Nature & Environment
'Bugpocalypse' sees major decline in insects
By T.K. Randall
October 16, 2018 · 7 comments
Insects are disappearing. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Bernard DUPONT
A worrying new study has highlighted the catastrophic effects of global warming on insect populations.
The research, which focused on the Puerto Rico rainforest, recorded a significant drop in the number of insects and insect-eating mammals over the last few decades following an average rise in temperature of around two degrees Celsius.
Some insect groups, such as millipedes and sowbugs, have declined by over 60 percent.
"Our results suggest that the effects of climate warming in tropical forests may be even greater than anticipated," said study lead author Brad Lister from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
"The insect populations in the Luquillo forest are crashing, and once that begins the animals that eat the insects have insufficient food, which results in decreased reproduction and survivorship and consequent declines in abundance."
In addition to insect decline in tropical regions, there is also evidence to suggest that insect numbers are plummeting in Europe as well. In Germany, for instance, there has been a 76 percent decline in flying insects across multiple nature reserves over the last few decades.
"This study in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
) is a real wake-up call - a clarion call - that the phenomenon could be much, much bigger, and across many more ecosystems," said invertebrate conservation expert David Wagner from the University of Connecticut.
"This is one of the most disturbing articles I have ever read."
Source: New Zealand Herald
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