18 Mar 2010:
Butterflies Emerging Earlier
as Climate Warms, New Study Says
The earlier emergence of brown butterflies in Australia
over the last six decades has coincided with warming temperatures, a finding that researchers say is evidence of the causal link between climate change and the timing of natural events. Researchers at the University of Melbourne say the butterfly, which is common to the region, has emerged 1.6 days earlier each decade since the 1940s — or about 10.4 days earlier than it did 65 years ago. During that period, temperatures in Melbourne have increased 0.25 degrees F per decade, or roughly 1.5 degrees F overall since the 1940s. In addition, butterfly eggs placed in a controlled laboratory setting also responded to warming conditions, with each larval stage responding in different ways to increased temperatures, said Michael Kearney, lead author of the study and professor at the university’s Department of Zoology. “Shifts in these seasonal life cycle events represent a challenge to species
, altering the food and competition present at the time of hatching,” Kearney said. “Studies such as ours will allow better forecasting of these shifts and help us understand more about their consequences.” The study will be published in the journal Biology Letters
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
Ugandan scientists monitor the impact of climate change on one of Africa’s most diverse forests and its extraordinary wildlife. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
video goes onto the front lines with Colorado firefighters confronting deadly blazes fueled by a hotter, drier climate. Watch the video.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.