The temperature determines the day winter moths hatch out and that temperature sensitivity is hereditary. Through selection only the most adjusted eggs remain, meaning those that nowadays hatch at the same time as the oak buds burst – as young oak leaves are their food source. Such research should be undertaken for more species to improve the predictions of climate-change consequences.
Since the climate pattern in winter and spring is changing, already for some 35 years, the winter moth hatched earlier and earlier. In warm years part of the caterpillars even appeared before the oak leaves did. Young oak leaves are the food source for this species’ caterpillars and without them they die within days. The winter moth reacted too sharply on climate change in the Netherlands. Now it is found out that they are able to adjust to their new situation, so to their new climate. They did just that during the last ten years. NIOO ecologist Margriet van Asch explains: “At the same temperature eggs now hatch five to ten days later. The result is that they are again better synchronized with the oak leaves.”
Van Asch and colleagues researched the winter moth in nature and in climate rooms, under normal and under raised temperatures. This way, they can predict how these moths will adapt to the changing climate. “This change can not only be witnessed in our experiments, but also in the woods outside,” Van Asch reveals. “What makes them able to adjust, is the presence of sufficient genetic variation in ‘egg hatching moment’ within the moth population.”
The winter moth appears to cope with restricted climate change. This species adjusts quickly enough when compared to one of the moderate climate scenarios. “But we have to collect the same sort of information for other species and ecosystems,” argues project leader Marcel Visser. “Only then we can state by how many degrees the temperature may change without causing serious problems. This will give politicians something to base their target on, instead of that arbitrary 2 degrees Celsius warming.”
The winter moth Operophtera brumata lives in the woods. There they form a major food source for many songbirds like great tit and pied flycatcher. But these birds still have a problem. Their food source may be able to adjust and consequently survive in higher numbers, but they cannot. The caterpillars still peak earlier than their chicks and climate-induced asynchrony is still the reality for these birds.
This part of the winter moth project is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.
The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) studies the ecology of land, freshwater and brackish and seawater. The Centre for Terrestrial Ecology studies life on land. The NIOO employs about 250 people and is the largest research institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science (KNAW).
Froukje Rienks | alfa
Minimized water consumption in CSP plants - EU project MinWaterCSP is making good progress
05.12.2017 | Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum
Jena Experiment: Loss of species destroys ecosystems
28.11.2017 | Technische Universität München
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."
Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
05.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Life Sciences
08.12.2017 | Information Technology
08.12.2017 | Information Technology