Global warming may diminish the microbiota

Global warming, a real threat to animal and vegetable biodiversity, may also have harmful effects on the diversity of microbial species that make up the intestinal flora of reptiles, and, eventually, on the survival of species, according to a study published in “Nature, Ecology & Evolution.”

To understand the consequences of a temperature increase on the intestinal flora, French researchers worked with an English team to test viviparous lizards in various climatic conditions. After a year, they observed that an increase of 2 to 3°C, which corresponds to climate forecasts for the end of the 21st century, caused a 34% drop in the number of bacterial species present in their intestinal microbiota. This loss of diversity could directly threaten the species’ survival, the researchers say. They went on to say that the consequences of climate change may be underestimated in terms of this new risk.


Elvire Bestion et al. Climate warming reduces gut microbiota diversity in a vertebrate ectotherm. Nature Ecology & Evolution 1, Article number: 0161 (2017) doi:10.1038/s41559-017-0161