In late June, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released an assessment of how the consequences of climate change, from rising temperatures and sea levels to changes in precipitation patterns and sea ice cover, might impact the military. The report recommends that the Pentagon develop a better plan to respond to and mitigate such impacts.
The title of the report, “Climate Change Adaptation,” sounded familiar. That’s because it was very similar to the working title of this issue’s cover story. And although our article deals with the feathered and flowered worlds of plants, animals and other creatures — and not military infrastructure — biologists are similarly concerned with how natural populations might respond to the consequences of climate change. The feature “Quick change artists” tells an important story about some