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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Maricopa, Arizona » U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center » Plant Physiology and Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #313758

Title: Simulated climate-warming increases Coleoptera activity-densities and reduces community diversity in a cereal crop

item BERTHE, SOPHIE - University Of Hull
item DEROCLES, STEPHANE - University Of Hull
item HUNT, DAVID - University Of Hull
item Kimball, Bruce
item EVANS, DARREN - University Of Hull

Submitted to: Agriculture Ecosystems and the Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/5/2015
Publication Date: 5/15/2015
Citation: Berthe, S.C., Derocles, S.A., Lunt, D.H., Kimball, B.A., Evans, D.M. 2015. Simulated climate-warming increases Coleoptera activity-densities and reduces community diversity in a cereal crop. Biology Letters. 2010(2015):11-14.

Interpretive Summary: Global climate change is likely to affect the growth of plants, insects, and other organisms in agricultural ecosystems. To assess the likely effects on some predatory beetles, the temperature and water supply of some open field plots of wheat were experimentally increased using infrared heaters and supplemental irrigation. Insects were trapped, and numbers of four predominate species were found to have increased. Because these species were predatory, this research implies that natural control of such pests as aphids may improve in the future. This research helps all consumers of food and feed.

Technical Abstract: To assess one likely effect of global warming, we experimentally increased the temperature and precipitation of a coleopteran community (mainly Carabidae) of an agro-ecosystem. We simulated climate change on a field of spring wheat by experimentally increasing the temperature by 2°C using infrared heaters and precipitation by 10% using supplemental irrigation. We trapped and identified coleopteran species weekly using pitfall traps in 24 experimental plots. Abundance, species richness, Shannon index, Simpson index and Evenness were calculated for each plot. We found a significant increase in the abundance of the four most trapped species due to warming. However, the abundance of Staphylinidae beetles was negatively affected by the warming treatments, while other species were not affected. Diversity indexes decreased as a result of warming, showing that we have a loss of diversity in coleopteran communities. We provide the first open field experimental evidence of climate-driven impacts on an important farmland insect community. We discuss the implications of our results in the context of biological control and top-down effects across trophic levels.