Problem being addressed
Climate change has the potential to significantly impact biodiversity. What will the impact of changing weather be on the diversity of species in the world?
A summary of various models that consider the impact of climate and biodiversity is discussed. The main theme is that as climate becomes more extreme, the niches in which particular species are adapted to live will shrink or even disappear. Two basic modelling paradigms are considered: Machine learning models that try to make sense of which species will remain stable, and more ground-up theoretical models that try to understand the distribution of species with time. The key question is related to the contrast in the approaches: does machine learning overfit? Or is theory incongruent with the sheer volume of data that needs to be considered when tackling climate change?
Advantages of this solution
Both these approaches and the concomitant discussion has merit when considering climate change. There is no "comprehensive" model to tell us what will happen, just pointers and, in this case, it is good to have the sobering perspective that the models present.
Solution originally applied in these industries
Possible New Application of the Work
The media tends to favour polarisation and simplification rather than diversity. This is because diversity tends to be diffuse, and does not have quite the same emotional impact. Perhaps a diversity quotient could be developed and modelled for the news media. This would help make sure that the media is acting in the public interest rather than as a tool for elites and swaying opinions.
Biodiversity in nature is very similar to product diversity in supermarkets. Depending on the retail climate, more variety in products can be supported. A possible extension of this work and of using environmental methods in commercial sectors is to understand product diversity, when and where it is appropriate from the market, and whether it is sustainable or not. How many coffee varieties does one really need?
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