Nov 20, 2016

Small Alpine Insects are Big Messengers of Climate Change

West Glacier, MT
SurfKY News

Two rare alpine insects--native to the northern Rocky Mountains and dependent on cold waters of glacier and snowmelt-fed alpine streams — are imperiled due to climate warming-induced glacier and snow loss according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners.


“Alpine aquatic insects living in glacier and snow-fed streams are adapted to very cold water temperatures and are therefore especially vulnerable to warming and snow and ice loss,” said Joe Giersch, USGS entomologist and lead author of the study. “Although this research is focused on two insect species, our findings apply to entire communities of alpine stream organisms, the survival of which depends on the presence of permanent ice and snow feeding the streams in which they live.”