The analysis predicts that the mosquitoes' chance of surviving and emerging to adulthood will increase by more than 50 percent if Arctic temperatures rise by 2 C. The findings are important because changes in time and intensity of Their appearance influences their role as a pest to people and wildlife, as pollinators of tundra plants, and as food for other species, including Arctic and migratory birds.
The researchers of this study, which is detailed in an article published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, say that this population and climate model they developed for Arctic mosquitoes and their predators can be generalized to any ecosystem. where survival depends on sensitivity to changes in temperature. Climate change is raising temperatures globally, greatly influencing insects' physiology, growth rates, and survival, including their ability to elude predators.
Average temperatures in the Arctic have increased at twice the global rate in the last hundred years and the low biodiversity of Arctic ecosystems provides a simple predator-prey interaction for this study. Arctic mosquitoes develop in temporary shallow ponds as a result of the thaw during spring in the tundra, where their main predators are diving beetles.
Using field and laboratory studies, the researchers measured the impacts of rising temperatures on the development and predation rates of immature mosquitoes in western Greenland. They then developed a model to assess how temperature affects their survival from immature to adulthood across a range of temperatures in future climate change scenarios for the Arctic.
The results show that warmer spring temperatures caused mosquitoes to emerge two weeks earlier and shortened their development time throughout the larval and pupal stages by about 10 percent for each degree Celsius increase in temperature. Warming raised the number of mosquitoes that were eaten by diving beetles, but the rapid growth of mosquitoes in their vulnerable juvenile stages decreased their time with aquatic predators, ultimately increasing their likelihood of surviving into adulthood. .
With a 2 C warming scenario, these researchers 'model predicts that the mosquitoes' survival probability will increase by 53 percent. The reproductive success of Arctic mosquitoes depends on females finding a source of blood, which is expected to increase as warming further synchronizes their life cycle with caribou calvings. The lambing season of these mammals benefits mosquitoes, giving them a less mobile and larger herd to feed on, including vulnerable calves.
"Increased mosquito abundance, as well as northward expansions of additional pest species, will have negative consequences for caribou health and reproduction," warns lead author Lauren Culler, postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Arctic Studies. from the Dickey Center in Dartmouth. "Warming in the Arctic may challenge the sustainability of wild caribou and reindeer in Fennoscandia (Norway, Sweden, Finland and parts of northwestern Russia), which are an important resource for the livelihoods of local communities," he adds.