As fall and spring temperatures rise, animals will increasingly have to deal with rapid "snap freezes."
As worldwide temperatures rise and the earth sees extreme weather conditions in both summer and winter, a team of researchers with the University of Florida and Kansas State University have found that that there is potential for insects - and possibly other animals - to acclimate and rapidly evolve in the face of this current climate change.
“Organisms can deal with these stressful transitions from warm to cold by either acclimating - think about dogs putting on their winter coats - or by populations genetically evolving to deal with new stresses, a phenomenon known as rapid climate adaptation,” said Alison Gerken, a post-doctoral associate with UF’s Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and the lead author of a new study, published this month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
While much of the emphasis regarding climate change is on overall warming, increased frequency of extreme weather events is also a critical concern. As fall and spring temperatures rise, animals will increasingly have to deal with rapid changes from warm conditions to dangerously cold temperatures as weather fronts sweep through. These “snap freeze” events threaten a variety of plants from agricultural crops to landscaping that are damaged and animals like insects, frogs, and even sea turtles that can suffer from cold.
Using fruit flies, Gerken and her team have described the genetic architecture for both long-term acclimation, as would be needed to prepare for the transition from summer to winter, and short-term acclimation, which could occur over a single day with a snap freeze. They have shown that there is substantial genetic variation in nature for both long-term seasonal acclimation and short-term acclimation associated with rapid extreme weather events.
“The ability to respond to longer-term seasonal changes does not impede the ability to respond to rapid changes associated with short-term extreme cold events,” said Daniel Hahn, associate professor of insect physiology with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Department of Entomology and Nematology. “We have identified a series of about 100 candidate genes that could explain the ability of animals to rapidly respond to fluctuating temperatures.”
“Identifying which of these candidate genes actually causes variation in responses to cold snaps will give us the potential to understand whether evolution to climate change can occur in both wild and domesticated animals, allowing us to better predict which species or breeds will be “winners” and “losers” and to better mitigate the effects of anthropogenic climate change on a wide range of organisms from beneficial pollinators to invasive pests,” said Theodore Morgan an associate professor of evolutionary genetics in the Division of Biology at Kansas State University and senior author of the study.
Gerken, Hahn, and Morgan say identifying the genes involved in acclimation to temperature and the genetic relationship between long-term and short-term acclimation provides us with new tools to predict the impacts of an increased frequency of extreme events as a by-product of anthropogenic climate change on animal and plant populations.
Other researchers include Olivia Eller of Kansas State University.
Their research can be found online at http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/03/23/1503456112.full.pdf
Source: Alison R. Gerken, 352-273-7494, firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Hahn, 352-273-3968, email@example.com
Kim Moore Wilmoth | newswise
New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine