Climate Pressures Favor Seal Moms With Higher Genetic Variation


Plants and Animals

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Antarctic fur seal female and its newborn pup at Bird Island, South Georgia / Jaume Forcada

Rising temperatures are causing declines in Antarctic fur seal populations, but according to a study published in Nature this week, their genetic diversity seems to be increasing. By itself, this diversity isn’t an evolutionary response — since it can’t be passed down — but maintaining higher levels of genetic variation offers a better chance of evolutionary adaptation later on, which will hopefully buffer the impacts of long-term climate change.