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Does an island lifestyle confer climate tolerance—if you’re a plant?

Isolation makes island species more vulnerable to extinction and to climate change. Or so goes conventional ecological thinking. But there’s also reason to think that island species might be extra resilient to climate change.

“These species have been stuck in place on their native islands for millions of years, during which they must have survived past shifts in climate,” says Kyle Rosenblad, a research associate in conservation biologist Dov Sax’s lab at Brown University. That history means island species could be able to tolerate a broader range of conditions than they currently experience.