Global warming is threatening animal behavior

Global warming is threatening animal behavior ...

In the 40 C heat of the Italian summer, I was writing an essay for my high school exam. I was struggling to comprehend the meaning of the words I was reading. In over 50 countries, research has shown that learning performance is affected by the number of hot school days. The impact of heat stress on humans is well-known, but it may not be the only thing feeling the heat. Animals need attention, memory, learning, and decision-making mechanisms to adjust their behavior according to environmental information. These mechanisms affect how quickly an animal reacts to a predator, as well as how successful parents are at raising their offspring. The ability of wild animals to process and respond to environmental information may be compromised due to heat-impaired cognitive. Over 50 studies have addressed this topic in different taxa. Not all studies found that the brain was damaged when the temperature went up. In some species, a mild temperature increase can promote growth and cognitive function by speeding up the rate of biochemical processes. Learning, memory and decision-making can be impaired when body or brain temperature increases above normal. The ability of female zebra finches to distinguish calls from males of their own species versus calls of a different species decreases at 41 C, a temperature commonly experienced by wild zebra finch populations during heatwaves. Reduced learning performance of young due to altered brain development is caused by heat stress during pregnancy or egg incubation. velvet geckos were less likely to survive after they were released into the wild, because they were slower at learning the position of a shelter. This result suggests that the cognitive development of entire generations could be affected by heatwaves. We don't know how widespread the effect of heat stress is in wild animal populations or how severe the consequences are. Captive animals are used in most heat stress-cognition studies. Captive animals do not face the same challenges as wild animals. The response of wild animals to natural heatwaves may not be fully captured by measuring heat stress and cognitive functioning in an artificial setting. In the face of a rapidly changing climate, we need field studies to fill in the knowledge gap. Field studies of cognitive testing in the wild are possible thanks to technological advances and the development of robust protocols. Radio-frequency identification tags can be used for automated cognitive tasks. Body temperature can be measured without being seen. Existing long-term data can be used to assess the link between heat stress and cognitive performance. The sharing of long-term data among researchers is made easier by the establishment of large international collaborations. Critical temperature thresholds for cognitive decline in wild animals can be identified by the expertise of thermal physiologists, cognitive scientists, and behavioral ecologists. Climate scientists can use the thresholds to improve the accuracy of population predictions under future climate scenarios. This knowledge can be used to identify habitat refugia with appropriate thermal profiles and to consider climate effects on the learning abilities of individuals. Figuring out how to adapt to new environments and changing conditions is important. Climate change research will improve our ability to make good wildlife management decisions. The impacts of heat stress on animal cognition are implications for adaptation to a changing climate. Climate change will be covered by the wires. There is a DOI: 10.1002/wcc.713."

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