Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Variable temperatures leave insects with a frosty reception

Date:
December 3, 2009
Source:
University of Western Ontario
Summary:
For the first time, scientists have shown that insects exposed to repeated periods of cold will trade reproduction for immediate survival.

Fly on snow.
Credit: iStockphoto/Philip Voystock

For the first time, scientists at The University of Western Ontario have shown that insects exposed to repeated periods of cold will trade reproduction for immediate survival.

The study, conducted by Biology PhD candidate Katie Marshall and supervisor Brent Sinclair, has been published online by the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Results showed flies exposed to multiple bouts of cold survived better, but produced fewer offspring. Past research had demonstrated insects survive cold better if periodically exposed to warm conditions, which had led researchers to believe repeated cold exposures were better for insects than a prolonged cold exposure.

When Marshall and Sinclair tracked the number, sex and development time of offspring, however, they found that flies experiencing multiple cold exposures traded their future ability to reproduce for a chance at survival. In particular, cold-exposed flies produced fewer daughters, which is important because the number of female offspring limits the growth of a population much more than the number of male offspring.

"It is clear that, in nature, animals are exposed to thermal stress on a regular and repeated basis," says Marshall. "Understanding the consequences of these repeated stresses is essential to interpreting and predicting climatic change effects in the natural world."

Climate change in Ontario is expected to decrease the amount of snow cover, which insulates the ground and keeps soil temperatures from becoming too low. As such, insects will experience a greater number of low-temperature events throughout the winter.

"Insect populations have important effects on many aspects of human society," says Marshall. "Pest species can harm crops and impact human health, while beneficial insects contribute to biodiversity and the control of pest species. If we understand the effects of temperature on insects, we can become better at predicting and responding to insect populations in a changing climate."

Marshall plans to extend her work to see if repeated cold exposure has similar effects on forest and agricultural pests.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Western Ontario. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Katie E. Marshall, Brent J. Sinclair. Repeated stress exposure results in a survival-reproduction trade-off in Drosophila melanogaster. Proceedings of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences, 2009; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1807

Cite This Page:

University of Western Ontario. "Variable temperatures leave insects with a frosty reception." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091130103729.htm>.
University of Western Ontario. (2009, December 3). Variable temperatures leave insects with a frosty reception. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091130103729.htm
University of Western Ontario. "Variable temperatures leave insects with a frosty reception." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091130103729.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
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