Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Some Ohio butterflies threatened by rising temperatures

02.05.2014

Heat of climate change, roads and buildings likely to harm several species

The combined heat from climate change and urbanization is likely to reduce the number of eastern swallowtails and other native butterflies in Ohio and promote the spread of invasive relatives, a new study led by a Case Western Reserve University researcher shows.

Among 20 species monitored by the Ohio Lepidopterists society, eight showed significant delays in important early lifecycle events when the two factors were combined—a surprising response that may render the eight unfit for parts of the state where they now thrive.

Butterflies serve as important indicator species for how the broader ecosystem might be impacted, the researchers say. They are pursuing further studies to learn whether the negative impacts on multiple species add up to cause disruptions to the environment.

Other studies have shown that butterflies respond to higher temperatures due either to climate change or turning farmland and forests into asphalt and concrete by first appearing—and reaching peak numbers—earlier in the year.

"But when you combine the effects, it sort of throws a wrench in how you predict species' responses," said Sarah Diamond, an assistant professor of biology at Case Western Reserve and lead author of the study, now online in the journal Ecology at http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/13-1848.1.

The findings, the researchers say, may be useful to predict effects of environmental changes over the next decades and develop strategies to respond, and can likely be applied worldwide

Diamond worked with Heather Cayton, Tyson Wepprich, Clinton Jenkins, Rob Dunn and Nick Haddad of the department of biological sciences at North Carolina State University; and Leslie Ries, of the biology department at the University of Maryland.

The study

Researchers analyzed 13 years of butterfly monitoring records by lepidopterists society volunteers at 83 locations statewide. The monitoring sites include locations in parks and preserves throughout Ohio.

Nearly 230 Society monitors recorded species numbers from the first week of April through the first week of November. Their data was compared with temperature records.

Temperatures were taken from the nearest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorological stations, which avoid the warming effects of urbanization.

Sites in southern Ohio ranged 2 to 3 degrees Celsius warmer than northern sites on a given day. That difference reflects the amount of warming climate change models predict for the Midwest later this century, enabling the researchers to see how the change may alter butterfly lifecycles.

The lepidopterists' records showed that butterflies generally emerged up to three weeks earlier and reached peak numbers sooner in southern Ohio than mid- and northern Ohio.

Biologists believe that advancing their lifecycle events a couple of weeks enables butterflies to take advantage of earlier flowering induced by warmer temperatures. The bigger payoff is a species may add another generation in a year, increasing its population and ability to compete.

Urban heat tips pattern

To estimate the heat from urbanization, researchers calculated the percent of impervious surface within 1 kilometer of each monitoring site, using the National Land Cover Database. Research by others shows the percentage of impervious surface is correlated with specific increases in surface and air temperatures.

When this heat was added to the already warmer temperatures in greater Cincinnati and Dayton, seven species delayed their initial appearances. Three of them, plus one other species, delayed their peak numbers.

"Butterflies need warmth from the environment to develop," Ries said. "As their environment gets warmer, they have more and more energy but at extremes, it's too hot and they die.

"Before it becomes lethal, too much heat can slow growth," she said. "That's why we see the delay."

The delays may leave a species with fewer resources to feed and lay eggs or may expose them to great risk of predation, resulting in a smaller next generation, the scientists said. Such a scenario may lead to loss of local populations.

The eastern tiger swallowtail, pearl crescent and red admiral, all noted for their beauty, are among the eight species that delay and are more likely to suffer in the future in Ohio.

Invasives, such as the cabbage white and European skipper, are more likely to thrive. These species are called "weedy," meaning they can feed and lay eggs on a wide variety of plants. They were largely unaffected by the combined heat.

The researchers studied Ohio butterflies after Ries found the state has the most intensive monitoring records in the United States. While many other states are doing monitoring, most volunteers only go out about 7 times a year, Ohio volunteers go out 15 to 30 times per year. "That really helps us track shifts in timing, something that is more difficult to do with less intensive protocols" Ries said.

"If our data can be used for some enlightenment, we're happy to have it used," said Jerry Weidman, who chairs the society committee in charge of monitoring.

Volunteers generate the records. They choose a section of trail and record the species and numbers they see within 7.5 feet of either side, Weidman explained. They monitor weekly from the beginning to end of the main butterfly flight season

"One lab could never do something of this scope," Diamond said. "Citizen scientists can help us do things on a scale never thought possible."

The researchers believe their findings are applicable nationally and globally. Patterns of temperatures varying by geography, and over time under climate change, coupled with gradients of rural to urban habitats, are widespread.

Diamond and colleagues are now setting up growth chambers to study butterfly physiology in the lab. They will simulate environmental conditions, including climate change and urbanization to see what temperatures or other factors trigger changes in growth and behavior, and when. From that, they hope to develop predictions to help conserve each species.

Kevin Mayhood | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.case.edu

Further reports about: Diamond butterfly ecology effects factors heat species temperatures urbanization

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Northern bald ibises fit for their journey to Tuscany
21.08.2015 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

nachricht Boreal forests challenged by global change
21.08.2015 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: What would a tsunami in the Mediterranean look like?

A team of European researchers have developed a model to simulate the impact of tsunamis generated by earthquakes and applied it to the Eastern Mediterranean. The results show how tsunami waves could hit and inundate coastal areas in southern Italy and Greece. The study is published today (27 August) in Ocean Science, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

Though not as frequent as in the Pacific and Indian oceans, tsunamis also occur in the Mediterranean, mainly due to earthquakes generated when the African...

Im Focus: Self-healing landscape: landslides after earthquake

In mountainous regions earthquakes often cause strong landslides, which can be exacerbated by heavy rain. However, after an initial increase, the frequency of these mass wasting events, often enormous and dangerous, declines, in fact independently of meteorological events and aftershocks.

These new findings are presented by a German-Franco-Japanese team of geoscientists in the current issue of the journal Geology, under the lead of the GFZ...

Im Focus: FIC Proteins Send Bacteria Into Hibernation

Bacteria do not cease to amaze us with their survival strategies. A research team from the University of Basel's Biozentrum has now discovered how bacteria enter a sleep mode using a so-called FIC toxin. In the current issue of “Cell Reports”, the scientists describe the mechanism of action and also explain why their discovery provides new insights into the evolution of pathogens.

For many poisons there are antidotes which neutralize their toxic effect. Toxin-antitoxin systems in bacteria work in a similar manner: As long as a cell...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IPA develops prototype of intelligent care cart

It comes when called, bringing care utensils with it and recording how they are used: Fraunhofer IPA is developing an intelligent care cart that provides care staff with physical and informational support in their day-to-day work. The scientists at Fraunhofer IPA have now completed a first prototype. In doing so, they are continuing in their efforts to improve working conditions in the care sector and are developing solutions designed to address the challenges of demographic change.

Technical assistance systems can improve the difficult working conditions in residential nursing homes and hospitals by helping the staff in their work and...

Im Focus: A Grand Voyage for Tiny Organisms

Climate and Ecosystem Change in the Mediterranean

Since the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 many hundreds of marine animal and plant species from the Red Sea have invaded the eastern Mediterranean, leading...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Networking conference in Heidelberg for outstanding mathematicians and computer scientists

20.08.2015 | Event News

Scientists meet in Münster for the world’s largest Chitin und Chitosan Conference

20.08.2015 | Event News

Large agribusiness management strategies

19.08.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cells cling and spiral 'like vines' in first 3-D tissue scaffold for plants

27.08.2015 | Life Sciences

Hypoallergenic parks: Coming soon?

27.08.2015 | Health and Medicine

Stiffer breast tissue in obese women promotes tumors

27.08.2015 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>