Increasing Temperatures and Decreasing Insect Populations

Without insects, we wouldn’t have all of the edible plants that we rely on as important parts of our diets and entire ecosystems would be in trouble. Despite their importance, insects face many threats, including climate change. Through a literature review, a group of scientists found that increasing temperatures due to climate change and the resulting ecosystem changes are a leading cause of insect population declines globally. Some species have disappeared completely. However, different species respond to climate change differently. Monitoring and understanding their responses can help us prevent their loss.

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Dead and Gone? – The loss of decaying wood communities in urban forests

Forests are beautiful. From flourishing plants to tranquil wildlife to decaying logs, all parts are beautiful, vital, and connected. Dead logs are responsible for maintaining a healthy forest thanks to teams of fungi and wood-dependent insects inside. These organisms break down plant material to add nutrients back to the ecosystem. Forests are essential for human health and well-being, but human disturbance could threaten these ecosystems. To keep our forests healthy and beautiful, we depend on these decomposers, but can they rely on us?

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Moving into the Hyporheic Zone

Climate change is causing some alpine streams to change from always flowing to flowing only part of the time. This is a challenge that the bugs in those streams have not had to face, but the might have a way out: hunkering down in the hyporheic zone, a subsurface component of the stream. By waiting out drought in this new environment, the bugs might be able to come back and resume life as normal when conditions are more favorable.

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To bugs in streams, fine sediment is not so fine

Clearing land for agriculture often leads to decreased flow velocities and in increase in fine sediment additions in nearby streams. While many stream bugs rely on small fine sediments, too much of it can detrimentally affect them. Changes to flow velocities and inputs of fine sediment in affected streams are not always equal in magnitude, so an experiment was run to see the responses of aquatic macroinvertebrates to various combinations of flow and sediment conditions. The scientists found fine sediments negatively impacted almost all stream bugs and that low flows exacerbated the problem.

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Native milkweed supports healthy monarch communities

“Monarch butterflies do really well on the exotic milkweed species that’s being widely sold and planted under current environmental conditions. But under warmer conditions, the exotic plant becomes too toxic and monarchs become less healthy.”

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