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 October 20, 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 October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) Two white lion cubs were born in Belgrade zoo three weeks ago. White lions are a rare mutation of a species found in South Africa and some cultures consider them divine. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

AP (Oct. 16, 2014) With hard cider making a hardcore comeback across the country, craft makers are trying to keep up with demand and apple growers are tapping a juicy new revenue stream. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Buzz60 (Oct. 16, 2014) Garfi is one frowny, feisty feline - downright angry! Ko Im (@koimtv) introduces us to the latest animal celebrity taking over the Internet. You can follow more of Garfi's adventures on Twitter (@MeetGarfi) and Facebook (Garfi). Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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