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Scientists know surprisingly little about the heat and cold tolerances of insects, especially tropical ones

An aerial view of the Yasuni National Park, in Ecuador's northeastern jungle.
Dolores Ochoa
An aerial view of the Yasuni National Park, in Ecuador's northeastern jungle.

Some tropical bugs may take climate change harder than insects in areas where the temperature varies throughout the year.

That, perhaps surprising, finding came out of a long-term study by ecologist Alisha Shah. She’s based at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station. Shah spent about five years studying insects in streams, in Ecuador and Colorado. She found the bugs in hot climates actually had a smaller range of temperatures in which they could function.

"Those insects are going to have a much harder time dealing with warming in their streams just because they’re not adapted as far as we can tell to these sort of changing conditions." said Shah.

Shah will give a talk on her findings Tuesday at 6:30 pm at the Kellogg Biological Station. The talk will also be livestreamed on Zoom.

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in January 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. Before that she covered a variety of topics, including environmental issues, for Bloomington, Indiana NPR and PBS affiliates WFIU and WTIU. She’s also written and produced stories for the Pacifica Network and WYSO Public Radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Sehvilla holds a B.A. in French from Earlham College and an M.A. in journalism from Indiana University.