Climate Change Extinctions


Western Glacier Stonefly, Zapada glacier
Photo: Joe Giersch /USGS

The US Geological Survey tracks changing climate conditions including the extent of glaciation. Glacier National Park in Montana has high elevation glaciers that have been receding rapidly due to warmer temperatures. The USGS* estimates that the glaciers in Glacier National Park will cease to exist by the year 2030. This is bad news for streams that are fed by ice stored in the glaciers that melt in the summer months. Those streams may increase in temperature or dry up That will threaten the biota dependent on these unique habitats.

The Western Glacier Stonefly, Zapada glacier, is a rare insect protected because of its threatened habitat. Only 25 specimens exist in collections. Once found in 6 streams, the stonefly is now only found in one stream and 2 alpine springs. Endangered and threatened species are usually protected by protecting and managing their habitat. Protecting a habitat against human development and encroachment is an easier task than protecting against climate change. Perhaps a creative solution can be found. More likely, climate change will result in the loss of Zapada glacier and many other species.

*Rare Insect Found Only in Glacier National Park Imperiled by Melting Glaciers

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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2 Responses to Climate Change Extinctions

  1. Well this is real concern, as we have to protect the species there. Some steps should be taken.

  2. Pingback: Living With Insects Blog

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