What is it about?

Many insect species are on the verge of extinction. Scientists are trying to find out whether this is caused by climate change. It is difficult because most of the places that insects live will be changing in lots of ways for lots of reasons. That makes it hard to say which of these changes is causing the problem. These scientists found a way to solve that problem. They monitored a stream in Germany for 42 years. The stream is in the middle of a national park. There are no other changes apart from climate changes. Each week, they counted how many insects were in the stream, and how many different types of insect were represented. They also measured the temperature of the stream every day, and how much water was flowing through it. Over the last 42 years, the temperature of the stream has increased by almost 2ºC, and the number of insects has fallen by 82%.

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Why is it important?

This study is a good example of why we need to have a long-term view of climate change. The numbers went up and down during the period of the study. If the scientists had looked at shorter periods, even up to 5 years, the results could have been misleading. KEY TAKEAWAY: Scientists have been monitoring the effects of climate change for a long time. Some people think that because numbers go up and down in the short term, this means climate change isn’t happening or isn’t bad for the environment. But over the long term it is very clear that climate change is happening, and is having a catastrophic effect on things such as the number of insects.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Complex and nonlinear climate‐driven changes in freshwater insect communities over 42 years, Conservation Biology, May 2020, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13477.
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