Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Commonly used herbicides seen as threat to endangered butterflies

08.03.2012
Lange's metalmark has implications for other species
A Washington State University toxicologist has found that three commonly used herbicides can dramatically reduce butterfly populations.

The research was aimed at possible effects on the Lange's metalmark, an endangered species in northern California, but it has implications for other at-risk and endangered butterflies wherever herbicides are used, says John Stark, an ecotoxicologist and director of the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center.

Stark and his colleagues tested triclopyr, sethoxydim and imazapyr on butterfly larvae at the request of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which uses the herbicides to maintain habitat for the Lange's metalmark in its last habitat, the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge in northern California. The researchers used the Behr's metalmark as a proxy for the Lange's metalmark, whose endangered status precludes using it for tests.

The researchers found adult numbers of the Behr's metalmark butterfly dropped by one-fourth to more than one-third when their larvae were exposed to regularly applied rates of the herbicides.

In a small population of endangered animals, says Stark, "any kind of reduction like that is going to be a problem."

While the dunes may have harbored 25,000 Lange's metalmarks 50 to 100 years ago, damage to the dunes reduced the population to 5,000 by 1972 and as low as 45 in 2006.

Key to the butterfly's survival is the naked stem buckwheat plant, which is easily overgrown by the non-native plants ripgut brome, vetch and yellow starthistle.

Refuge managers have tried to weed by hand but the process risks disturbing the buckwheat plants and butterfly eggs and larvae. And when the refuge managers started spraying the plants with herbicides, they noticed the butterfly populations were dropping even more, says Stark.

The study, funded by the Fish and Wildlife Service and published in the journal Environmental Pollution, is one of the first to document the effects of herbicides on butterflies. Several studies have shown herbicides can adversely affect animal life, even though they are designed to kill plants.

Each of the three herbicides in the Stark study operate differently, leading the researchers to think butterflies are being affected by inert ingredients or an effect on the butterflies' food source.

John Stark | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wsu.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>