Effects of Climate Change on Wildlife

The health of wildlife, people, and the habitats they rely on are all interconnected. Effects on one part on an ecosystem affect other parts over time, and climate change is already impacting many species of native wildlife in New England.

European honey bee  on flower © David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org
European honey bee on flower © David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org
 
Gray Fox © Stephen Birtz
Gray Fox © Stephen Birtz
 
Harbor seal pup © Alex Shure
Harbor seal pup © Alex Shure

Pollinators

Essential to the overall health of countless plants and ecosystems, pollinators are facing many of the same challenges of birds and other wildlife. In some cases, they are struggling to keep up with the rate of climate change and getting out of sync with earlier blooms of the plants they pollinate. 

Birds

Warming temperatures, shifting seasons, changing precipitation, and rising sea levels are disrupting the behavior of our feathered friends and the ecosystems that support them. Learn More >

Land Mammals

Less mobile than birds, land mammals often face more obstacles when adapting to changes in their ecosystems. Lakes, development, and segmented or isolated natural areas keep land mammals from migrating to suitable climates as they need to. 

Additional stressors, like an increasing abundance of ticks, disease, and pests are major risk factors. 

Marine Life

Marine life faces challenges from warming waters and ocean acidification. Warming waters alter the latitude and depth at which certain species are able to survive, so many species are moving deeper or father north in the Atlantic to find cold water. More acidic oceans keep crustaceans, coral, and other organisms from developing.

The result is widespread disruption of interconnected food webs. Learn More >