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Life on Earth more adaptable than models predict

Posted By Joanne Nova On August 6, 2015 @ 4:07 pm In Biology,Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Potato Beetle, adaptable to climate change

Potato Beetle

Researchers predicted a particular beetle would not be able to get into the cold areas of Kazakhstan and western China. But the sneaky beetles learnt to cope with the cold by burying themselves in the ground.  The modelers failed completely to predict the spread. Imagine the ecological modelers who are not only using inadequate biological models, but guesstimating the future temperature with climate models that don’t work either.

In the last 500 million years as life on Earth evolved the temperature has swung up and down through a range of about 15C. We are currently in the cooler half of that temperature range, in a mini-warm-moment surrounded by ice ages. Despite this, the climate-industry is panicking that a half a degree of extra warmth this century will wipe out species that survived the last ten million years.

The potato beetle laughs at them.

Crop pests outwit climate change predictions en route to new destinations

Scientists highlight the dangers of relying on climate-based projections of crop pest distribution

…Dr Bebber uses the example of the Colorado potato beetle, an important pest of potato crops whose spread across much of the Northern Hemisphere has been linked to global warming. Although the beetle had invaded most European and Central Asian countries by 1950, one leading climate change computer model predicted it would be unable to establish in Kazakhstan and western China. In fact, the pest spread rapidly through the region — entering Xinjiang Province in China from Kazakhstan around 1992.

This difficulty in projecting future distributions was partly down to the Colorado potato beetle proving to be highly adaptable, evolving its behaviour to burrow down and escape the cold.

Dr Bebber said: “Our review has highlighted how difficult it is to predict where damaging crop pests may turn up. Their ability to evolve tolerance to different climates has been investigated in only a few species but has not been considered in distribution models. We now urgently need to improve monitoring and identification of these pests, particularly in the developing world, both for research and to secure food production.”

Science Daily

Daniel Patrick Bebber. Range-Expanding Pests and Pathogens in a Warming World. Annual Review of Phytopathology, 2014; 53 (1): 150605182533006 DOI: 10.1146/annurev-phyto-080614-120207

Related posts: Humans live from -50C to +40C, but two more degrees will kill us. Panic now.

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