• Question: is global warming affecting you in any way?

    Asked by saadiquack to Asian Hornet, Daubenton's bat, Giant Hogweed, Leathery Sea Squirt, Lion's Mane Jellyfish, Oak Apple Gallwasp, Turkey Oak on 15 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Oak Apple Gallwasp

      Oak Apple Gallwasp answered on 15 Nov 2017:

      Good question! Yes, global warming is problem for all insects that feed on trees and other plants. Most insects need to feed on plants at just the right time of the year, when the nutritional value of leaves is high. This is when leaves are young, and not full of nasty chemicals that the tree puts into leaves later. Global warming is making it hard for many animals to time their lives correctly to get high quality food, and gall wasps are no exception. In fact, for gall wasps the situation is more complicated, because the mother gall wasp needs to lay her eggs in oak buds at just the right time to hijack their development, and produce a gall. If the timing is wrong, for reasons we don’t understand a gall won’t grow.

      So this is complicated. The take home message is that climate change could make populations of lots of herbivores crash – and also the populations of other animals (such as predators) that are dependent on them. For gall wasps, the main dependent animals are insect-eating birds such as blue tits.

      Hope this helps!

    • Photo: Asian Hornet

      Asian Hornet answered on 15 Nov 2017:

      Great question! Climate change will undoubtedly affect the Asian hornet, as it is affecting all biodiversity! Being from Asia, the Asian hornet likes warm places: indeed it has been recently shown, using predictive modelling, that climate change will lead to an increase in climatic suitability for the Asian hornet in many European areas. Increased temperatures will make Central and Eastern Europe a better (and warmer!) home for the asian hornet thus allowing it to more easily spread and establish across Europe. Also the invasion risk in UK is predicted to increase with global warming.
      If you’re keen – have a read of this!

    • Photo: Turkey Oak

      Turkey Oak answered on 15 Nov 2017:

      Yes, global warming will certainly have an effect on tree species. To start with, effect the areas of the world in which we can live; that is the temperate and tropical regions of the world might change so trees will have to migrate or die. Remember, trees can’t move so they can migrate only by dispersal of their seeds.

      Global warming will also have an affect on the availability of water and if there is insufficient water, again, trees, and other organisms (plants and animals), will die.

      However, global warming is the result, in part, of there being more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. So, one could argue, if carbon dioxide limits the rate of photosynthesis, an increase in carbon dioxide might allow some trees to grow more rapidly because they will be able to photosynthesise more efficiently. Obviously, they need to have the right temperature and sufficient water for this to be the case. Probably, any positive effects will be very limited. Generally, changes in climate are reducing tree growth and health.

    • Photo: Lion's Mane Jellyfish

      Lion's Mane Jellyfish answered on 15 Nov 2017:

      Probably! Studies have shown that jellyfish populations increase in warmer years, including the Lion’s Mane. However, until recently most of these studies record all species of jellyfish together. The Lion’s Mane prefers cold water, so you’d think warming would actually reduce its population, but whilst its asexual reproduction period is decreased, the speed at which it reproduces increases at higher temperatures!

      Global warming is also pretty tough on jellyfish predators, meaning fewer jellyfish get eaten (as they can deal much better with the rising heat).

      Finally, global warming brings more storms with it, which can greatly increase the movement of jellyfish populations.

    • Photo: Daubenton's Bat

      Daubenton's Bat answered on 15 Nov 2017:

      There isn’t direct evidence that climate change is impacting on me and my fellow Daubenton’s bats yet but…bats may be affected by climate change at all stages in their annual cycle: temperature changes may affect hibernation of bats, both in terms of the availability of suitable sites and behaviour, length and timing of hibernation. Changes in temperature and precipitation may affect breeding success of female bats through changes in prey availability, including the time of year when insects are abundant. Climate change may also affect the habitat types and insect prey types (and some of the answers given already indicate that is actually happening) available for bats for foraging, which could have indirect effects on bat populations. The distribution of UK bat species may also change in response to climate change.

    • Photo: Leathery Sea Squirt

      Leathery Sea Squirt answered on 18 Nov 2017:

      We sea squirts are one of the unusual animals who seem to be benefiting from global warming, and there are several reasons for that…

      1. We are a very tough species and can survive in water between 2 and 20 degrees Celcius. However, we only reproduce when the water is warmer than 15C. As the oceans warm up, there will be more waters we are able to breed in!

      2. We think the oceans are going to get more acidic in the future because of climate change. Scientists did an experiment where they grew sea squirts and other bottom dwelling animals in a tank of normal sea water, and others in a tank of water which is as acidic as we think the sea will be in 50 years. After a hundred days, the number of sea squirts in the tank had doubled

      3. Because we are very tough, if other species have difficulty dealing with these conditions and die, there will be even more space for us to grow in!

      So yes, for us, global warming seems to be a good thing, at least in the short term! More of us is bad for lots of other species though…
      Some scientists study squirts to see how global warming might affect other similar species