Claim: Extreme weather decides distribution of insects

Another modeled result, extrapolated all the way from 10 common fruit fly species to everything else in the insect world.

Extreme weather caused by climate change in the coming decades is likely to have profound implications for distributions of insects and other invertebrates. This is suggested by a new study of insects in tropical and temperate regions of Australia.

As climate change is progressing, the temperature of our planet increases. This is particularly important for the large group of animals that are cold-blooded (ectothermic), including insects. Their body temperature is ultimately determined by the ambient temperature, and the same therefore applies to the speed and efficiency of their vital biological processes.

Fruit flies have been the model for a study that has shown how climate change may affect insect distribution in the future. (Photo: Ary A. Hoffmann)

But is it changes in average temperature or frequency of extreme temperature conditions that have the greatest impact on species distribution? This was the questions that a group of Danish and Australian researchers decided to examine in a number of insect species.

Johannes Overgaard, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Denmark, Michael R. Kearney and Ary A. Hoffmann, Melbourne University, Australia, recently published the results of these studies in the journal Global Change Biology. The results demonstrate that it is especially the extreme temperature events that define the distribution of both tropical and temperate species. Thus climate change affects ectotermic animals primarily because more periods of extreme weather are expected in the future.

Fruit flies were modelled

The researchers examined 10 fruit fly species of the genus Drosophila adapted to tropical and temperate regions of Australia. First they examined the temperatures for which the species can sustain growth and reproduction, and then they found the boundaries of tolerance for hot and cold temperatures.

“This is the first time ever where we have been able to compare the effects of extremes and changes in average conditions in a rigorous manner across a group of species”, mentions Ary Hoffmann.

Based on this knowledge and knowledge of the present distribution of the 10 species they then examined if distribution was correlated to the temperatures required for growth and reproduction or rather limited by their tolerance to extreme temperature conditions.

“The answer was unambiguous: it is the species’ tolerance to very cold or hot days that define their present distribution,” says Johannes Overgaard.

It is therefore the extreme weather events, such as heat waves or extremely cold conditions, which costs the insects their life, not an increase in average temperature.

Periods of extreme heat and thus drought may be the cause of death for many insects. (Photo: COLOURBOX).

Drastic changes in store

With this information in hand, the researchers could then model how distributions are expected to change if climate change continues for the next 100 years.

Most terrestrial animals experience temperature variation on both daily and seasonal time scale, and they are adapted to these conditions. Thus, for a species to maintain its existence under varying temperature conditions there are two simple conditions that must be met. Firstly, the temperature should occasionally be such that the species can grow and reproduce, and secondly, the temperature must never be so extreme that the population’s survival is threatened.

In temperate climate for example, there are many species which are adapted to endure low temperatures in the winter, and then grow and reproduce in the summer. In warmer climates, the challenge may be just the opposite. Here, the species might endure high temperatures during the dry hot summer, while growth and reproduction mainly occurs during the mild and wet winter period.

The result was discouraging for all 10 species.

“Climate change will result in fewer cold days and nights, and thus allow species to move toward higher latitudes. However climate change also leads to a higher incidence to extremely hot days and our model therefore predicts that the distribution of these species will be reduced to less than half their present distribution”says Johannes Overgaard.

“In fact, our predictions are that some species would disappear entirely in the next few decades, even when they have a fairly wide distribution that currently covers hundreds of kilometers”, adds Ary Hoffmann.

“Although none of the 10 species studied are normally perceived as either harmful or beneficial organisms for human society, the results indicate that distribution of many insect species will be changed dramatically, and it will probably also apply to many of the species that have particular social or commercial importance “, ends Johannes Overgaard.

Source, Aarhus University: http://scitech.au.dk/en/roemer/feb14/ekstremt-vejr-afgoer-insekters-udbredelse/

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

I’m just going to go away and scream now…

After surviving hundreds of millions of years, Environmental disasters of epoch dimensions, insects are going to be threatened by a little change in climate conditions?!? More BS. The level that passes as scientific research is disappointing. pg

Man-Made Global Warming Hinders Sex Life of Slugs.
Slugs require copious amounts of slimy fluid in the act of sexual relations. Man-Made Global Warming tends to dry out slug bodies, making intercourse more laborious, resulting in fewer interactions. Slug populations have diminished as a result. Please do your part to stop man-made global warming, for Slug’s sake.

Mike Tremblay

Using this study, by extrapolation, it is obvious that Dewey really did win the election in 1948.

Mac the Knife

A collection of fruit flies, serially affected by global warming……
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/20/quote-of-the-week-gore-gets-tipper-er-tippy-er-whatever/

how many care?

dp

The argument appears to be genetic changes occur in insects as a result of random episodes of extreme weather, what ever that might be. So then it should present no problem at all to identify in the laboratory those genes that are modified by controlled environments pushed to +/- extreme conditions at carefully contrived intervals. The only other thing to determine is what is the rate and sign of weather extremes in a specific region is needed to genetically modify insect genes and then prove that the probability of that happening is reasonable and probable.
I’m thinking this is going to need a *lot* of funding and that is why the idea is being floated. No coulda/woulda/shoulda crank idea is worth discussing if there isn’t a funding bounty involved.

So 1C or 2C rise in a hundred years is going to have a major impact on flies that live in a range in excess of 20C daily. Agreed PG Sharrow, it’s just nonsense.

martin brumby

These psyentists are either breathtakingly incompetent or breathtakingly dishonest (or maybe both). So insects are no longer capable of adaptation? How many species went extinct during the warming period which ended in 1998. (No, REALLY extinct, not just according to some fraudulent X-Box ‘model’).

RoHa

Anyone who has been on a picnic in Australia knows that all sorts of flies can handle any weather and any temperature condition in the search for food. Anyone who has tried to eradicate cockroaches knows that they will be around millions of years longer than we will. Anyone who has battled with termites knows that the termites will just laugh at climate change as they have already installed air conditioning in their home mounds. This study was carried out by people who should get out more and acquaint themselves with how the Earth and its inhabitants are equipped and work.

Robert_G

Didn’t we just “do this” with tropical fish? And it is not whether the organism is an ectotherm (poikilotherm), but rather whether it is a stenotherm.[http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/11/climate-craziness-of-the-week-fish-living-near-the-equator-will-not-thrive-in-the-warmer-oceans-of-the-future/ ]
Stenothermic organisms will die if the environmental temperature falls outside of their tolerance range, by definition. Let’s pretend model future temperatures. if the model temperatures are outside the physiological range that the organism can tolerate for long, they are going to die (forget about possibility of adaptation). Fish or fruit flies, it’s all the same self-fulfilling, catastrophic tautology syllogism.
There must be at least one paper per phylum hawking the same basic self-evident argument for CAGW journals to publish.

george e. smith

Insects barely live long enough to experience weather, let alone climate. So how could they possibly react to climate change.
Dang ! Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, has already reported to us on 17 years and five months, of no significant global warming, It’s getting close to the life cycle of the 18 year cicadas, but they have slept through the whole thing.
They probably won’t notice the change when they come up.

michael hart

If they were to include the plague of frogs in their models, then the frogs could eat the plague of insects. Problem fixed. Simples.

Bonanzapilot

If insects are so delicate, why is the USDA so touchy about agricultural products brought into the country from tropical climes?

FrankK

george e. smith says:
February 20, 2014 at 11:00 pm
Insects barely live long enough to experience weather, let alone climate. So how could they possibly react to climate change.
Dang ! Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, has already reported to us on 17 years and five months, of no significant global warming, It’s getting close to the life cycle of the 18 year cicadas, but they have slept through the whole thing.
They probably won’t notice the change when they come up.
—————————————————————————————
Well George the cics have been incredibly noisy this year. Must have been a protest about the lack of rising temperature! What utter rubbish is that “study”- more snouts in the spondulicks trough.

pat

all i know is CAGW is dangerous to our general well-being. it’s use-by date is long gone:
21 Feb: UK Daily Mail: Tamara Cohen:
Could Met Office have been more wrong? Just before floods, secret report told councils: Winter will be ‘drier than normal’ – especially in West Country!
Worst weather prediction since Michael Fish reassured the nation in October 1987 there was no hurricane on the way
Forecasters said the Somerset Levels and the rest of the West Country would be especially dry
Last night, it was confirmed the UK had instead suffered the wettest winter since records began
The three-month forecast, which a Met Office spokesman conceded was ‘experimental to some extent’, was given to councils, the Environment Agency and other contingency planners to tell them what they could expect from December to the end of this month.
The forecasters – using ‘cutting-edge science’ – assured councils there would be a ‘significant reduction in precipitation compared to average’ for most of the country, adding that there was only a 15 per cent chance the winter would fall into the ‘wettest category’…
The Met Office stopped publishing its long-range forecasts for the public to see in 2010, after its disastrous prediction of a ‘barbeque summer’ in 2009 – which ended in washouts throughout July and August.
The three-month forecasts are now sent only to contingency planners, such as councils, government departments, and insurance companies…
Using the Met Office’s super-computer, which can perform 100trillion calculations a second, experts in November predicted there would be high-pressure weather systems across Britain ‘with a slight signal for below average precipitation’…
A spokesman for the Met Office said: ‘Our short and medium-term forecasts are the ones relied on by emergency responders to help them manage the impacts of severe weather.
‘The Met Office’s five-day forecasts and severe weather warnings have provided excellent guidance throughout this period of exceptionally stormy and wet weather.’
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2564358/Could-Met-Office-wrong-Just-floods-secret-report-told-councils-Winter-drier-normal-especially-West-Country.html

Alec Evans

Weasel-word watch: in warmist publications – especially by the BBC – beware of any tricky sentences beginning with “as” or “with”.
Examples: “As temperatures continue to rise” or “With rainfall at record highs” etc.
This is an insidious way to tell lies without actually making a statement that is substantiated or could be actionable / objected to.
“As even more global warming campaigners are being strung up on lampposts…”

Patrick

10 species? 10 species???! Really? How many species of insects are there? We know flies can been drawn up into the upper atmosphere on currents, freeze, fall, unfreeze and start happily doing what they do. More utter rubbish from Autralian “scientists”. BAH!

Can’t say I ever noticed a shortage of insects when serving Her Majesty in warmer climes,whether desert or rain forest. Neither was there any shortage above the Arctic circle in the Swedish summer. Jim Steele, another scientist who’s made the transition from enthusiastic warmist to considered sceptic on the basis of observation of reality, covers the disappearance of insects from known habitats very well in “Landscapes and Cycles”, thoroughly debunking a paper similar in approach to the subject of this post. I wonder if the Lysenkists even considered his work?

Angela

“As climate change is progressing” What on earth does that mean? If you start with a false premise then all else is bunkum!

4TimesAYear

I thought infestations were carried in from other states…you know…like a certain video I watched recently that showed how certain kinds of mosquitoes are spreading due to sales of used tires. Likewise crossing state lines in certain plants…which is why there are restrictions. Where did these people get their education? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iZPkQWcRsI

Louis

“…our model therefore predicts that the distribution of these species will be reduced to less than half their present distribution.”
We can only hope that something will keep insects in check. Otherwise, as windmills and other “green energy” sources kill off large numbers of birds and bats, insects are likely to flourish.

Aussie Pete

Insects will go where the food is. Never seen a blowie put off attacking a dead cow by the odd the degree one way or the other. Strike me pink!! are these people serious?

Nigel S

Nurse! Nurse! The screens! (Sir Paul fruit fly and yeast expert)

Admad

From the Department Of Stating The Bleedin’ Obvious: “Thus, for a species to maintain its existence under varying temperature conditions there are two simple conditions that must be met. Firstly, the temperature should occasionally be such that the species can grow and reproduce, and secondly, the temperature must never be so extreme that the population’s survival is threatened.”
Glad to see the antipodean warmist loonies haven’t been too disheartened by Chris Turney’s exploits. Back in the real world, the university doesn’t have very far to look if they need to perform a bit of cost-cutting…

M Seward

Look this is just fantastic news for science, not only is global warming real and upsetting the poor innocent insects but we now have proof that the Magic Pudding* (sarc off) introduced to Australian children by the the wonderful Norman Lindsay (sarc back on) has been discovered to exist in the form of climate science and public funding thereof.
What with an aging population and how are we goping to fund pensions and retirem,ent etc, the answer is at hand. We can all retrain as climate scientists in our senior years and carry on into our dotage without a care in the world and lots of overseas trips to conferences. How many climate change refugee fleas can we absorb into our domestic canine population? Who knows but it will keep a bunch of climate scientists busy for years.
* The Magic Pudding was one which no matter how much was eaten it regenerated or was otherwise endless.

Dubya G

I figure my bug spray does far more damage to the insects than global warming ever will. If the climate changes that much, it is the manufacturers of fly sprays that will suffer the most.
“Global Warming causes unemployment at chemical spray companies”.

Oldseadog

They have done only half of the study because they have assumed that temperatures are going to go up.
What about the possibility that temperatures will go down?
Oh, of course, they need more money to do the other half of the experiments and make a new model. I suppose it keeps them off the street corners.

Jer0me

Plenty of insects here in tropical Australia, mate. May that pesky CAGW that caused me to move to the tropics in the first place kill a few off, please?

izen

I think that the confidence that many posters express here in the ability of evolution to adapt to the changing climate is well founded. Only a small proportion of the insect population became extinct with the ice-age to interstadial transition.
However insect ecology is usually closely linked to the plant species they interact with. The insects will follow the plants and as growth and hardiness regions change with climate warming the insects will follow.
http://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/blogs/climate-change-gives-gardeners-new-options
The other problem is that international trade enables tropical insects previously confined to a specific region on one continent the opportunity to invade globally where there may not be the natural predation to control them. Local species can then be wiped out by competition from fitter foreign insects.

Lawrie Ayres

That research that found left wingers lack the logic gene has been confirmed yet again. It is a worrying time for the left in Australia. The new government is determined to cut spending and some of those cuts will fall on such things as the dubious research associated with AGW. Don’t forget these so called scientists are facing many years of unemployment.

urederra

Since this study is based on a model, I guess the results are only valid for spherical insects that reproduce in the vacuum.

hunter

Well that is interesting. The actual points of the study- it is not average temperatures that kill the insects, but ‘extreme’ events that do.
So we can now see that once again skeptics were right on that point:
The small actual changes in temperatures that AGW represents are not killing the environment.
So we are left with so-called ‘extreme’ events.
And an honest review of so-called ‘extreme’ events shows they are not increasing significantly.
Yet the study promoters and those who reported on the study imply the opposite.
What is it about anything touching climate that inspires AGW promoters and believers to mislead people?

As many have pointed out, this is another example of horrific “science” that infests what passes for climate science today. I believe a decent statistician could spend an entire chapter on what is wrong with this “study” in his/her new book “Big Fat Liars, and the Statistical Lies they Tell”. (a book that needs to be written by the way)
The point that I would make however, is that the process of evolution whereby species adapt to changing conditions seems to have been totally overlooked in the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming fairy tale. Darwin, call your office!

KNR

Models and guesswork all the way , and in the end what do they show . That AGW ‘research’ bucket is still deep and well filled and that there are still plenty of people happy to dip into and feed ‘the cause ‘ no matter how poor the science.

Bloke down the pub

Correct me if I’m wrong someone, but aren’t fruit flies used in lab experiments by real scientists, specifically because they adapt readily to change and therefore make suitable topics for genetic study?

urederra

Bloke down the pub says:
February 21, 2014 at 2:45 am
Correct me if I’m wrong someone, but aren’t fruit flies used in lab experiments by real scientists, specifically because they adapt readily to change and therefore make suitable topics for genetic study?

Not sure about that. My impression was that they were used mostly because of the short life span and because they were easy to grow. Now there are other models more suitable for genetic studies. Arabidopsis thaliana and Echerichia coli are the preferred species right now. And one fish which I cannot recall its name.

urederra

Izen says:
“…adapt to the changing climate…”
The climate is always changing. Always has, always will. Furthermore, there is nothing happening now that is either unusual, or unprecedented. Everything currently being observed has happened before, and to a much greater degree.
Now, you were saying… ?

pat

20 Feb: BBC: Marshall Islands: Islands ‘grow back’ after Pacific storm
A powerful typhoon in 1905 killed all but two inhabitants of the Nadikdik Atoll – part of the Marshall Islands – and washed away most of the islands’ landmass. But the islands seem to have re-established themselves – one has become a fully vegetated, stable island again – while several smaller islands have reappeared and formed into a single, larger landmass, the New Zealand Herald reports…
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-26275034

As soon as I saw the words “our models…” I knew that it was all bogus. It’s models all the way down, nothing but models. Does anyone do observational / experimental research anymore?

wayne Job

As an Aussie I can only apologise for the quality of the so called scientific studies emanating from my fair land. Recently we have changed direction, the last administration funded this cr#p.
It is our hope that our research in the future will be less inane, I was led to believe that fruit flies were the domain of Dr Suzuki. I do feel some what ashamed that Australia has produced so many
self serving idiots in such a short span of time.
But the times they are a changing.

BioBob

Yep, this one ranks right up there along with “Expect Smaller Brains with Global Warming” by Dr. Ellen Weber …. which, of course, is the cause of all that follows !!
http://www.brainbasedbusiness.com/2007/03/expect_smaller_brains.html

Bob Layson

Every variation is a change but not every change is a variation. How can one tell the novel from the old and familiar in new guises? That’s the enigma.
So-called ‘climate change’ could simply be the same old physical system doing a not at all unprecedented thing. (The physical system that is land, Moon, Sun, sea and air has known far greater levels of CO2 before – as have the species now living)

I wonder if Ixodes hard-bodied ticks might not exhaust the AGW econauts supply of adhockeries. The ticks have a wonderfully complicated lifecycle that is precisely synchronized across generation of four stages, while being capable of moving only a few meters on their own.

Alberta Slim

Warning from Canada……………
David Suzuki got his PhD. on fruit flies.
Expect copius ranting and raving from him once he sees this.
Also, more charge against certain individual of “Crimes against Humanity”

richard

oh another study that uses , may, might or could.
“Fruit flies have been the model for a study that has shown how climate change may affect insect distribution in the future”
In the mad. mad, mad, world of climate change you can say anything you like in a study with might , may or could. It’s how the advertising industry works, making claims on products without actually having to be correct by using weasily words.
My study showed that climbing ladders in the future may cause more injuries to climate change.

richard

more injuries due to climate change

Jimbo

It is therefore the extreme weather events, such as heat waves or extremely cold conditions, which costs the insects their life, not an increase in average temperature.

Can I call this obvious? For example human heatwave deaths at 47C, hypothermia deaths at -10C as opposed to a temperature rise from 18C up to 25C.