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Thread: Bugs are dying off -- why?

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    Unhappy Bugs are dying off -- why? (also mammals, but we know why)

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/10/09/1722477115

    Paper released today describing recent years showing biomass of insects in Puerto Rico is falling rapidly, dying from "the bottom up".

    ===============

    Climate-driven declines in arthropod abundance restructure a rainforest food web

    Bradford C. Lister and Andres Garcia

    PNAS published ahead of print October 15, 2018 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1722477115

    Edited by Nils Christian Stenseth, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway, and approved September 10, 2018 (received for review January 8, 2018)

    Arthropods, invertebrates including insects that have external skeletons, are declining at an alarming rate. While the tropics harbor the majority of arthropod species, little is known about trends in their abundance. We compared arthropod biomass in Puerto Rico’s Luquillo rainforest with data taken during the 1970s and found that biomass had fallen 10 to 60 times. Our analyses revealed synchronous declines in the lizards, frogs, and birds that eat arthropods. Over the past 30 years, forest temperatures have risen 2.0 °C, and our study indicates that climate warming is the driving force behind the collapse of the forest’s food web. If supported by further research, the impact of climate change on tropical ecosystems may be much greater than currently anticipated.
    Last edited by Roger E. Moore; 2018-Oct-16 at 03:36 PM.
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    Why are you asking "why"? The cause is in the title of the paper.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Why are you asking "why"? The cause is in the title of the paper.
    Yes, true, but that struck me as vague even if true. The paper mentions that further research is needed to verify their findings and pinpoint the mechanisms involved between raising the general temperature and the insect die-off.

    In any event, it was very bad news. Guess the amphibians will have some company in the next life.
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    Yes, very disturbing. I know a lot less on tropical ecosystems than the authors, so I don't have any guesses on mechanisms.

    But we are major league mucking with our entire planet; these kinds of results are what people have been warning about for decades, so I am completely unsurprised by them.
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    Arthropods are officially "the most successful phylum," so something must be changing.

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    Seem to have missed part of the animal kingdom, just came out.


    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/10/09/1804906115

    Mammal diversity will take millions of years to recover from the current biodiversity crisis

    Matt Davis, Søren Faurby, and Jens-Christian Svenning; PNAS published ahead of print October 15, 2018

    The incipient sixth mass extinction that started in the Late Pleistocene has already erased over 300 mammal species and, with them, more than 2.5 billion y of unique evolutionary history. At the global scale, this lost phylogenetic diversity (PD) can only be restored with time as lineages evolve and create new evolutionary history. Given the increasing rate of extinctions however, can mammals evolve fast enough to recover their lost PD on a human time scale? We use a birth–death tree framework to show that even if extinction rates slow to preanthropogenic background levels, recovery of lost PD will likely take millions of years. These findings emphasize the severity of the potential sixth mass extinction and the need to avoid the loss of unique evolutionary history now.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
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    Could the flooding with all the attendant spills and leaks of chemicals and fuels, have had a part? Or would that be too localized.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Could the flooding with all the attendant spills and leaks of chemicals and fuels, have had a part? Or would that be too localized.
    If you are referring to the study in the OP, and you are referring to damage from the hurricane a year ago - no.

    The recent data collection was from 2012 - well before the hurricane.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    If you are referring to the study in the OP, and you are referring to damage from the hurricane a year ago - no.

    The recent data collection was from 2012 - well before the hurricane.
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    So it seems that bugs are dying out everywhere, not just in Puerto Rico. Everywhere.

    https://www.sciencealert.com/puerto-...climate-change
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    They are not dying off around Houston, but the maintenance/slight increase may be due to the abundant rainfall in 2017 and this year.

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    Speaking of insects and climate change...

    Laboratory Equipment magazine

    A new type of blow fly spotted in Indiana points to shifting species populations due to climate change.

    Researchers at IUPUI have observed the first evidence of Lucilia cuprina in Indiana, an insect previously known to populate southern states from Virginia to California.

    Researchers recorded the L. cuprina species more than two dozen times from 2015 to 2017 in parks and other public places throughout Central Indiana.

    The fly was observed as far north as Michigan in the 1950s during a short period of warmer temperatures, but had not been found in this region since then.

    "As temperatures change and increase, the distributions of these insects will continue to change as well," said Christine J. Picard, an associate professor of biology. "There is definitely a northward movement of species—not just insects, but all species—as they try to find temperatures where they are more comfortable."
    I wonder if this explains Puerto Rico. One of the effects that has been noted with climate change is that species shift their locations to try to maintain the same temperature range. So, for example, they will shift closer to the polls. If they are a species on a mountain, they will shift to higher elevations (where it is cooler). Species may go extinct when they run out of mountain to climb.

    On an island, they are very limited in their ability to shift toward the pole (north for Puerto Rico). I wonder if that might be part of the insect die-off. Just speculation on my part.
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    One interesting thing about that is that the rapid migration may not be matched by the normal predators so there can be population explosions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    One interesting thing about that is that the rapid migration may not be matched by the normal predators so there can be population explosions.
    I think climate change is going to completely reshuffle the deck and create lots of winners and losers. There will be plants and animals that will thrive under the new conditions. Unfortunately, I think there will be more losers than winners, and humans may not like many of these changes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    On an island, they are very limited in their ability to shift toward the pole (north for Puerto Rico). I wonder if that might be part of the insect die-off. Just speculation on my part.
    I recall reading early anecdotes of insect decline referring to the "splat factor" (or some similar-sounding expression). It refers to the claim that people are experiencing fewer "splats" on their car windshields. And this is in continental areas, not islands. If poleward or elevational redistributions of habitat were able to fully compensate for changing environments, then I wouldn't expect people to be mentioning the "splat factor". I my own area, I *think* there are fewer swallows than there used to be, but I have no data know if that's actually true.

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    It's 4G, 5G will kill off even more.

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    Possible explanation for why insects (and everything else except, for now, humans) is dying off.


    https://phys.org/news/2018-11-climat...fertility.html

    Climate change damaging male fertility

    November 13, 2018, University of East Anglia

    Climate change could pose a threat to male fertility—according to new research from the University of East Anglia. New findings published today in the journal Nature Communications reveal that heatwaves damage sperm in insects—with negative impacts for fertility across generations. The research team say that male infertility during heatwaves could help to explain why climate change is having such an impact on species populations, including climate-related extinctions in recent years.
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    Came across this in a perspective article on light pollution:

    Quote Originally Posted by Science, issue of 2018-11-16, p745
    Artificial light at night is also suspected to have played a role in catastrophic region-wide declines in insect populations. Although categorical evidence remains wanting, those species of moths that would seem most vulnerable, such as those attracted to lights or that are night-active, have been shown to have experienced the greatest losses.
    The article discusses effects of direct emissions of light and the effects of skyglow, which can extend hundreds of km from sources. Among the many depressing statements is this bit about the extent of artificial night lighting:

    According to the best estimates, this extent is increasing at about 2% per year, with growth in the intensity of lighting from already lit areas occurring at a similar rate. The reduced operational costs of using LED lamps seem to have encouraged the installation of yet more lighting, rather than savings on preexisting lighting needs.
    Lighting up the nighttime
    (summary, paywall for the full article)

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    New York Times FEATURE Nov 27: The Insect Apocalypse Is Here - What does it mean for the rest of life on Earth?

    German study found that, measured simply by weight, the overall abundance of flying insects in German nature reserves had decreased by 75 percent over just 27 years. If you looked at midsummer population peaks, the drop was 82 percent.

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    Different article, different reason. https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0201085800.htm

    The obvious is pesticides and decreased habitat for the change is insect population, but we must keep in mind that insect populations could just be very volatile in the first place. Some years, where I live, flies, ticks, Japanese beetles, grass hoppers, and mosquito populations can vary by 90 percent year to year. We had a rare bloom of flood water mosquitoes this year. Very aggressive variety of mosquito.
    We used to have too much pollution for gnats, but now they are back. Isn't that fun.
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    Good point about LED street lighting.

    The old sodium lamps were "low blue" and had little effect on insect life cycles.

    The new LED lights are usually "high blue" and are said to be much more disruptive to insects.

    Add in the fact they are being fried by 4G and 5G radio antennas.


    The range of frequencies used for wireless telecommunication systems will increase in the near future from below 6 GHz (2 G, 3 G, 4 G, and WiFi) to frequencies up to 120 GHz (5 G). .....

    Our simulations showed that a shift of 10% of the incident power density to frequencies above 6 GHz would lead to an increase in absorbed power between 3–370%.


    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5834628/

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    SAVE TEH BEEEZ!

    https://phys.org/news/2018-12-scient...pocalypse.html

    Scientists create bee vaccine to fight off 'insect apocalypse'
    December 14, 2018 by Sam Kingsley

    Scientists in Finland have developed what they believe is the world's first vaccine to protect bees against disease, raising hopes for tackling the drastic decline in insect numbers which could cause a global food crisis. Bees are vital for growing the world's food as they help fertilise three out of four crops around the globe, by transferring pollen from male to female flowers. But in recent years bee populations around the world have been dying off from "colony collapse disorder", a mysterious scourge blamed on mites, pesticides, virus, fungus, or some combination of these factors. UN-led research in 2016 found that more than 40 percent of invertebrate pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, are facing extinction. The study also found that 16.5 percent of vertebrate pollinators, such as birds and bats, are under threat.
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    Never enough bad news.


    https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/07/us/mo...rnd/index.html

    The monarch butterfly population in California has plummeted 86% in one year

    By Doug Criss, CNN
    Updated 1:43 PM ET, Mon January 7, 2019

    Western monarch butterflies are gorgeous and majestic. And they might be gone for good in a few decades. That's what nature lovers are fearing after a conservation group reports the population of Western monarch butterflies has plunged by 86% since late 2017 in coastal areas of California.

    The dire number comes from counts of the brilliant black-and-orange insects conducted every Thanksgiving by the Xerces Society, an international nonprofit dedicated to preserving invertebrates and their habitats. Monarch butterflies migrate to California and spend winters there. "It's worse than anyone had anticipated," the Xerces Society says in a post on its website. "We are very troubled to observe such an apparently large decline in the population this year." Pesticides, habitat losses and more frequent and severe droughts caused by climate change are believed to be the primary reasons for the decimation of the butterfly population, Xerces says.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
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    Loss of insects

    Anecdotes about fewer bugs to be cleaned off windscreens were the first signs. Now there is mainstream news about insects populations declining catastrophically due mainly to agriculture, deforestation, habitat loss and climate change. The catastrophe affecting us humans is what has pushed it up the agenda, I am wondering if there are members here who have detailed knowledge? For example they say Puerto Rico has already a collapse in numbers due to insecticides. Is it the global problem that will zoom upon us first?
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    New warning out on insect die-offs.

    https://phys.org/news/2019-02-world-...e-insects.html

    World seeing 'catastrophic collapse' of insects: study
    February 11, 2019 by Marlowe Hood

    Nearly half of all insect species worldwide are in rapid decline and a third could disappear altogether, according to a study warning of dire consequences for crop pollination and natural food chains. "Unless we change our way of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades," concluded the peer-reviewed study, which is set for publication in April. The recent decline in bugs that fly, crawl, burrow and skitter across still water is part of a gathering "mass extinction," only the sixth in the last half-billion years. "We are witnessing the largest extinction event on Earth since the late Permian and Cretaceous periods," the authors noted.
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Anecdotes about fewer bugs to be cleaned off windscreens were the first signs. Now there is mainstream news about insects populations declining catastrophically due mainly to agriculture, deforestation, habitat loss and climate change. The catastrophe affecting us humans is what has pushed it up the agenda, I am wondering if there are members here who have detailed knowledge? For example they say Puerto Rico has already a collapse in numbers due to insecticides. Is it the global problem that will zoom upon us first?
    I won't say I have detailed knowledge, but I came across this article this morning.

    Laboratory Equipment magazine

    A new meta-analysis of a series of more than 70 studies considers all the evidence—and concludes that as much as 40 percent of the multitude of insect species on the planet may be rendered extinct in the coming decades.

    Human agriculture, habitat destruction and use of pollutants such as pesticides are driving the loss, according to the new paper, in the Elsevier journal Biological Conservation.

    It all amounts to nothing less than a “dreadful state of insect biodiversity in the world,” the scientists conclude.

    “Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades,” write authors Francisco Sanchez-Bayo and Kris. A.G. Wyckhuys.

    The 73 studies were found through Web of Science, focused on population dynamics of classes including Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), Hymenoptera (bees and ants), Coleoptera (beetles), as well as the orders making up aquatic species such as dragonflies, stoneflies, caddisflies and mayflies.

    Their conclusions were that some insects filling niches were in free-fall, population-wise. Generalist bugs have increasingly filled the pollination and other ecosystem roles, they found.
    Biological Conservation

    Abstract:
    Biodiversity of insects is threatened worldwide. Here, we present a comprehensive review of 73 historical reports of insect declines from across the globe, and systematically assess the underlying drivers. Our work reveals dramatic rates of decline that may lead to the extinction of 40% of the world's insect species over the next few decades. In terrestrial ecosystems, Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera and dung beetles (Coleoptera) appear to be the taxa most affected, whereas four major aquatic taxa (Odonata, Plecoptera, Trichoptera and Ephemeroptera) have already lost a considerable proportion of species. Affected insect groups not only include specialists that occupy particular ecological niches, but also many common and generalist species. Concurrently, the abundance of a small number of species is increasing; these are all adaptable, generalist species that are occupying the vacant niches left by the ones declining. Among aquatic insects, habitat and dietary generalists, and pollutant-tolerant species are replacing the large biodiversity losses experienced in waters within agricultural and urban settings. The main drivers of species declines appear to be in order of importance: i) habitat loss and conversion to intensive agriculture and urbanisation; ii) pollution, mainly that by synthetic pesticides and fertilisers; iii) biological factors, including pathogens and introduced species; and iv) climate change. The latter factor is particularly important in tropical regions, but only affects a minority of species in colder climes and mountain settings of temperate zones. A rethinking of current agricultural practices, in particular a serious reduction in pesticide usage and its substitution with more sustainable, ecologically-based practices, is urgently needed to slow or reverse current trends, allow the recovery of declining insect populations and safeguard the vital ecosystem services they provide. In addition, effective remediation technologies should be applied to clean polluted waters in both agricultural and urban environments.
    I don't think this is "the global problem that will zoom upon us first", but it is among a set of interconnected problems (climate change, pollution, overpopulation, habitat destruction, etc.) that combined will have huge impacts.
    Last edited by Swift; 2019-Feb-12 at 02:46 PM. Reason: added a quote
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    It bugged me to have the two similar threads, so I merged them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    It bugged me to have the two similar threads, so I merged them.
    I see what you did there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    It bugged me to have the two similar threads, so I merged them.
    Thanks, sorry i missed that, must stop watching the flutterbies, moths and foths. But I like the Beatles too.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I won't say I have detailed knowledge, but I came across this article this morning.

    [URL="https://www.laboratoryequipment.com/article/2019/02/insect-die-worldwide-loss-40-percent-species-predicted"]Laboratory Equipment magazine[/


    Biological Conservation

    Abstract:


    I don't think this is "the global problem that will zoom upon us first", but it is among a set of interconnected problems (climate change, pollution, overpopulation, habitat destruction, etc.) that combined will have huge impacts.
    The study confirms that roaches and housefies will still be with us, or without us.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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