Thursday, 29 December 2016

Study tracks trillions of insects migrating in the UK

December 23, 2016

by Chuck Bednar

After a decade’s worth of effort, an international team of researchers has for the first time been able to track the swarms of migratory insects that soar above the skies of southern England each year, according to a new study published online Friday by the journal Science.

What they found was that approximately 3.5 trillion bugs and butterflies migrate annual above the region, and that together they comprise 3,200 tons of biomass – seven times greater than the mass of songbirds that travel from the UK to Africa each year, and equal to some 20,000 flying reindeer, scientists from the University of Exeter and Rothamsted Research reported. According to BBC News, the researchers counted the swarms of insects using a combination of vertical radar and balloon-mounted insect nets. They calculated the numbers of insects that flew at altitudes of 150 and 1,200 meters, both during the day and at night, for a total of 10 years.

“Insect bodies are rich in nutrients and the importance of these movements is underappreciated,” co-author Dr. Jason Chapman from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter's Cornwall-based Penryn Campus explained in a statement. “If the densities observed over southern UK are extrapolated to the airspace above all continental landmasses, high-altitude insect migration represents the most important annual animal movement in ecosystems on land.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails