Insects have “no place to hide” from climate change, scientists have warned, following an analysis of 50 years of UK data.
The study showed that woodlands, whose shade was expected to protect species from warming temperatures, are being just as affected by climate change as open grasslands.
The research examined the first springtime flights of butterflies, moths and aphids and the first eggs of birds between 1965 and 2012. As average temperatures have risen, aphids are now emerging a month earlier, while birds were laying eggs a week earlier. The scientists said this can mean animals become “out of sync” with their prey, with potentially serious ramifications for ecosystems.
Researchers are increasingly concerned about dramatic drops in populations of insects, which underpin much of nature. Some warned in February that these falls threaten a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems” and the widespread loss of pollinating insects in recent decades in Britain was revealed in March.
Other studies, from Germany and Puerto Rico, have shown plunging numbers in the last 25-35 years, while new research shows butterflies have declined by at least 84% in the Netherlands over the last 130 years. [Continue reading…]