SOURCE: Lund University

DATE: November 16, 2017

SNIP: Acclimation means the ability of both animals and plants to adjust their physiology when it gets hotter or colder. In this way, individual organs are able to interact effectively and various processes in the body function optimally in varying conditions.

The common perception has long been that animals and plants that live near the Earth’s poles are best at acclimating. This assumption was based on the idea that they have the most to gain from acclimating, due to the large fluctuations in temperature between summer and winter in these regions.

Now this picture is being challenged by new research findings that demonstrate the opposite. Acclimation is most beneficial at intermediate, temperate latitudes. In Europe, this area corresponds to the regions between southern Spain and northern Germany.

The research findings could change our perception of which species are likely to be most affected by climate change.

“High-latitude species could have a less flexible physiology than previously thought and thus be more vulnerable to climate change”, says Viktor Nilsson-Örtman, a biologist at Lund University in Sweden.