We are pleased to see that our recent article (Lacoul and Freedman, 2006) on high-altitude records for aquatic plants in the Himalayas of Nepal has now resulted in our learning of observations previously unknown to us of even higher records in the Andes of South America. This ongoing learning is a key part of the constructive progress of ecological science, involving a cumulative assembly of information about the natural world, including the geographic and environmental limits of species and how these may change over time. These sorts of high-altitude observations are especially salient today as we work to establish reliable databases that will be useful in detecting ecological responses to warming and other aspects of global climate change. In fact, one of the key points being made in our paper is that the colonization of lakes at 4760 m is an apparently recent phenomenon that may be related to high-altitude warming during the past few decades.
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Vol. 39 • No. 2