Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

02 November 2015

Bugs collected on rooftop for 18 years reveal climate change effects

CLIMATE

A volunteer registration of insects for 18 consecutive years on the roof of the Natural History Museum of Denmark has revealed local insect community turnover due to climate change. The research suggests a pattern of specialised species being more sensitive to climate change.

1543 different species of moths and beetles and more than 250.000 individuals have been registered on a single urban rooftop in Copenhagen over 18 years of monitoring. That corresponds to 42 % of all the species of moths in Denmark and 12 % of the beetles. More interestingly, the insect community has changed significantly during that period. The results are published today in the Journal of Animal Ecology led by researchers from the Center for GeoGenetics and the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the Natural History Museum of Denmark at the University of Copenhagen.

“We are likely to lose some specialist species as they retreat north, but more new specialist species will arrive from the south. This trend is theoretically expected but extremely rare to confirm with observations across this many species. Insects are often over-looked and under prioritised for long term studies” says the other lead authorPeter Søgaard Jørgensen, PhD from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate.

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