Research into extreme weather effects may explain recent butterfly decline

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Common Blue butterfly. Photo by Dr Aldina Franco.

This post is a press release from the authors of Journal of Animal Ecology paper “Sensitivity of UK butterflies to local climatic extremes: which life stages are most at risk?” by Osgur McDermott Long et al. Issued by University of East Anglia.

 

Increasingly frequent extreme weather events could threaten butterfly populations in the UK and could be the cause of recently reported butterfly population crashes, according to research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Researchers investigated the impact of Extreme Climatic Events (ECEs) on butterfly populations. The study shows that the impact can be significantly positive and negative, but questions remain as to whether the benefits outweigh the negative effects.

While it is well known that changes to the mean climate can affect ecosystems, little is known about the impact of short-term extreme climatic events (ECEs) such as heatwaves, heavy rainfall or droughts. Continue reading