Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Global warming: Evolutionary straitjacket means flies can't take the heat

Date:
September 18, 2012
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
Many species of fruit fly lack the ability to adapt effectively to predicted increases in global temperatures and may face extinction in the near future, according to new research.

Many species of fruit fly lack the ability to adapt effectively to predicted increases in global temperatures and may face extinction in the near future, according to new research.

Related Articles


In a study published September 18 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Monash University, The University of Melbourne and Danish collaborators showed that many species of fruit fly appear to be constrained within an evolutionary straitjacket and can't readily adapt to climate change-related temperature increases.

Dr Vanessa Kellermann from Monash University's School of Biological Sciences said current projections predict a 3ΊC increase in mean annual temperature in the next century and even greater increases in extremes.

"Given our findings, these expected increases pose a major threat to biodiversity in the near future. Particularly as Drosophila or fruit fly findings are often more broadly applicable," Dr Kellermann said.

By examining nearly 100 species of fruit fly from around the world, the researchers showed that species had evolved to the temperature extremes and humidity of their environments. However, they had very little flexibility in being able to change their levels of heat resistance and seem unable to adapt to increased temperatures in the future.

High heat resistance is a feature of only some branches of the phylogeny -- the tree that shows how species are related through evolution -- of Drosophila. Other branches had very limited ability to change their levels of heat resistance; even when flies native to cooler areas grew up in a warm environment, their heat tolerance was not significantly altered.

"The problem is that only a handful of species have adapted to hot environments while most species have not and it seems very difficult to switch once you are stuck on a phylogenetic branch," Dr Kellermann said.

The researchers looked at species' prospects for dealing with projected temperature increases in the near future.

"If a species can only withstand temperatures of 36ΊC and the maximum temperature of the environment is already 36ΊC, an increase of even 1ΊC would already put this species over the edge towards extinction," Dr Kellermann said.

Using this method, the researchers identified at-risk species and found that most tropical and mid-latitude species fell into this category.

"Without rapid adaptation, which now seems very unlikely, a lot of species may fall over under even a mild increase in temperature," Dr Kellermann said.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. V. Kellermann, J. Overgaard, A. A. Hoffmann, C. Flojgaard, J.-C. Svenning, V. Loeschcke. Upper thermal limits of Drosophila are linked to species distributions and strongly constrained phylogenetically. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1207553109

Cite This Page:

Monash University. "Global warming: Evolutionary straitjacket means flies can't take the heat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120918090814.htm>.
Monash University. (2012, September 18). Global warming: Evolutionary straitjacket means flies can't take the heat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120918090814.htm
Monash University. "Global warming: Evolutionary straitjacket means flies can't take the heat." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120918090814.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Giant Panda Goes Walkabout in Southwest China

Giant Panda Goes Walkabout in Southwest China

AFP (Mar. 6, 2015) — A giant panda goes walkabout alone at night in southwest China. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nesting Bald Eagle Covered in Snow Up to Its Neck

Nesting Bald Eagle Covered in Snow Up to Its Neck

Buzz60 (Mar. 6, 2015) — The Pennsylvania State Game Commission captured amazing shots of a nesting bald eagle who stayed on its nest during a snowstorm, even when the snow piled all the way up to its neck. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lack of Snow Pushes Alaska Sled Dog Race North

Lack of Snow Pushes Alaska Sled Dog Race North

AP (Mar. 6, 2015) — A shortage of snow has forced Alaska&apos;s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to move 300 miles north to Fairbanks. The ceremonial start through downtown Anchorage will take place this weekend, using snow stockpiled earlier this winter. (March 6) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) — Slowed-down footage of the leaps of praying mantises show the insect&apos;s extraordinary precision, say researchers. Video provided by Reuters
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