Aussie Climate Scientists Discover Natural Selection

Female common bluetail damselfly. Taken in Swifts Creek, Victoria

Female common bluetail damselfly. Taken in Swifts Creek, Victoria. By Taken byfir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.auCanon 20D + Sigma 150mm f/2.8 + Canon MT 24-EXOwn work, GFDL 1.2, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Australian scientists have discovered that Damselflies which are better at surviving a warmer climate pass their genetic advantages on to their offspring. But they recommend more studies to determine whether other species are capable of adapting to changed conditions.

Are damselflies in distress?

How are insects responding to rapid climate change?

Damselflies are evolving rapidly as they expand their range in response to a warming climate, according to new research led by Macquarie University researchers in Sydney.

Genes that influence heat tolerance, physiology, and even vision are giving them evolutionary options to help them cope with climate change. Other insects may not be so lucky,” says Dr Rachael Dudaniec, lead author of the paper.

The study, published in Molecular Ecology today, investigated the genetics of an insect’s capacity to adapt and survive in a changing world by looking at the blue-tailed damselfly (Ischnura elegans) in Sweden.

“Damselflies, like other aquatic insects, are faced with a dilemma given the current and unprecedented rate of global warming,” says Rachael.

“Either they perish, move elsewhere or adapt to the new environmental conditions. It’s a classic case of fight or flight.”

But, she warns, this is certainly not the case for all species.

Our research highlights the need to further investigate how different species will cope with climate change,” says Rachael.

Read more: https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/sip-adi042918.php

The abstract of the study;

Signatures of local adaptation along environmental gradients in a range‐expanding damselfly (Ischnura elegans)

Rachael Y. Dudaniec Chuan Ji Yong Lesley T. Lancaster Erik I. Svensson Bengt Hansson

First published: 29 April 2018

Insect distributions are shifting rapidly in response to climate change and are undergoing rapid evolutionary change. We investigate the molecular signatures underlying local adaptation in the range‐expanding damselfly, Ischnura elegans. Using a landscape genomic approach combined with generalized dissimilarity modelling (GDM), we detect selection signatures on loci via allelic frequency change along environmental gradients. We analyse 13,612 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), derived from Restriction site‐Associated DNA sequencing (RADseq), in 426 individuals from 25 sites spanning the I. elegans distribution in Sweden, including its expanding northern range edge. Environmental association analysis (EAA) and the magnitude of allele frequency change along the range expansion gradient revealed significant signatures of selection in relation to high maximum summer temperature, high mean annual precipitation, and low wind speeds at the range edge. SNP annotations with significant signatures of selection revealed gene functions associated with ongoing range expansion, including heat shock proteins (HSP40 and HSP70), ion transport (V‐ATPase) and visual processes (long wavelength‐sensitive opsin), which have implications for thermal stress response, salinity tolerance and mate discrimination, respectively. We also identified environmental thresholds where climate‐mediated selection is likely to be strong, and indicate that I. elegans is rapidly adapting to the climatic environment during its ongoing range expansion. Our findings empirically validate an integrative approach for detecting spatially explicit signatures of local adaptation along environmental gradients.

Read more: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/mec.14709

What a surprising development – who would have thought that species subject to selection pressure would simply evolve new survival strategies?

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RH

Just another example of how scientists of all types need to roll “climate change” into their work in order to get funded.

Even so, how did she get a species adapting paper published?

RH

I forget which blog or vlog i saw it, but a scientist used this example: If a biologist wants to study how squirrels hide their nuts, he’ll never get funded. But, if he studies how climate change is affecting the way squirrels hide their nuts, he will find lots of funding. I did some googling to find this reference, but failed. I did find this though, which amplifies the point.
https://academic.oup.com/jmammal/article/94/3/683/839882

RH, Good point. The next step after a study is to do another study which concludes that “It is worse than previously thought”.

Re: RH and squirrels…
I think I found your reference.
https://www.iceagenow.info/fraud-man-made-climate-change-co2-video/#comment-391844
Next time use duckduckgo instead of Google.
https://duckduckgo.com

s-t

“It is worse than previously thought”.
Insects are adapting to changing environment better than we expected, which is bad, because there is no crisis to talk about now.

RH

Unknown, that wasn’t the reference I was thinking of. That commentary was last month. I heard the squirrel reference many years ago. Still, it adds to the point.

Hivemind

It was years ago, and the reference was to studying squirrels in New York Park.

Ron Long

Says it all RH! Rachael, instead of more research why don’t you get a copy of Darwin’s “Voyage of the Beagle” and read it. You might even get a hint of what Molecular Ecology means.

Caligula Jones

Actually, continually getting funded for being so often wrong would also be an example of natural selection.
See also: celebrities…

Kristi Silber

RH,
“Just another example of how scientists of all types need to roll “climate change” into their work in order to get funded.”
This is such a foolish remark! Regardless of the increased chances of funding for climate change projects, many researchers actually care about the effects and think they important to study.
Scientists of many types, including evolutionary biologists, know it is essential to study how organisms are responding to changing climate. You fail to see the message here: climate change is causing evolutionary change. It’s no surprise at all to see that organisms adapt, especially ones that are increasing their ranges. But not all organisms will be equally able to adapt at a rate that allows them to flourish, and some may not even persist. The effects are seldom going to be immediately obvious. Some species will do better, some worse, that’s a given.

Walter Horsting

I would worry more about global cooling than warming…https://youtu.be/u081u7Wdf5M

kokoda - AZEK (Deck Boards) doesn't stand behind its product

“How are insects responding to rapid climate change?”
Assuming the use of ‘climate change’ refers to Global Warming, there hasn’t been any rapid warming.
Why would anyone read any further?

Latitude

What rapid climate change?……so far there’s nothing out of the ordinary going on

Latitude

Climate scientists see this……a hyper inflated graph made to look as scary as possiblecomment image

Latitude

Bugs deal in reality….this is what a bug seescomment image

Walter Sobchak

A correct graph would be in Kelvin, show 0K (Absolute Zero), and error bars. On such a graph, the fluctuations in Latitude’s graph are just a little fuzz on top.

JimG1

My favorite chart!

Latitude

If you show the graph in fahrenheit someone knocks it for not being in celsius…. show it in celsius, someone wants it in fahrenheit….show it in either…and someone wants kelvin
…and totally deflects from bugs don’t care

Walter Sobchak

Lattitude I do not disagree with you . All I am pointing out is that if the second graph were a proper display (i.e. with a true thermodynamic zero, i.e. 0K, and error bars). It would show how trivial the fluctuations, that are basis of the warmista’s case, really are.

I show people the beginning and ending temperatures of that graph on a 3 meter bamboo rod, with 1K = 1cm. It shocks the living #$%@ out of people. I have the bamboo right here in my living room. It’s super fun.

Walter Sobchak

Max: please send as photo of it.

MarkW

The problem with that chart is that the difference between having the planet too hot to support life, and too cold to support life would barely show up.

Ian Magness

“Damselflies, like other aquatic insects, are faced with a dilemma given the current and unprecedented rate of global warming,”
Total bullshit and you don’t need to read further to prove it.
If there is a single study, carried out over a sufficient amount of time (which must well exceed 30 years for reasons that readers of this site will understand) that proves that the population fluctuations, ranges etc of a single insect species are down to our “unprecedented” “changing climate”, I would love to see it. As ever with these studies, however, all we see is modelling and supposition based on very limited data and often ignoring all of the non-temperature environmental factors, such as habitat change.
Just for the record, the local nature group in the south east of England that I have been associated with for over 20 years does note the odonata populations and, as with butterflies and other insects, we see significant annual fluctuations in populations but no medium or long term trends where environmental factors remain the same. Short-term weather effects (such as created by the present cold spring), yes. Longer-term climate effects, not at all.

TA

Ian, you said it all for me. Especially your first sentence.
Unprecedented warming is total BS. These people are assuming facts not in evidence. I guess they get paid to do that.

Kristi Silber

Ian,
” we see significant annual fluctuations in populations but no medium or long term trends where environmental factors remain the same.”
But do you, “analyse 13,612 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), derived from Restriction site‐Associated DNA sequencing (RADseq), in 426 individuals from 25 sites”?
I suggest that before you attack this research, you read and understand it fully. If you have done so already, I apologize for assuming you haven’t, but your remarks suggest it.
It may well be that Sweden is experiencing different changes than England. How did you analyze your data to look at long-term climate change?

Peter Morris

“It’s a classic case of fight or flight.”
What an embarrassing thing for a scientist to say. Perhaps she’s being metaphorical, but in the context it doesn’t come across that way.
Fight or flight is an in-the-moment autonomic response to a stimulus. It’s got nothing to do with adaptation.

Joe Wagner

Buzz-word Bingo at its finest.

Hivemind

How does obvious garbage like this get past peer review?

Bill Murphy

Exactly my first thought. And this person claims to be a biologist yet is totally clueless to what the “Fight or Flight” reflex is. Of course on whatever planet she’s talking about that has a “current and unprecedented rate of global warming” maybe she’s right. But that’s not any planet I’ve ever been to.

Kristi Silber

Peter –
Metaphor. Although the “classic case” is weird. It’s like someone saying, “literally…” when it’s no such thing. But fight or flight is SO basic, no evolutionary biologist could not know what it means.
Hivemind –
Press release, not peer review.

Edwin

Who would have thought that animals and plants might adapt to changing climate, most especially insects? (HA!) Insect species are remarkable and most adaptable survivors. Like microorganisms insects are basically “designed” or evolved to adapt genetically. Example, tobacco bud worm had fed almost solely on tobacco prior to the advent and wide use of modern pesticides. One might say it came already adapted to dealing with very toxic compounds, i.e., nicotine. By the 1960s they had crossed over to also feeding on cotton and other crops. Before the development of BT cotton, danged evil GMO, it was almost impossible to any longer grow cotton in the SE USA. All the insect pests of cotton, especially tobacco bud worm, had developed resistance to every class of pesticides. Ironically one must today also grow non-BT cotton to maintain the “proper” genetic diversity in cotton pests so BT cotton actually works.

Bill Murphy

All very true. In my short (25 year) career in agricultural pest control I watched insects adapt to all types of attempted control strategies. One popular carbamate insecticide went from over 99% effective at 1/4 lb/acre to only marginally effective at a full 1 lb/acre in those years. The same with ovacides, pheromones, and various types of rotation and cultural practices. Insects adapt. Quickly and effectively to environmental changes far, far more severe than a degree or two of climate change.

Stonyground

“But, she warns, this is certainly not the case for all species.”
I think that she will find that it is. That is the way that they became species in the first place.

Walter Sobchak

Maybe she is a creationist.

s-t

How many people embraced “evolution theory”(*) just to annoy Christians?
(*) whatever the “theory” is, it seems to be fluid, like gender)

Hivemind

What she means, basically, is “send more money.”

Kristi Silber

Stonyground,
What? They became species because they had the evolutionary capacity to adapt to climate change?
(Note that press releases are often excerpted here, and that you may not be getting the full picture.)

Given the number of different bugs in the world that should guarantee a few centuries worth of grants to keep these guys and gals occupied.
Speaking of damsel flies, the finest fishing experience I ever had was capturing some of them, and using them for bait at high mountain lakes in the Marble Mountain Wilderness Area back in the 1970s. I would grab a handful of loose soil or sand to knock them to the ground, and alive. I then tied them onto the line with the hook dangling under their head. Then a 3 or 4 foot lead, and a gentle cast out. The stronger ones could even hover over the water after all of that. And Boom, a trout leaping out of the water to take the damsel fly in midair. Beautiful.

tty

“Given the number of different bugs in the world that should guarantee a few centuries worth of grants to keep these guys and gals occupied.”
A lot more than that. There are about 400,000 known species of beetles alone, and probable at least as many that haven’t been described yet.

JimG1

Ironic how those who push the concept that evolution can explain how single cell organisms eventually evolved into people through adaption and mutation, even new species from unrelated species, even life from non living chemical ‘soups’, find it surprising that bugs can adapt to different temperatures!

Curious George

Ecologists rediscover evolution. Or maybe discover.

s-t

Also, men are taller than women because men used to eat almost all the meat at some time. Nothing to do with anything similar in monkeys.
Very popular idea on France TV Info (which is yet another state controlled French TV channel).
For now, France has less state TV channels than China. But all private TV channels reproduce the exact same “Macron is our savior” soup so they might as well be public.
Macron is sooo right wing he might create yet another state controlled channel! Or just make a law to control all “private” channels even more, to avoid another “fake news” (rumor) about him being gay.

TheLastDemocrat

Right-wingers create state-run media to control what people known and believe?
Um, like my young boy, I think you are getting your Left and Right mixed up.

s-t

Macron is “right” … compared to François Mitterrand.

Climate change is now ‘rapid’ – and that is compared to what, exactly?

Steve Lohr

I have big problems with using terms like “dilemma” and “strategy” when offering a discussion about species adaptation. There are no meetings among species to make choices. There is no species board of directors. There are no species commanders. Natural selection is more like throwing a rock in a stream. The water will go to one side or the other, or over it, under it, or it will stop the flow altogether. Probably this is an imperfect analogy but that is the way I see it. It is mindless and somewhat fatalistic I suppose, but I think that is the way it works.

s-t

“There is no species board of directors.”
If there was, most would be extinct by now.

Mark Webb

You cannot possibly know how little I care….

MarkW

Adapt or Die, it’s been reality for life since it first emerged in the ancient oceans a couple of billion years ago.
Why anyone would think it stopped during the last century is beyond me.

John Bell

Is Australia really becoming more dry or wet or hot or cold, or is it just their imaginations running away with them?

tty

Australia is becoming drier and wetter and hotter and colder all the time. That is how weather works there.

Hivemind

It doesn’t work that way down here any more. Not since the greens passed a law that said the climate isn’t allowed to change, ever.

Smart Rock

Insect distributions are shifting rapidly in response to climate change and are undergoing rapid evolutionary change.

Climate is changing, and has been doing so very dramatically during the current ice age with its rapidly alternating glacials and interglacials (did previous ice ages alternate like that? I don’t think anyone knows, or even that it’s possible to know).
How to handle changing climate? A species can migrate, or it can evolve to handle a changed climate. Some species, like the insects under discussion, are lucky enough to do both. Other species did one or the other. Still other species turned out not to be able to do either. They went extinct!
Reading the abstract (or what little I can understand of it) this paper looks like a thoroughly decent piece of evolutionary molecular genetics research. A couple of very mild allusions to climate change are obligatory to ensure continued funding. The news release is a different story and is designed only to capture peoples’ attention with the usual buzzwords like “unprecedented rate of global warming”
Putting out news releases when a paper is published is part of a trend that includes corporatization of universities, and it feels vaguely unhealthy to this outdated geologist who has a bit of difficulty with the 21st century.

tty

“did previous ice ages alternate like that? I don’t think anyone knows, or even that it’s possible to know”
At least the Carboniferous-Permian ice age apparently did. The characteristic cyclothems in Carboniferous Coal Measures are probably due to glacial/interglacial cycling

beng135

Looks like Aussie “scientists” are frivolously wasting money just like US “scientists”.

ResourceGuy

I guess this helps explain how you got museums full of nothing but religious artworks at times in human history. You either conformed or you never got counted or credited.

tty

Remember: virtually every species of animal or plant in existence has managed to adapt to repeated abrupt shifts from glacial to interglacial conditions. If they hadn’t been able to they wouldn’t be around. Have a look at this diagram:comment image
Each squiggle is an ice age/interglacial cycle. About 50 of them in the last 2.5 million years.

Another blatant waste of research funds.
A) These researchers do DNA research on modern families of insects that originate 250 millions of years ago.

“The study, published in Molecular Ecology today, investigated the genetics of an insect’s capacity to adapt and survive in a changing world by looking at the blue-tailed damselfly (Ischnura elegans) in Sweden.
“Damselflies, like other aquatic insects, are faced with a dilemma given the current and unprecedented rate of global warming,” says Rachael.
“Either they perish, move elsewhere or adapt to the new environmental conditions. It’s a classic case of fight or flight.”
The researchers tracked the frequency of particular genes in the damselfly population as environmental conditions–such as temperature, rainfall, wind speed and tree cover– changed over their range.
They found that the species’ genes strongly responded to changes in the environment as you moved from the southern core of the species’ distribution to the northern edge of their current range.”

Just how many damselflies did they sample?
How many of those samples were from each stage of a ‘Ischnura elegans’ life cycle?
Did these researchers ever wonder whether damselfly survival might be inherent on mass damselfly hatching, migration and molt?
Instead, they decide what they are going to discover, sample a small population for DNA samples, and declare their prejudices. Along with amazing claims for an insect whose range is from the Atlantic, around the Mediterraneum, across Asia and Russia to the Pacific Ocean.
Then they go on to infer that other, untested, life forms might not adapt so well. A statement that by itself proves beyond any doubt these researchers are not scientists, nor are they conducting science.

Kristi Silber

ATheoK
So now you are a geneticist? How do you know that “426 individuals from 25 sites spanning the I. elegans distribution in Sweden, including its expanding northern range edge. ” is too small a sample to see patterns?
“How many of those samples were from each stage of a ‘Ischnura elegans’ life cycle?
“Did these researchers ever wonder whether damselfly survival might be inherent on mass damselfly hatching, migration and molt?”
These questions demonstrate that you have no idea what the researchers were looking at. It makes no difference to DNA data what life cycle they were in. So who are you to judge their work or the necessity of it?
“Then they go on to infer that other, untested, life forms might not adapt so well. A statement that by itself proves beyond any doubt these researchers are not scientists, nor are they conducting science.”
Maybe it’s just a measure of their expertise in the area that they can make such a statement, expertise which is certainly far greater than yours. To me, your statements “prove beyond any doubt” that you are very eager to dismiss the ability of scientists.

Ah yes, a typical ignorati alarmist response.

“Kristi Silber (KS) May 3, 2018 at 1:16 am
ATheoK
So now you are a geneticist? How do you know that “426 individuals from 25 sites spanning the I. elegans distribution in Sweden, including its expanding northern range edge. ” is too small a sample to see patterns?”

1) KS starts it’s response with pure ad hominem coupled with the “Argumentum ad Ignorantiam: (appeal to ignorance)” logical fallacy. i.e. specious claims based on KS’s own ignorance.
2) Note KS’s “pea under the shell” switch where she claims 426 samples from 25 sites represents all possible “Ischnura elegans” populations from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean, Atlantic Ocean across Europe and Asia to Japan’s Pacific east coast. Whether swamp, brackish water, river, lake, pond, puddle, stream, reservoir, near Arctic, Meditteranean, Switzerland, Urals, Himalayas, S.E. Asia, etc. etc. etc.
Ks morphs that intimation into a genetic science claim and allegedly a comprehensive representative genetic sample “to see patterns”.
– a) KS’s phrasing intimates that 426 samples from 25 sites as sufficiently large to establish “genetic science”.
That achievement is roughly equivalent to “when pigs fly”, “H_ll freezes” and “alarmists learn science and mathematics”
• Perhaps KS will divulge exactly what statistics were used for this research?
• While KS is about it, KS can also define which DNA sequences were used, and the differences that were identified?
• How those DNA sequences proved any relation to “climate change”, Any guesses on statistics machinations?
• Exactly where Dr Rachael Dudaniec, established a “control population” of ‘Ischnura elegans’ representing trillions of damselflies, that allowed them to calculate the full ‘Ischnura elegans’ genome and how they know that genome is stable?
• Perhaps KS will explain how 426 samples from 25 locations forms genetic science?
Since National Geographic initiated their Genographic DNA project is 2005, with over three quarters of a million individuals over the entire world; they have yet to establish a stable or normal human genome example. Which caused and continues to cause frequent changes to allegedly established DNA references.
Yet, KS insists that a paltry 426 samples from 25 locations is sufficient to represent a population of ‘Ischnura elegans’ that is far larger than Earth’s human population.

“Kristi Silber May 3, 2018 at 1:16 am
ATheoK: “How many of those samples were from each stage of a ‘Ischnura elegans’ life cycle?
“Did these researchers ever wonder whether damselfly survival might be inherent on mass damselfly hatching, migration and molt?”
These questions demonstrate that you have no idea what the researchers were looking at. It makes no difference to DNA data what life cycle they were in. So who are you to judge their work or the necessity of it?”

Again, KS opens with ad hominem coupled to the “Argumentum ad Ignorantiam false premise.
Additionally, KS demonstrates incredible ignorance regarding animals, insects, wildlife, evolution, populations, etc; along with KS’s fatuous pretense to deep extensive scientific knowledge.
Ks ignores that insect populations hatching millions of individuals that proceed through multiple transformations over a two year life cycle, there are many opportunities for currently advantaged population members to progress.
What KS is performing is called “hand waving”. Pure distraction, zero knowledge used, displayed or contributed.

“Kristi Silber May 3, 2018 at 1:16 am
ATheoK :“Then they go on to infer that other, untested, life forms might not adapt so well. A statement that by itself proves beyond any doubt these researchers are not scientists, nor are they conducting science.”
Maybe it’s just a measure of their expertise in the area that they can make such a statement, expertise which is certainly far greater than yours. To me, your statements “prove beyond any doubt” that you are very eager to dismiss the ability of scientists.”

The question I asked, regarding an alleged researcher’s immense leaps from speculation to assumption to predictions; is utterly ignored by KS.
In their response, KS again uses “Argumentum ad Ignorantiam”; in this example knowledge is assumed from a complete absence of knowledge. Neither KS or the researcher knows, but they include the statement anyway; inferring an irrational precautionary fable
KS’s final sentence can now be placed in perspective: “To me, your statements “prove beyond any doubt” that you are very eager to dismiss the ability of scientists”.
A tactic called projection; where KS assigns to others exactly the tact KS performs in their comments.
In their alleged response to my comment, KS provided zero knowledge. Well, perhaps that 426 damsel fly individuals from 25 locations provided the DNA.
Since, I did not locate the fake research; not that I tried very hard.
Throughout KS’s comment, it tried to swamp the comment through ad hominems and assumptions based on ignorance.
Back in 1978 a paper was produced, “Towards a Realistic Predator-Prey Model: The Effect of Temperature on the Functional Response and Life History of Larvae of the Damselfly, Ischnura elegans”comment image?dl=0
Odd, the paper does not mention climate change.
Instead, it is well known that ‘Ischnura elegans’ thrives in many types of water over a very wide range of temperatures.
Apparently the main requirement for ‘Ischnura elegans’ populations is that the water be slow moving or still; which includes brackish swamps and bays through puddles, ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, reservoirs, etc.

BallBounces

Scientists adapt to funding requirements. Someone should do a paper on this.

TheLastDemocrat

I have not read the article. But this looks like it may be suffering from the problem of false-positives.
Test a bunch of genes -er, really we meant alleles – in a population with short life spans, and find a few that happen to covary with some environmental change – or more than one change –
You will eventually find the prevalence of some alleles changing in lock-step with change in some environmental parameter.

peter9381

The article only talks about allele frequency change, climate-mediated selection, climatic adaption, local adaption and distribution shifts. These are all examples of natural selection, not evolution. No genetic change or added functionality was observed or recorded.
The genetic variation will allow some of the insects to survive better in a hotter climate but there are fixed bounds, these insects will never survive at temperatures of 60DegC or -10DegC.
To summarise, some of the insects survive greater termperature variation than others. Yawn.

ozspeaksup

pity they didnt study aussie dragonflies.
our areas lakes were dustbowls until about 3 yrs ago when we finally got enough rains for more than one yr allowing them finally to soak water in and hold a base again.so from 93 or so onwards either small muddy patches in middle for s few weeks then huge dried cracked n split beds growing weeds.until 2016
when we had our Henley on Wallace event the fire brigade had to be there after the fireworks to put the fires out IN the lakebed;-)
the amount of pre pupae stage dragonfly that appeared and crawled up to attach to the jetty piers was huge, wood was covered in these weird ugly lumpy things.
the yabbies also estivate and came back in plentiful numbers.
Id like to slap these daft twits upside the head for wasting time n money!

Kristi Silber

Seems to me from the comments here that a lot of people don’t understand much about this study or what it is saying, but they sure think they do!