A new study has found that the changing speed of the wind, or global stilling, can heavily affect the insects’ behavior of hunting.
The researchers at the University of Wisconsin Madison said that along with the rising temperatures and shifting patterns of precipitation the changes in speed of the wind can also damage the biodiversity.
“There are all sorts of other things changing in the environment that is affecting plants and animals and their interactions with each other,” Brandon Barton, a PhD researcher at UW-Madison, said in a press release.
Sharing one of the experiences that inspired the research work, Barton said, “My students and I were standing out in a cornfield as big gusts of wind came by, and the corn stalks were bending almost double. From the perspective of an animal living in the corn, we thought, that’s got to have a big effect.”
According to the researchers, both the poles of the Earth are warming up rapidly and have lowered the temperature difference allowing the formation of the winds. On the other hand, the buildings and man-made structures have slowed down the wind speed.
It was found that some insects like the Asian lady beetle are affected by the changes in the speed of the wind.
For the study, the research team grew soybeans in alfalfa fields. The researchers also installed barricades in some of the plots, while few were left open to natural wind.
During the study, it was found that lady beetles gave more preference to the sheltered plots and their prey i.e. the soybean aphid loved living in the wind-swept fields.
“The aphids appear on the plants whether it’s windy or not. We successfully showed that in lab experiments. But when the predators were added with the wind block, the beetles ate something like twice as many aphids,” Barton said in a press release.
Researchers conducted controlled lab experiments and stimulated wind speeds by bending and shaking the plants. The researchers found that lady beetles were most likely inclined towards a still plant than those that are constantly moving.
Explaining the study’s findings in a simpler way, Barton said, “How will be the duty of a predator can be delivered if the entire world is moving around? In similar way if the plant is moving, it takes four times as long for the predator to start eating. It also cuts its efficiency of eating as it eats less than half as many aphids in an hour.
The study, funded by National Science Foundation, has been published in the journal Ecology.
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