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A recent news headline from the School of Biological Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, says it all:  “Two Degrees Decimated Puerto Rico’s Insect Populations.”

So, what is killing all those insects? Scientists think a lot of the damage is due to global warming. Here is one astonishing fact. The average temperature in northeastern Puerto Rico tropical forests since the 1970s has steadily climbed and is now 2 degrees Celsius warmer. That’s a climb of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Those sound like small numbers, but the fragile balance of nature on our planet lives within narrow temperature ranges. Biologists from Rensselaer decided to study insects in a place on Earth not much bothered by humans. They chose the Luquillo forest of northeastern Puerto Rico to see what was happening to the populations of winged insects called arthropods. Think of butterflies, dragonflies, grasshoppers, moths, spiders and beetles.

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Category: Science