More Than 75 Percent Decline Over 27 Years in Total Flying Insect Biomass in Protected Areas

GENETIC ENGINEERING, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE, ACADEMIA-KNOWLEDGE-SCHOLARSHIP, 23 Oct 2017

Caspar A. Hallmann , Martin Sorg, et al. | PLOS One – TRANSCEND Media Service

Pesticides could be to blame for decline in flying insects.

Abstract

18 Oct 2017 – 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.

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Caspar A. Hallmann – Roles Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Software, Validation, Visualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing. E-mail: c.hallmann@science.ru.nl. Affiliation Radboud University, Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Animal Ecology and Physiology & Experimental Plant Ecology, PO Box 9100, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands ORCID http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4630-0522

Martin Sorg – Roles Conceptualization, Data curation, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Resources, Writing – review & editing. Affiliation Entomological Society Krefeld e.V., Entomological Collections Krefeld, Marktstrasse 159, 47798 Krefeld, Germany

Eelke Jongejans – Roles Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Supervision, Writing – review & editing. Affiliation Radboud University, Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Animal Ecology and Physiology & Experimental Plant Ecology, PO Box 9100, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Henk Siepel – Roles Conceptualization, Investigation, Supervision, Writing – review & editing. Affiliation Radboud University, Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Animal Ecology and Physiology & Experimental Plant Ecology, PO Box 9100, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Nick Hofland – Roles Formal analysis, Resources, Software, Validation. Affiliation Radboud University, Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Animal Ecology and Physiology & Experimental Plant Ecology, PO Box 9100, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Heinz Schwan – Roles Data curation, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Writing – review & editing. Affiliation Entomological Society Krefeld e.V., Entomological Collections Krefeld, Marktstrasse 159, 47798 Krefeld, Germany

Werner Stenmans – Roles Data curation, Funding acquisition, Methodology, Project administration, Writing – review & editing. Affiliation Entomological Society Krefeld e.V., Entomological Collections Krefeld, Marktstrasse 159, 47798 Krefeld, Germany

Andreas Müller – Roles Data curation, Project administration, Resources, Writing – review & editing. Affiliation Entomological Society Krefeld e.V., Entomological Collections Krefeld, Marktstrasse 159, 47798 Krefeld, Germany

Hubert Sumser – Roles Data curation, Investigation, Methodology, Resources, Writing – review & editing. Affiliation Entomological Society Krefeld e.V., Entomological Collections Krefeld, Marktstrasse 159, 47798 Krefeld, Germany

Thomas Hörren – Roles Data curation, Investigation, Methodology, Resources, Writing – review & editing. Affiliation Entomological Society Krefeld e.V., Entomological Collections Krefeld, Marktstrasse 159, 47798 Krefeld, Germany

Dave Goulson – Roles Conceptualization, Investigation, Writing – review & editing. Affiliation University of Sussex, School of Life Sciences, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QG, United Kingdom

Hans de Kroon – Roles Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Resources, Supervision, Writing – review & editing. Affiliation Radboud University, Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Animal Ecology and Physiology & Experimental Plant Ecology, PO Box 9100, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands

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