Aquatic insects as target organisms for the study of effects of projected climate change in the British Isles

One of the objectives of the Terrestrial Initiative in Global Environmental Research is to assess the sensitivity of British plant and animal species to climate change. The first phase of the program involved the identification of criteria for selecting species suitable for the study of effects of projected climate change in the British Isles. Apart from shallow ponds, annual temperature ranges of 0 to 25 C in temperate freshwater habitats are narrower than those in most temperate terrestrial habitats. Although freshwater organisms have to exist within a narrower range than their terrestrial equivalents, few species can survive throughout their life cycle over the whole temperature range. Field studies on the effects of natural and artificial thermal discharges into streams and rivers have shown that increases in water temperature affect aquatic insects at both the species and community level. Although field data provide valuable information, a more productive approach is to determine experimentally the requirements of different species. Although there are just over 1850 species of aquatic insects in the British Isles, detailed quantitative information on the relationship between temperature and development of eggs, larvae and pupa is available for relatively few species. One exception is the egg stage of stoneflies (Plecoptera). The range for egg hatching in stoneflies clearly show that some species could be threatened while others could benefit from a defined increase in water temperature as a result of climate change. A critical review of the available data on this group would produce a set of equations that could be used to predict the ecological effects of climate change on this group of indicator species.

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Elliott, J.M.
Format: article biblioteca
Published: 1991
Subjects:Ecology, Pollution, Limnology, Aquatic insects, climate changes, Plecoptera, Great Britain, species composition,
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