Climate change is expected to disrupt ecosystems by changing insects’ and other organisms’ life cycles in unpredictable ways -– and scientists are getting a preview of these changes in cities. NC State University research shows that some insect pests are thriving in warm, urban environments and developing earlier, limiting the impact of parasitoid wasps that normally help keep those pest populations in check.
A general cross-continent model to predict the effects of climate change on savanna vegetation isn’t as effective as examining individual savannas by continent, according to research published in Science this week.
Savannas – grasslands dotted with trees – cover about 20 percent of the earth’s land and play a critical role in storing atmospheric carbon, says Dr. William Hoffmann, associate professor of plant and microbial biology at North Carolina State University and co-author of the study. “We wanted to find out what controls savanna vegetation – essentially the density of trees within the savanna – and whether we can use a single global model to predict what will happen to savannas if global temperatures rise,” Hoffmann said.
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Experts
Will climate change make scale insects more abundant? That’s one of the questions Ph.D. student Emily Meineke is trying to answer as she studies these tiny — and abundant — pests.