Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Winter Moth Proves Able To Adjust To Climate Change

Date:
June 21, 2007
Source:
Netherlands Institute of Ecology
Summary:
Winter moths are able to adjust to the changing temperatures of our changing climate. The temperature determines the day winter moths hatch out and that temperature sensitivity is hereditary. Through selection only the most adjusted eggs remain, meaning those that nowadays hatch at the same time as the oak buds burst -- as young oak leaves are their food source. Such research should be undertaken for more species to improve the predictions of climate-change consequences.

A caterpillar of the winter moth.
Credit: Margriet van Asch, NIOO-KNAW and Leonard Holleman, NIOO-KNAW

Winter moths are able to adjust to the changing temperatures of our changing climate.  The temperature determines the day winter moths hatch out and that temperature sensitivity is hereditary. Through selection only the most adjusted eggs remain, meaning those that nowadays hatch at the same time as the oak buds burst – as young oak leaves are their food source. Such research should be undertaken for more species to improve the predictions of climate-change consequences.

Since the climate pattern in winter and spring is changing, already for some 35 years, the winter moth hatched earlier and earlier. In warm years part of the caterpillars even appeared before the oak leaves did. Young oak leaves are the food source for this species’ caterpillars and without them they die within days. The winter moth reacted too sharply on climate change in the Netherlands.

Now it is found out that they are able to adjust to their new situation, so to their new climate. They did just that during the last ten years. NIOO ecologist Margriet van Asch explains: “At the same temperature eggs now hatch five to ten days later. The result is that they are again better synchronized with the oak leaves.”

Van Asch and colleagues researched the winter moth in nature and in climate rooms, under normal and under raised temperatures. This way, they can predict how these moths will adapt to the changing climate. “This change can not only be witnessed in our experiments, but also in the woods outside,” Van Asch reveals. “What makes them able to adjust, is the presence of sufficient genetic variation in ‘egg hatching moment’ within the moth population.”

The winter moth appears to cope with restricted climate change. This species adjusts quickly enough when compared to one of the moderate climate scenarios. “But we have to collect the same sort of information for other species and ecosystems,” argues project leader Marcel Visser. “Only then we can state by how many degrees the temperature may change without causing serious problems. This will give politicians something to base their target on, instead of that arbitrary 2 degrees Celsius warming.”

The winter moth Operophtera brumata lives in the woods. There they form a major food source for many songbirds like great tit and pied flycatcher. But these birds still have a problem. Their food source may be able to adjust and consequently survive in higher numbers, but they cannot. The caterpillars still peak earlier than their chicks and climate-induced asynchrony is still the reality for these birds.

This part of the winter moth project is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. With this discovery Margriet van Asch of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology earned her doctoral degree.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Netherlands Institute of Ecology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Netherlands Institute of Ecology. "Winter Moth Proves Able To Adjust To Climate Change." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070619174647.htm>.
Netherlands Institute of Ecology. (2007, June 21). Winter Moth Proves Able To Adjust To Climate Change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070619174647.htm
Netherlands Institute of Ecology. "Winter Moth Proves Able To Adjust To Climate Change." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070619174647.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Over 53 tons of rotting fish have been removed from Lake Cajititlan in western Jalisco state. Authorities say that the thousands of fish did not die of natural causes. (Sep. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Iceland Volcano Spewing Smoke

Raw: Iceland Volcano Spewing Smoke

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — The alert warning for the area surrounding Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano was kept at orange on Tuesday, indicating increased unrest with greater potential for an eruption. Smoke is spewing from the volcano, and lava is spouting nearby. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Halliburton's agreement to pay more than $1 billion to settle numerous claims involving the 2010 BP oil spill could be a way to diminish years of costly litigation. A federal judge still has to approve the settlement. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins