Event Title

Pollinator Growth Rates in a Changing Climate

Session Number

Project ID: BIO 09

Advisor(s)

Dr. Jessica Amacher, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Discipline

Biology

Start Date

20-4-2022 8:50 AM

End Date

20-4-2022 9:05 AM

Abstract

While climate change threatens extreme weather events and rising ocean levels, its effects will also impact important pollinators that we rely on for crops and native ecosystems. While the larval stages are considered to be an agricultural pest, in their adult stage, the hawk moths are important pollinators, contributing heavily to healthy, native ecosystems in the Midwest. Temperature-induced changes in hawk moth growth rates will be felt in forest preserves, prairie landscapes, and even our own gardens. This study investigated how the tobacco hornworms’ life cycles change in temperatures approximating that of a century ago, conditions today, and predictions for rising temperatures fifty years in the future. We raised groups of worms from an early larval stage to adulthood, documenting their growth weekly. We found that higher temperatures increase the growth of the worms and accelerate pupation and emergence times. Pollinators living accelerated life cycles in warmer temperatures may result in far-reaching implications for the future of native pollinator-plant relationships here in our own community.

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Apr 20th, 8:50 AM Apr 20th, 9:05 AM

Pollinator Growth Rates in a Changing Climate

While climate change threatens extreme weather events and rising ocean levels, its effects will also impact important pollinators that we rely on for crops and native ecosystems. While the larval stages are considered to be an agricultural pest, in their adult stage, the hawk moths are important pollinators, contributing heavily to healthy, native ecosystems in the Midwest. Temperature-induced changes in hawk moth growth rates will be felt in forest preserves, prairie landscapes, and even our own gardens. This study investigated how the tobacco hornworms’ life cycles change in temperatures approximating that of a century ago, conditions today, and predictions for rising temperatures fifty years in the future. We raised groups of worms from an early larval stage to adulthood, documenting their growth weekly. We found that higher temperatures increase the growth of the worms and accelerate pupation and emergence times. Pollinators living accelerated life cycles in warmer temperatures may result in far-reaching implications for the future of native pollinator-plant relationships here in our own community.