Brian Helmuth is a professor in the Department of Marine and Environmental Science and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University, and directs the university’s Sustainability Science and Policy Initiative.
Climate change produces winners and losers, globally and locally, and science can help to predict which is which. Often the winners are invasive species, disease-causing organisms and pests with broad tolerances to environmental changes. To help save the species we care about — whether for sentimental reasons or because we depend on them for food and shelter — we’ll need detailed physiological and ecological knowledge of those species, their habitats and how they react to changing conditions. With that knowledge, we’ll hopefully be able to make better decisions about where and how to allocate scarce resources to preserve and protect some of the many plants and animals threatened with extinction.