Catawba College and Davidson College Collaborate on Three Year Research Project Examining Insects in North America

by Catawba College
April 19, 2023

Scientists at Catawba College and Davidson College collaborated on a three-year research project with over 50 other scientists to examine the impact of temperature variation on insects in North America. The research was published in the scientific journal Ecology in late March. Importantly, the research provides a framework for measuring potential future declines of flying insect abundance across all North America.

Insects fly, swim, crawl, dig, and walk. There are more than one million known species of insects, making up two-thirds of all animal life on the planet.

Mark Stanback, Professor of Biology emeritus at Davidson College, states, “While there are only about 11,000 species of birds or 35,000 species of fish, there are over 150,000 species of flies (order Diptera) and over 385,000 species of beetles (order Coleoptera). All these insects play a critical role in pollinating crops (estimated at 75% of all crops), and the loss of pollinators could lead to decreased crop yields and reduced food security. They also play vital roles in pest control, nutrient cycling, and decomposition. Additionally, insects are a critical food source for many species, including birds, mammals, fish, and reptiles, and their decline at the base of a food chain can affect the entire ecosystem.”

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Read the Ecology paper: