Global Stilling is a complex environmental issue which we have been faced with for years. According to a new study by the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the phenomenon involving changes in wind speed, can affect the foraging behavior of insects.
Foraging is searching for wild food resources that plays an important role in an animal’s ability to survive and reproduce.
The researchers raised an alarm that changes in wind speed can causes damage to the environment.
The study is investigation into the prospective side effects of earlier research that expects wind speed in Midwest decreasing by 15 percent this century.
Brandon Barton, a UW-Madison postdoctoral researcher said in a news release, “There are all sorts of other things that are changing in the environment that affect animals and plants and their interactions.”
“My students and I were standing out in a cornfield one day 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,”he added.
The researchers said that the warming up of the Earth’s poles has decreased the temperature difference that let the winds’ formation. The air around the world is witnessing rising temperature, with this the colder air required to produce stronger wind gusts is no more frequent. The man-made structures are also interfering with the speed of wind and has gradually decelerated wind speed.
While watching cornstalks with a group of his students, a postdoctoral student Brandon Barton developed the concept behind the study.
In the process he saw a big flurry of wind caused the plants to bed strikingly. Barton instantly thought of the effect that it can have on the insect and its behavior.
For the study, the team grew soybeans in alfalfa fields and installed barricades in some of the plots and allowed some of the plots open to natural wind.
The lady beetles who is found to be affected by the phenomenon preferred to be in the sheltered plots and their prey, the soyabean aphid, are more attracted to windier climates.
“The aphids appear on the plants whether it’s windy or not, and we showed that in lab experiments,” Barton said.
“But when you add the predators, with the wind block, the beetles eat something like twice as many aphids.”
“How do you do your duty as a predator if you’re entire world is moving around?” said Barton. “If the plant is moving, it takes four times as long for the predator to start eating, and it eats less than half as many aphids in an hour.”
The study published in the journal Ecology was funded by National Science Foundation.