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.

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 3ēC 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 36ēC and the maximum temperature of the environment is already 36ēC, an increase of even 1ēC 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 September 23, 2014 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 September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) — The best funny internet cat videos are honoured at LA's Feline Film Festival. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) — Green balls of algae washed up on Sydney, Australia's Dee Why Beach. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) — The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) — Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
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