Earthwatch researcher Stephen Williams investigates the impact of climate change on the wildlife and habitats of Australia’s Queensland Wet Tropics.
Why study the animals of Queensland Wet Tropics?
Says Dr. Williams: “Our early research examining the predicted impacts of global warming on animals of the Australian tropical rainforests suggests that climate change could bring about catastrophic extinctions in the Queensland Wet Tropics, and by implication, in mountain systems around the world. We need to determine which species, habitats, and ecosystems will be most vulnerable, exactly what aspects of their ecological and evolutionary biology determine their vulnerability, and what we can do to manage this vulnerability and minimize the realized impacts.”
A great moment in the field:
Recently, Dr. Williams has been involved in spatial modeling as a tool to study biodiversity, and this has led to using models to predict the impacts of climate change in the region. The results of this analysis inspired him to shift the focus of his research to the likely impacts of climate change on rainforest biodiversity. He hopes this research will make a difference for the long-term preservation of the unique rainforests that he loves.