Climate change and the life histories and biogeography of aquatic insects in eastern North America

350 210 Stroud Water Research Center

Sweeney, B.W., J.K. Jackson, J.D. Newbold, and D.H. Funk. 1992. Pages 143–176 in Firth and S. G. Fisher (editors). Global climate change and freshwater ecosystems. Springer-Verlag, New York, New York.



One of the most important factors affecting the life history characteristics and biogeography of aquatic insects is temperature (Sweeney, 1984). Insects are poikilothermic (cold-blooded) animals whose metabolism, rate and magnitude of growth, development, and overall behavioral activities respond significantly to thermal change on a diel, seasonal, and annual basis (Ward and Stanford, 1982). Despite this sensitivity to temperature, most aquatic insect species can be found in aquatic habitats over a broad geographic area that includes a wide range of thermal regimes. Obviously, these aquatic insect species possess bioenergetic, developmental, and/or behavioral mechanisms that enable conspecific populations to survive and reproduce in very different environmental conditions.