, if the world did warm by two or three degrees, it would not mean more hot and cold snaps. [This warming is not happening and is not even hinted at by the real world.] It would mean longer, lightly warmer summers, warmer night temperatures, and shorter, slightly warmer winters. That is all it takes to have the warming we are supposed to panic about. A cogent assessment says that we would have a longer growing season and also have more growing going on during the night during the growing season. It’s a win-win for the plants, animals. and humans.

John F. Hultquist
November 22, 2017 8:49 am

But if you’re looking at a future with more intense heat waves, …” [Laura Jurgens]

In out high school chemistry class we were told atoms make up everything.
Not so.
People, such as Laura, make up a lot of stuff, also.

Stephen Skinner
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
November 22, 2017 9:11 am

There is this line on page 9 in ‘Moscow 1941’ by R Braithwaite: “Napoleon’s veterans complained as they marched across the endless plains that the heat was as bad as it had been in Egypt…”
Looks like heat waves can be back dated or it wasn’t that hot in Egypt.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
November 22, 2017 10:30 am

In the school of global warming, every interesting observation about the resilience and adaptability of nature has no value until it is twisted, stretched and deformed into yet another threat of future catastrophe. The fact these catastrophes never materialize is never accompanied by an apology or any other form of accountability from the chicken littles.

Mark from the Midwest
November 22, 2017 8:50 am

“The work focused on the rocky shoreline … also has implications for habitats like grasslands and rainforests …”

The implications being? Exactly how do you draw an inference between habitats that have very little in common?

Or maybe the implication is that they will need more money to study grasslands and rainforests.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
November 22, 2017 8:59 am

I would suggest a different term. Perhaps one of these: similarity, resemblance; similitude

November 22, 2017 8:58 am

Even if CO2 is causing a change in the climate (and I think if it is, then it is minute), the process is so slow that evolution has plenty of time to act. I doubt very much if new species will evolve, the existing species will adapt, by those with favourable traits having longer lifespans and producing more offspring, than those who haven’t. The alarmists though, with their hidden agenda, expect us all to be gullible and stupid enough to take as gospel everything they tell us. They talk about “mass extinction events”, even with their worse case scenario a temperature rise of 2 Celsius is not going to cause mass extinctions.

Ron Long
November 22, 2017 9:02 am

How about if we add human beings to the list of resilient species? Laura Jurgens says “…you don’t have air conditioning anymore…”, and this reminds me of the time I drove, in a company Blazer with a black roof, across Death Valley toward Furnace Creek in July. Around 118 degrees (F). Half way across the motor is overheating significantly. I turn off the air conditioning, Doesn’t help so I turn on the heater full blast and on highest heat (another radiator in effect). My co-workers are desperate. We open all of the windows (cooler outside) and pour water over ourselves and make it to the other side. All of this fuss about 3 degree (F) potential change? Bring it.

Stephen Skinner
November 22, 2017 9:04 am

All species that are still in existence are resilient to Climate Change because they have managed to deal with the huge changes in climate for at least the last million years. There is nothing deceptive as this word implies this resilience is hidden. How many years was the North Sea not the North Sea and how long ago was the last time it was a sea? All the shorelines around all the continents over all of the world have only been in there current position since 10,000 years ago give or take a meter or two. This is not hidden knowledge.

Reply to  Stephen Skinner
November 22, 2017 3:20 pm

The word “deceptively” is often misused when the intended meaning is “surprisingly” or “remarkably.” I think we should require semi-literate budding academics to issue trigger warnings before attempting to use fancy language.

November 22, 2017 9:26 am

I raise a lot of plants…hobby….it’s common to see……hardy in zones 5 through 11

This is another one of those…..climate is not supposed to change….evolution has stopped

November 22, 2017 9:39 am

UCD rediscovers the concept of ecosystems! Stunning climate news. Details at 11.

November 22, 2017 9:40 am

Having spent a good deal of my career trying to manage marine fish and invertebrate (actually managing humans) most of us learned long ago we should manage for resiliency not maximum sustainable yield. Brian Rothchild hypothesized that many marine species reproductive biology had evolved maximize resiliency, even suggesting that very fecundity, multi-frequency spawners were “tasting the environment.” Almost all marine species, or their very close relatives, have been around for thousands of years, seen the climate change more than a few times yet without humans over harvesting they do quite well with a changing environment/ climate.

Stephen Skinner
Reply to  Edwin
November 22, 2017 2:24 pm

Edwin November 22, 2017 at 9:40 am
“…have been around for thousands of years,”
You do mean millions of years?

November 22, 2017 9:55 am

The thing that should be considered is that the part of the Pacific coast described is dominated by a current coming out of the Gulf of Alaska. The water is cold year round (surfers wearing full wetsuits), so the temperature swing in the tidal zone could be pronounced.

Bryan A
November 22, 2017 10:10 am

Considering that the Tidal Pools, over a 24 hour period, change in temperature of around 8C…The tide pools are cooled to around 14C and heat up to 22C during the day time hours. Increasing 1C will still retain the 8C range but simply increase the start/Stop points to 15C – 23C. But with Sea Level increase, the tide pools could be influenced by increasing tidal cooling during the day time from wave action having a greater upshore reach during low tides

Michael Jankowski
November 22, 2017 10:49 am

Unfortunately, there are pets that are resilient to climate change…rats, cockroaches, Oreskes…

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Michael Jankowski
November 22, 2017 10:50 am


November 22, 2017 10:51 am

a need to re-evaluate climate change predictions for many species

They really haven’t a clue. Keep the money coming…..

Maggy Wassilieff
November 22, 2017 10:58 am

Here’s a link to the paper…
It looks paywalled… so, there’s just the abstract on the link

Bruce Cobb
November 22, 2017 11:07 am

Interesting. So, would these “ecological air conditioning” units habitats be the same as, or different from “ecological heating” units habitats, or would new, different ones have to take their place? What about ones to keep the temperature at the goldilocks temperature? So many questions.
Send money.

November 22, 2017 11:10 am

More rehashing of known science. The climate has been constantly changing since the beginning. Evolution is thing’s adapt to changes or migrate or die. Everything relies upon other things in their environment. Any change to one thing effects the other things either positively or negatively. Nothing that was said is new.

F. Leghorn
November 22, 2017 12:00 pm

so clams cool their environment? How? Is it just me or is this the dumbest cagw load of hogwash yet?

Steve Zell
November 22, 2017 1:07 pm

[Quote from article]”“If you’re an octopus living in a mussel bed, the most important thing to keep your body temperature survivable is that mussel bed around you, not whether you live in Southern California, where it’s warmer, or Washington,” Jurgens said.

Thanks to the southward-flowing Alaska current along the Pacific coast, sea water isn’t much warmer off Southern California than off Washington state. The only problem a mussel might have in southern California is how to make it through low tide if the mussel is exposed to the hot sun around noon on a summer day. Mussels would survive better in the intertidal zone off Washington state because the daylight hours are generally cooler and cloudier.

Global warming, if it occurs, would not be a problem for mussels, since it would tend to raise sea levels, and mussels would be exposed to sunlight for a shorter time at low tide.

As for the octopus, those 8 arms make them very mobile. What’s to prevent the octopus from moving out into deeper water at low tide, then coming back in to the mussel bed at high tide?

November 22, 2017 1:56 pm

It does not require special study to determine that most species can adapt to climate change. Just visit the local zoo. At Chester Zoo in the North West of England the elephants, kangaroos, tigers and meerkats survive in the realtively cold conditions, whilst the penguins and sea lions survive in the relatively warm conditions.

November 22, 2017 2:07 pm

Those cockroaches just won’t give up even in the face of overwhelming heat. Keep up the flow of funding.

November 22, 2017 2:12 pm

“This suggests a need to re-evaluate climate change predictions for many species” Sometimes I think climate change is just one big perpetual make-work project.

Bryan A
Reply to  BallBounces
November 22, 2017 2:23 pm

I’m still waiting for the paper showing “Climate Stable” as a climate state. Without a Climate Stable, there is no real Climate Change because Constant Change is Normal

Gerald Machnee
November 22, 2017 3:20 pm

Time for The National Audubon Society to read this after their bogus study based on IPCC warming temperatures.

November 22, 2017 4:00 pm

Health is the ability to adapt.

Live thingys has been around for a long long time. They adapt. Our blue marble is healthy.

Reply to  Max Photon
November 22, 2017 4:01 pm

Hahaha … bad grammar has been around for a long long time too 🙂

Smart Rock
November 23, 2017 8:01 am

Poor Laura. She was faced with the inconvenient fact that diurnal changes in temperature aren’t causing mass mortality, while much smaller, secular changes in temperature due to CAGW are supposed to be leading to mass extinctions in the near future (or even the recent past – the science of mass extinction doesn’t appear to require actually identifying any of the extinct species).. How to resolve this dilemma and still get her Ph.D.? She seems to have done a really good job of glossing over the incompatibility between observations and the”settled science”.

Good for her, and good for her career. The alternative would have been to point out logical flaws in the “settled science” and risking being cast into the outer darkness. No Ph.D., no career, not a cheery prospect for a young scientist facing student loans to be repaid (OK, I’m guessing, perhaps she has a wealthy family)

Acceptance by the group is a powerful motivator, and more than offsets the loss of self-respect caused by ignoring logical fallacies. For most of us, anyway.

November 23, 2017 10:24 am

Just as the alarmists appear to be totally ignorant of the effects of the relative adiabatic lapse rates of moist air (about 1.5 °C/1,000 ft) and dry air (3 °C/1,000 ft) on atmospheric temperature distribution, they also assume in their ‘modelling’ that life forms have no ability to adapt to small changes in temperature.

November 23, 2017 10:26 am

There was uptick in extinctions during the PETM.

‘Nuff said.

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