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Aug. 19, 2021

Midwest butterflies could be key to understanding insect apocalypse

With the help of a $500,000 grant from the United States Geological Survey Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center and 30 years of data, Michigan State University quantitative ecologist Elise Zipkin and her multi-institution team will shed new light on the “Insect Apocalypse.”

Butterflies, like many insects, are ectotherms — organisms that cannot regulate their own body temperature. These insects require specific temperatures to grow and mature, so climate change could play a major role in their future distributions and population sizes.

Because more data exist for butterflies than many other insect species, studying them could be key to understanding the decline of insect populations worldwide. Although scientists cite many reasons for insect declines, the effects of climate change remain unknown and hard to quantify.

To read more, visit the College of Natural Science website.

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