Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Plant growth aided by insect-feeding animals

Date:
April 7, 2010
Source:
University of California - Irvine
Summary:
Add insect-feeding birds, bats and lizards to the front lines of the battle against global climate change.

An Eastern Bluebird consumes a meal of leaf-eating caterpillar.
Credit: Photo by Mike Onyon

Add insect-feeding birds, bats and lizards to the front lines of the battle against global climate change.

Summarizing the results of more than 100 experiments conducted on four continents, UC Irvine ecologist Kailen A. Mooney and colleagues found that these insect-gobbling animals increase plant growth by reducing the abundance of plant-feeding insects and the damage they do to the plant life that helps mitigate global warming.

Our efforts solidify the importance of birds, bats, lizards and other similar animals to ecosystem health, and underscores the importance of conserving these species in the face of global change," said Mooney, an assistant professor in ecology and evolutionary biology.

The results come at a time when the importance of birds and other insectivores as plant protectors has come into doubt, Mooney added. Studies on bird, bat and lizard diets show they devour both plant-feeding insects and the spiders and other insect predators that eat plant feeders.

Recognizing these complex feeding relationships, Mooney said it had become unclear whether animals like birds reduce plant-feeding insect populations, or whether they might in fact be protecting them from spiders and the like.

"It has long been hypothesized that birds and other insect-feeding animals may protect plants by keeping plant-feeding insects in check in accordance with the adage, 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend,' " Mooney said. "Our study provides the most comprehensive support of this hypothesis to date. It shows that despite feeding on predatory insects, birds, bats and lizards still act as plant protectors by having net negative effects on plant-feeding insects."

Study results appear in early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of April 5.

Daniel S. Gruner of the University of Maryland; Nicholas A Barber of the University of Missouri, St. Louis; Sunshine A. Van Bael of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama; Stacy M. Philpott of the University of Toledo; and Russell Greenberg of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in Washington, D.C., contributed to this study.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Mooney et al. Interactions among predators and the cascading effects of vertebrate insectivores on arthropod communities and plants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1001934107

Cite This Page:

University of California - Irvine. "Plant growth aided by insect-feeding animals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100407134819.htm>.
University of California - Irvine. (2010, April 7). Plant growth aided by insect-feeding animals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100407134819.htm
University of California - Irvine. "Plant growth aided by insect-feeding animals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100407134819.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) 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