background extinction


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background extinction

n.
The ongoing low-level extinction of individual species over very long periods of time due to naturally occurring environmental or ecological factors such as climate change, disease, loss of habitat, or competitive disadvantage in relation to other species.
References in periodicals archive ?
Climate change is a driving force behind the so-called sixth mass extinction in which species are declining at rates 100 to 1,000 times faster than background extinction rates.
Wilson now estimates that the rate will reach 10,000 times higher than background extinction by 2030.
To determine the background extinction rate, scientists look to the fossil record and to genetic material, or DNA, which accumulates small changes in its sequence as it is copied and passed down from generation to generation.
The few species that seem to disappear in the uppermost Maastrichtian can be interpreted to constitute background extinction pattern, or can also be interpreted as the remaining Signor-Lipps effect.
Ranging further, the dispute is carried into questions about the background extinction rate--reflected in the number of species lost before humans arrived.
Even this five-fold increase in background extinction rates, however, vastly understates the magnitude of the current extinction event because it is derived only from extinction of species known to science.
According to David Jablonski at the University of Chicago, adaptive traits that enhance survival and diversification of species during times of background extinction tend to have little in common with those traits that increase the chances of survival during mass extinctions.
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