Far-Reaching Implications of Global Warming

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“Temperature is probably the single most important environmental factor influencing insect behavior, distribution, development, survival, and reproduction“. (Bale et al 2002). Since insects are cold-blooded, the environmental temperature plays a very important role in an insect’s homeostasis. Homeostasis is the relatively constant internal physical and chemical condition that organisms maintain. Once the temperature has changed from its norm, an insect’s daily functions would be disrupted. “It has been estimated that with a 2 degree Celsius temperature increase insects might experience one to five additional life cycles per season” (Yamamura & Kiritani 1998). Scientists believe a warmer climate may result in higher insect populations. However, studies have shown that butterflies prefer a cooler climate. The butterfly population is decreasing at sea level but is increasing at tree line as butterflies migrate to cooler areas. For example, the Brown Argus Butterfly has shifted where its populations are most dense; a butterfly that was once predominantly found in Southern Britain, has now relocated to Northern Britain, a dramatic change of 79 kilometers. Butterflies at the highest-elevation site are appearing with increasing regularity. Those that normally breed at 7,000 feet now breed at 9,000 feet. When an area changes from rural to urban or suburban, the greatest butterfly losses occur. This proves that global warming is having an effect on organisms, even if the change
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