Climate Change Experiment Tracks Lizards and Butterflies

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A unique experiment in the French Pyrenees is tracking the responses of lizards and butterflies to climate change. In a man-made facility and controlled environments, scientists can measure the effects on their behavior.

Scientists are enlisting the help of some of earth's most sensitive creatures to help determine the effects of climate change.

Researchers in the French Pyrenees will be tracking these white cabbage butterflies and common lizards to see how they migrate in an artificial environment set to mimic climate change effects.

The French National Research Center latest project involves 48 enclosed cages, each set to different environmental conditions.

[Olivier Calvez, CNRS Engineer]:
"What we are trying to do is see which individual butterflies within this cage's population will disperse and explore another cage. It represents, if you may, a population in a natural environment and a new habitat which would be colonized by certain individual butterflies from the original population."

Both have been marked and numbered for tracking purposes.

Migrating from one cage to another through long corridors, scientists can monitor how far they travel and where they congregate and breed.

Lizard expert Julien Cote.

[Julien Cote, Common Lizard Researcher]:
"We do tests that are similar to the ones done with butterflies. We study newborn lizards after they are released into the populations to see which habitat they prefer. Where they go and where they settle down in relation to environmental and climatic conditions."

Using computer software to modify temperature and water levels, scientists will analyze their migratory patterns.

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