NEW PAPER OUT! Nutrient dilution and climate cycles underlie declines in a dominant insect herbivore


Second paper of 2020 is out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS for short)! Ellen Welti sums up the work nicely here…

“Parsing variation in long-term patterns underlying insect abundances and assigning mechanisms are critical in light of recent reports of dramatic insect declines. Grasshopper abundances in a North American prairie exhibited both 5-y cycles and >2%/y declines over the past 20 y. Large-scale climate oscillations predicted the cycles in grasshopper abundances. Moreover, plant biomass doubled over the same period—likely due to changes in climate and increasing atmospheric CO2—diluting the concentrations in plant tissue of key nutrients which in turn predicted the declines of a dominant herbivore. Nutrient dilution, like CO2 enrichment, is likely a global phenomenon, posing a challenge to Earth’s herbivore populations.”

Check out Ellen’s interview for The Conversation [CLICK HERE] or find the main article on PNAS’s website [CLICK HERE].