Climate Change Threatens Tropics Via Fig Wasps

There are more than 700 species of wild fig in the tropics, reports Sindya Bhanoo at the New York Times, and most, remarkably, can be pollinated only by a unique species of fig wasp. In turn, the wasps rely on fig plants as hosts for their eggs. Neither species can survive without the other, a relationship known as obligate mutualism. Now a new study from equatorial Singapore, in the journal Biology Letters, finds that the wasps are very vulnerable to climate change — meaning that the wild fig plants are, too. And that is ominous news for many other species, the researchers say. “Figs are a very important food resource in the ecosystem,” said report co-author Nanthinee Jevanandam, a Singaporean biologist. “We have a large range of birds, squirrels, macaques and other primates that feed off figs.” The scientists found that temperature increases of a few degrees, from 80 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit, could cut the adult life spans of pollinating fig wasps to just a few hours, from one or two days.

Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here: http://signon.org/sign/we-are-the-clean-99?source=c.em.cp&r_by=487176 . This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is in 2 years!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.

 

For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/index.php?author=mary-ellen-harte

 

Source

 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/26/science/fig-wasps-crucial-tropical-pollinators-face-a-climate-threat.html?_r=0

The study: http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/9/3/20130041.full?sid=23d12bc0-beb7-4b95-9ca5-9315b1bc428e

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About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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