Can species evolve fast enough to deal with climate change?

That’s the question that I asked in my cover story for the July 26 issue of Science News (now online). And it was a question that became far more complicated that I thought it would. That’s because if a species is going to deal with climate change, it’s got several ways to do so. It can migrate to a new place, if it can find a path and has a spot where it can move to. It can genetically adapt, but to do so fast enough some members of its species must already carry the appropriate genes. Or it can be flexible in behavior or other traits and buy itself some time to do one, or both, of the first two.

The thing is, though, that while some species may be able to use a combination of all three of these options, many won’t. Extinctions are inevitable. And then it will be up to us to decide which species we can and should help. Just another reminder that the future of climate change is completely in our hands.