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Climate change is driving tropical species further north in the southern U.S.

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As the climate warms, several species of flora and fauna have been documented to be migrating up to higher altitudes at mountainsides in areas like the Rocky Mountains in the United States to escape rising air temperatures.

Now research shows that in the southern part of the U.S. several tropical species of plants and animals are extending their range northward and not all of them will be welcome in their new territories. Disease-carrying mosquitos and destructive invasive species such as Burmese pythons are making the transition up north as well, raising the risk that they will be posing a threat to people and wildlife there.

“Quite a few mosquito species are expanding northward, as well as a lot of forestry pests: bark beetles, the southern mountain pine beetle,” says Caroline Williams, associate professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, who was a co-author of the new study. which focused on the effects of warming winters on the expanding range of cold-sensitive tropical plants and animals across the southern U.S., including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

The variety of tropical species that are expanding their ranges northward include native mangroves and some warm-water fish, in […]

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