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!
World’s Largest Study on Allergic Rhinitis Reveals new Risk Genes
17.07.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Plant mothers talk to their embryos via the hormone auxin
17.07.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
17.07.2018 | Information Technology
17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering