My fellow UNC graduate students Jessica Higgins and Sarah Seiter are uncovering and reporting on important effects of climate change, particularly in insects. They were recently featured in the Raleigh News and Observer as well. Check them out and learn more about their research.
Climate change is reviving a once rare British butterfly, according to a new article in the journal Science. The brown argus butterfly was once scarce, but has doubled the size of its range in the last 20 years. The study, authored by biologists at the University of York, indicates that at warmer temperatures brown argus butterflies are able to feed on more common plant species, allowing them to expand into new territory.
Brown argus caterpillars normally feed on the rockrose plant, but they occasionally use plants in the geranium family during warm summers. The rockrose usually lives on sunny, south facing slopes and brown argus caterpillars depended on these warm microclimates for survival. However, for the last 20 years summer temperatures have been on the rise and the brown argus has been shifting it’s egg laying towards geraniums.
To test whether climate caused the shift in food choice, lead author Rachel Pateman…
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