Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Insect DNA offers tiny clues about animals' changing habitats

09.03.2012
The long-term impact of climate change on natural communities of wild animals could be better understood thanks to a new study.

The research will help predict how migration of animals or changes to their habitats associated with climate change could impact on the evolution of relationships between predators and their prey.

Scientists have shed light on how species and their natural enemies chase each other across continents in a game of cat and mouse lasting for millions of years. They used a technique known as population genetics to reveal historical information hidden in the DNA of small plant-feeding insects and their wasp enemies, and to show how closely predators track their prey over long periods of time.

The study, involving University of Edinburgh scientists, reconstructed the evolutionary arms race between the insects and their wasp enemies. The study looked at 31 species, all of which originated in Iran and Turkey, and spread into Europe over the past four million years. The timing of each species' journey was determined by how well it coped with the many ice ages during this period of the Earth's history.

Researchers found that during these natural cycles of climate change, the plant-feeding insects often outran their predators, moving faster and so escaping attack – often for hundreds of thousands of years. Battles between predators and prey were sometimes interrupted for long periods of time, suspending the arms race between the two groups.

Scientists say relationships between species that evolve closely together can be fragile, leading to biological communities that can be easily disrupted by climate change. However, this research suggests that, at least for these insects, the predator-prey relationships are less fragile and are resistant to disruption. In addition, however, modern environments are much more fragmented than those in the past, making all natural communities more sensitive to change.

The study, carried out in collaboration with the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the City University New York, was published in Current Biology and supported by the Natural Environment Research Council.

Professor Graham Stone of the University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences, who led the study, said: "Insects account for more than half of all animal species found on Earth. Interactions between insects, and between insects and other kinds of organism, fulfil many important biological roles – including crop pollination and pest control. We hope that our study will improve understanding of how interactions between modern species may respond to climate change."

Catriona Kelly | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ed.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>