Death by a thousand cuts: insect declines in the Anthropocene [S-5]

Carlos Garcia-Robledo, University of Connecticut
David L. Wagner, University of Connecticut

Recent reports have drawn attention to declines in insect abundance, biomass, species richness, and their distribution. Whether the rates of declines for tropical insects are on par with or exceed those reported for groups such as vertebrates or plants still remains unknown. The goal of our symposium is to bridge theoretical perspectives and long-term studies with the latest research on the mechanisms associated with tropical insect declines.

We will first address the different anthropogenic factors generating insect declines, and how such declines affect virtually all ecological processes - from biotic interactions to ecosystem functioning. Finally, the symposium highlights two recent empirical studies on insect declines. The first explores long-term patterns in insect declines in a guild of tropical rain forest insects. The second study focuses on demographic processes of insect declines along tropical mountains, and how global warming is already affecting incipient insect speciation, specially in hybrid zones. The last section of the symposium will be a discussion on the challenges and actions needed to detect and mitigate global insect declines.

Illustration: Carlos Garcia-Robledo

Anthropogenic assaults on Darwin’s endless forms: A synopsis of global insect decline (David L. Wagner)

Long-term trends in interaction diversity in a tropical lowland and tropical highland forest (Danielle Salcido)

Tropical mountain passes become higher with global warming: demographic attritions and extinctions of incipient insect species along tropical mountains (Carlos Garcia-Robledo)

A thousand cuts to Costa Rican insect biodiversity: be kind to the survivors (Daniel H Janzen)



Death by a thousand cuts: insect declines in the Anthropocene [S-5]