Global warming could cause insect population explosion
October 30, 2006
Global warming may prove to be a boon to insects according to new research published in the October edition of the journal The American Naturalist.
Scientists from the University of Washington found that insect species found in warmer environments have faster population growth rates as temperatures increase. This growth may well have significant impacts on agriculture, public health, conservation and ecosystems, said Melanie Frazier, lead author of the new research and a University of Washington biology doctoral student.
Praying mantis in Madagascar.
Photo by R. Butler
“Enhanced population growth rates for butterflies might be a good thing, but enhanced growth rates for mosquito populations is much more dubious,” said Frazier.
Frazier, along with colleagues Raymond Huey, a UW biology professor, and David Berrigan, a former UW biology researcher now with the National Cancer Institute, said that shifts in population growth rates among insect species will have “profound ecological effects” by altering species composition and disrupting food webs. While some species will flourish, others will go extinct.
“No matter which scenario plays out for a given species, local ecosystems will be profoundly altered,” Frazier said.
This article used information from a University of Washington news release.