There is plenty of room at the bottom: microclimates drive insect vulnerability to climate change

Sylvain Pincebourde, H. Arthur Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations

Abstract

Climate warming impacts biological systems profoundly. Climatologists deliver predictions about warming amplitude at coarse scales. Nevertheless, insects are small, and it remains unclear how much of the warming at coarse scales appears in the microclimates where they live. We propose a simple method for determining the pertinent spatial scale of insect microclimates. Recent studies have quantified the ability of forest understory to buffer thermal extremes, but these microclimates typically are characterized at spatial scales much larger than those determined by our method. Indeed, recent evidence supports the idea that insects can be thermally adapted even to fine scale microclimatic patterns, which can be highly variable. Finally, we discuss how microhabitat surfaces may buffer or magnify the amplitude of climate warming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Insect Science
Volume41
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2020

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