As environments change, life seeks to fit in

By Peter Kent

image depicts Peter Marko with books.Weather patterns and the consequences of wind, rain and temperature profoundly influence life on Earth. Historical biogeographer Peter Marko studies how past changes in climate have impacted species' distribution and abundance. The research shows patterns that can help scientists predict how plant and animal life may respond to global warming.

“Climate change has received the most attention from biologists and paleontologists as a factor affecting ecosystems over geological timescales,” Marko said. “There is a growing desire to predict the responses of marine species to increasing global temperatures. Over the span of time, species retain genetic information that tracks how they survived in their environments. I examine these ages-old genetic patterns – think of it as ‘genetic archeology.’”

Research by Marko and others offers insights into the long-term consequences of climate change. It also provides data for political and economic decisions about land-use, conservation and environmental policies, such as coastal growth and development.

For information: Peter Marko, 864-656-1426,