As the world warms, scientists expect some ecosystems to gradually migrate up slopes, essentially chasing environmental conditions they need to thrive.
But according to recent research on the historical ecology of the Andes conducted in part by a Westfield State University assistant professor, those steady changes can reach a tipping point in some cases that flips local ecosystems on their head.
The scientists examined fossilized pollen in Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest elevation great lake on the border of Peru and Bolivia, which allowed them to look 370,000 years back in time. They found that in two periods of past warming, the lake shrank by as much as 85 percent, and switched the grassland ecosystem into desert.
Article courtesy of The Boston Globe- Green Blog posted by Beth Daley