Koalas Under Threat From Climate Change

Thursday, May 8, 2008 - 19:21 in Earth & Climate

New research shows increased temperatures and carbon dioxide levels are a threat to the Australian national icon, the koala. Biologists have been researching the effects of carbon dioxide increases and temperature rises on eucalypts. They have shown in the laboratory that increases in carbon dioxide affect the level of nutrients and 'anti-nutrients' (things that are either toxic or interfere with the digestion of nutrients) in eucalypt leaves. Anti-nutrients in eucalypts are built from carbon and an increase in carbon dioxide levels will favor the production of anti-nutrients over nutrients. Koalas are fussy about the species of eucalypts that they eat as different species contain different ratios of nutrients to anti-nutrients.

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