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Climate change causing major changes in Arctic insect communities

Climate change recasts the insect communities of the Arctic, EurekAlert, UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI Research News  12 Sept 20,  Through a unique research collaboration, researchers at the University of Helsinki have exposed major changes taking place in the insect communities of the Arctic. Their study reveals how climate change is affecting small but important predators of other insects, i.e. parasitoids.”Predators at the top of the food web give us a clue to what is happening to their prey species, too. These results increase our understanding of how global warming is changing nature. At the same time, they suggest new inroads for finding answers to big questions in the field of ecology,” says Professor Tomas Roslin from the University of Helsinki and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

The researchers’ main discovery was that clear traces of climate change can already be seen in arctic insect communities.

“In areas where summers are rapidly warming, we find a higher proportion of cold-sensitive predators than we might expect based on the previous climate,” Roslin notes.

The study joined research teams working in Greenland, Canada, Russia, Norway, Finland and Iceland, which together compared regions where the climate has changed at different rates and in different ways in recent decades.

Parasitoids are fierce predators but sensitive to changes in climatic conditions

“The climate of the Arctic is currently changing about twice as fast as the global average. Therefore, the Arctic region provides an important laboratory when we try to understand the effects of climate change on nature,” says Tuomas Kankaanpää, lead author of the study and active at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki.

“To distinguish the key consequences of climate change, we have focused on some of the most important predators in the Arctic, parasitoid wasps and flies. These parasitoids are predators whose larvae develop on or within a single host individual and usually kill it in the process. And now we have found that climate change is dramatically affecting the relative dominance of different types of parasitoids.”………..https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/uoh-ccr091020.php

September 14, 2020 - Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, Reference

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