"Our analysis shows that rates of response to climate change are two or three times faster than previously realized," she said.
The data came from studies of birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, spiders and plants in Europe, North America, Chile, Malaysia, and South Africa's Marion Island.
By grouping the studies together and analyzing their results, researchers found for the first time a link between how hot it was getting and where organisms were moving.
"This research shows that it is global warming that is causing species to move towards the poles and to higher elevations," said lead author I-Ching Chen, now a researcher at the Academia Sinica in Taiwan.
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"We have for the first time shown that the amount by which the distributions of species have changed is correlated with the amount the climate has changed in that region."
Previous studies have suggested that some species are at risk for extinction due to their change in habitat, but this study did not delve into which species might be most in peril.