Bison in Future will be Smaller and Weigh Less, Research
Published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, a research has suggested that future generations of bison will evolve to be smaller in size and weigh less.
The study was aimed at analyzing the effect of climate change in the next half century on the grazing animals such as bison and cattle in the Great Plains. It was carried out by Joseph Craine, a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Biology at Kansas State University.
The researcher analyzed data sets including weights, ages and sexes derived from 22 bison herds across the US. The data was collected from herds in possession of the university's Konza Prairie Biological Station, Oklahoma's Nature Conservancy, Turner Enterprises and other organizations.
The data was examined against the climate records of the regions. Craine said that bison is among the important animals to be considered for conservation. "There are about half a million bison in the world", he added.
The study published under the title `Long-term climate sensitivity of grazer performance: a cross-site study' asserted that climate change and rise global temperatures is causing fall in nutritional quality of grasses.
Warmer grasslands have been found to have grasses with less protein. Therefore, it will lead to decrease in the average size of the American bison in future.