More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas

Published on Oct 18, 2017in PLOS ONE2.776
· DOI :10.1371/journal.pone.0185809
Caspar A. Hallmann7
Estimated H-index: 7
(Radboud University Nijmegen),
Martin Sorg1
Estimated H-index: 1
+ 9 AuthorsHans de Kroon46
Estimated H-index: 46
(Radboud University Nijmegen)
Global declines in insects have sparked wide interest among scientists, politicians, and the general public. Loss of insect diversity and abundance is expected to provoke cascading effects on food webs and to jeopardize ecosystem services. Our understanding of the extent and underlying causes of this decline is based on the abundance of single species or taxonomic groups only, rather than changes in insect biomass which is more relevant for ecological functioning. Here, we used a standardized protocol to measure total insect biomass using Malaise traps, deployed over 27 years in 63 nature protection areas in Germany (96 unique location-year combinations) to infer on the status and trend of local entomofauna. Our analysis estimates a seasonal decline of 76%, and mid-summer decline of 82% in flying insect biomass over the 27 years of study. We show that this decline is apparent regardless of habitat type, while changes in weather, land use, and habitat characteristics cannot explain this overall decline. This yet unrecognized loss of insect biomass must be taken into account in evaluating declines in abundance of species depending on insects as a food source, and ecosystem functioning in the European landscape.
Figures & Tables
  • References (55)
  • Citations (388)
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
2,226 Citations
6 Authors (Rodolfo Dirzo, ..., Ben Collen)
1,013 Citations
134 Citations
78% of Scinapse members use related papers. After signing in, all features are FREE.
#1Gerardo Ceballos (UNAM: National Autonomous University of Mexico)H-Index: 41
#2Paul R. Ehrlich (Stanford University)H-Index: 98
Last. Rodolfo Dirzo (Stanford University)H-Index: 53
view all 3 authors...
The population extinction pulse we describe here shows, from a quantitative viewpoint, that Earth’s sixth mass extinction is more severe than perceived when looking exclusively at species extinctions. Therefore, humanity needs to address anthropogenic population extirpation and decimation immediately. That conclusion is based on analyses of the numbers and degrees of range contraction (indicative of population shrinkage and/or population extinctions according to the International Union for Conse...
339 CitationsSource
#1Osgur McDermott Long (UEA: University of East Anglia)H-Index: 1
#2Rachel Warren (UEA: University of East Anglia)H-Index: 29
Last. Aldina M. A. Franco (UEA: University of East Anglia)H-Index: 21
view all 6 authors...
There is growing recognition as to the importance of extreme climatic events (ECEs) in determining changes in species populations. In fact, it is often the extent of climate variability that determines a population's ability to persist at a given site. This study examined the impact of ECEs on the resident UK butterfly species (n = 41) over a 37-year period. The study investigated the sensitivity of butterflies to four extremes (drought, extreme precipitation, extreme heat and extreme cold), ide...
19 CitationsSource
#1Ben A. WoodcockH-Index: 33
#2Nick J. B. IsaacH-Index: 35
Last. Richard F. PywellH-Index: 42
view all 7 authors...
Neonicotinoid as insecticide on oilseed rape can reduce bee colony density, but its effect at a large geographical scale is unclear. This study describes 18-year long wild bee tracking data in England and show neonicotinoid use is correlated with wild bee population declines at real landscape scales.
115 CitationsSource
#1Roman D. Furrer (Swiss Ornithological Institute)H-Index: 2
#2Gilberto Pasinelli (Swiss Ornithological Institute)H-Index: 21
Assessing the role of local populations in a landscape context has become increasingly important in the fields of conservation biology and ecology. A growing number of studies attempt to determine the source–sink status of local populations. As the source–sink concept is commonly used for management decisions in nature conservation, accurate assessment approaches are crucial. Based on a systematic literature review of studies published between 2002 and 2013, we evaluated a priori predictions on ...
29 CitationsSource
#1Jan Christian Habel (TUM: Technische Universität München)H-Index: 25
#2Andreas H. SegererH-Index: 1
Last. Thomas Schmitt (MLU: Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg)H-Index: 27
view all 6 authors...
Environmental changes strongly impact the distribution of species and subsequently the composition of species assemblages. Although most community ecology studies represent temporal snap shots, long-term observations are rather rare. However, only such time series allow the identification of species composition shifts over several decades or even centuries. We analyzed changes in the species composition of a southeastern German butterfly and burnet moth community over nearly 2 centuries (1840-20...
43 CitationsSource
#1Jeremy A. Thomas (University of Oxford)H-Index: 39
Butterflies are better documented and monitored worldwide than any other nonpest taxon of insects ( 1 ). In the United Kingdom alone, volunteer recorders have sampled more than 750,000 km of repeat transects since 1976, equivalent to walking to the Moon and back counting butterflies ( 2 ). Such programs are revealing regional extinctions and population declines that began before 1900 ( 3 , 4 ). In a recent study, Habel et al. report a similar story based on inventories of butterflies and burnet ...
32 CitationsSource
#1Julie A. Ewald (Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust)H-Index: 8
#2Christopher J. Wheatley (Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust)H-Index: 5
Last. Michael B. Morecroft (Natural England)H-Index: 1
view all 7 authors...
Cereal fields are central to balancing food production and environmental health in the face of climate change. Within them, invertebrates provide key ecosystem services. Using 42 years of monitoring data collected in southern England, we investigated the sensitivity and resilience of invertebrates in cereal fields to extreme weather events and examined the effect of long-term changes in temperature, rainfall and pesticide use on invertebrate abundance. Of the 26 invertebrate groups examined, ele...
22 CitationsSource
#1Douglas M. BatesH-Index: 32
#2Martin MächlerH-Index: 16
Last. Steve WalkerH-Index: 2
view all 4 authors...
Maximum likelihood or restricted maximum likelihood (REML) estimates of the parameters in linear mixed-effects models can be determined using the lmer function in the lme4 package for R. As for most model-fitting functions in R, the model is described in an lmer call by a formula, in this case including both fixed- and random-effects terms. The formula and data together determine a numerical representation of the model from which the profiled deviance or the profiled REML criterion can be evalua...
14.9k CitationsSource
#1Jeff Ollerton (University of Northampton)H-Index: 34
#2Hilary E. Erenler (University of Northampton)H-Index: 2
Last. Robin G M Crockett (University of Northampton)H-Index: 15
view all 4 authors...
Pollinators are fundamental to maintaining both biodiversity and agricultural productivity, but habitat destruction, loss of flower resources, and increased use of pesticides are causing declines in their abundance and diversity. Using historical records, we assessed the rate of extinction of bee and flower-visiting wasp species in Britain from the mid-19th century to the present. The most rapid phase of extinction appears to be related to changes in agricultural policy and practice beginning in...
135 CitationsSource
#1Louie H. Yang (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 23
#2Claudio Gratton (UW: University of Wisconsin-Madison)H-Index: 42
Insects and other small invertebrates are ubiquitous components of all terrestrial and freshwater food webs, but their cumulative biomass is small relative to plants and microbes. As a result, it is often assumed that these animals make relatively minor contributions to ecosystem processes. Despite their small sizes and cumulative biomass, we suggest that these animals may commonly have important effects on carbon and nutrient cycling by modulating the quality and quantity of resources that ente...
46 CitationsSource
Cited By388
#1Krzysztof Kolenda (UWr: University of Wrocław)H-Index: 3
#2Lech Borowiec (California Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 5
Last. Marcin Kadej (UWr: University of Wrocław)H-Index: 7
view all 6 authors...
Abstract The presence of anthropogenic waste in the environment is one of the most pervasive pollution problems affecting wildlife around the world. Among different types of rubbish, beverage containers represent an ecological trap for invertebrates. However, it also may serve as a nest site. In the present study, we aim to assess if ants can exploit discarded containers as nesting sites, the intensity of mortality of ant workers foraging discarded containers, and ant preferences toward particul...
#1Céline Arzel (UH: University of Helsinki)H-Index: 9
#1Céline Arzel (UH: University of Helsinki)H-Index: 5
Last. E EinolaH-Index: 1
view all 11 authors...
Abstract Surface water browning affects boreal lakes in the Northern Hemisphere. This process is expected to increase with global warming. Boreal lakes are the most numerous lakes on Earth. These ecosystems are particularly sensitive to disturbances due to their low biodiversity compared to other aquatic environments. The recent darkening of surface water is expected to hinder key ecosystem processes, particularly through lower primary productivity and loss of biodiversity. However, studies base...
#1Hayley Schroeder (UGA: University of Georgia)H-Index: 1
#2Ania A. Majewska (UGA: University of Georgia)H-Index: 4
Last. Sonia Altizer (UGA: University of Georgia)H-Index: 45
view all 3 authors...
Abstract Mediterranean drylands are particularly vulnerable to predicted increases in aridity which are expected to have negative consequences for biodiversity. To understand the effects of climate change on ecosystems, a framework for the selection of indicators based on the essential biodiversity variables (EBV) was proposed. In this framework, a functional approach has been suggested because functional traits have shown to be sensitive to small-scale environmental changes. Additionally, funct...
#1B. Martay (British Trust for Ornithology)H-Index: 3
Last. James W. Pearce-Higgins (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 30
view all 2 authors...
Abstract Recently detected invertebrate population declines are likely to have far-reaching impacts for ecosystem function. However, very little large-scale monitoring of invertebrates, especially soil invertebrates, has taken place. To address this gap, we established a school-based citizen science project to collect data on soil invertebrate abundance and bird counts across the UK. We examined the association between earthworms (which comprised 93% of the total soil invertebrate biomass in the...
#1Eleonora Pagnotta (Canadian Real Estate Association)H-Index: 8
#1Eleonora Pagnotta (Canadian Real Estate Association)H-Index: 10
Last. M. Bagatta (Canadian Real Estate Association)H-Index: 1
view all 7 authors...
Abstract Reseda lutea L. belongs to the Resedaceae family included in the order of Brassicales. R. lutea is a plant worthy of investigation on an ecological level for its ability to adapt to extreme environmental conditions and for its capacity to attract honeybees and wild pollinators. In the ancient pharmacotherapy it was also known for its healing properties. R. lutea glucosinolates (GSLs) were investigated by HPLC-UV considering their accumulation pattern and their quality profiles during fl...
#1Matthias Seidel (Charles University in Prague)H-Index: 4
#2Yûsuke N. Minoshima (AMNH: American Museum of Natural History)H-Index: 7
Last. Martin Fikáček (Charles University in Prague)H-Index: 11
view all 4 authors...
The New Zealand endemic beetle genus Saphydrus Sharp, 1884 (Coleoptera : Hydrophilidae : Cylominae) is studied in order to understand its phylogenetic position, species-level systematics, biology and distribution, and to reveal reasons for its rarity. The first complete genus-level phylogeny of Cylominae based on two mitochondrial (cox1, 16S) and two nuclear genes (18S, 28S) covering 18 of 19 genera of the subfamily reveals Saphydrus as an isolated lineage situated in a clade with Cylorygmus (So...
#1Katherine A. ParysH-Index: 5
#2Isaac L. EsquivelH-Index: 1
Last. Michael J. BrewerH-Index: 19
view all 5 authors...
Native bees (Hymenoptera: Anthophila) were sampled using bee bowls in two states to determine biodiversity in commercial cotton fields of the southern United States. In both states, native bee communities found in cotton fields were dominated by generalist pollinators in the genera Agapostemon, Augochloropsis, Halictus, and Lasioglossum (Hymenoptera: Halictidae), and Melissodes (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Melissodes tepaneca (Cresson) was the most abundant species found in cotton fields in both state...