Mammals could find it more difficult to adjust their geographical ranges as the climate warms than previously thought.

Carrie Schloss and her colleagues at the University of Washington, Seattle, studied the ability of 493 mammalian species to move to new habitats with suitable climates when the projected temperature increases in the Western hemisphere occur. The team modelled the speed at which species would need to move and compared this with their known dispersal rates. The authors found that, on average, 9.2% of species at any given location will be unable to outrun climate change. Reductions in range size will be widespread, affecting 87%, with 20% of these reductions due to species' inability to relocate. Primates, which do not disperse as readily as other mammals, are likely to be among the most vulnerable.

Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA (2012)