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饥饿的蚱蜢?不断上升的二氧化碳水平会如何引发一场昆虫灾难

  At a Kansas site where plants now have less nutrients,this two-striped grasshopper is in decline

  在堪萨斯州的一个地方,由于植物的营养成分越来越少,这种双带蚱蜢的数量正在减少

  Many insect populations are declining,and a provocative new hypothesis suggests one problem is that rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide(CO2)are making plants less nutritious.That could spell trouble not just for insects,but for plant eaters of all sizes.

  许多昆虫的数量正在减少,一项颇具争议的新假设表明,大气中二氧化碳含量的上升正在降低植物的营养价值。这不仅会给昆虫带来麻烦,还会给各种规模的食草者带来麻烦。

  Over the past 5 years,several studies have documented dwindling insect populations,prompting“insect apocalypse”headlines and calls for increased conservation efforts.Not everyone was convinced;insect populations can have booms and busts,and the trends might vary depending on the species.Just last week,for example,a meta-analysis of 166 insect populations found that although terrestrial species are indeed declining overall,aquatic insects seem to be doing fine.But a study on the Kansas prairie has convinced Michael Kaspari,an ecologist at the University of Oklahoma,that the decline is real—and that“nutrient dilution”in plants could be a major problem.

  在过去的5年里,一些研究记录了昆虫数量的减少,引发了关于昆虫灾难的头条新闻,并呼吁加大保护力度。并不是所有人都信服;昆虫的数量可能有涨有落,而变化的趋势可能因物种而异。例如,就在上周,一项对166个昆虫种群的荟萃分析(Meta分析)发现,尽管陆生物种总体上确实在减少,但水生昆虫的状况似乎还不错。但是对堪萨斯大草原的一项研究使俄克拉荷马大学的生态学家Michael Kaspari确信,这种下降是真实的,而植物中的“营养物质稀释”可能是一个主要问题。

  “The insect decline papers thus far haven’t been testing particular mechanisms for the declines they purport to show,so this proposed mechanism with concrete data is extremely powerful,”says Chelse Prather,a conservation biologist at the University of Dayton.Nutrient dilution“could be a global problem,”adds Roel van Klink,an entomologist at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research,whose team did last week’s analysis of insect trends.

  代顿大学的保护生物学家Chelse Prather说,“到目前为止,关于昆虫数量减少的论文还没有测试它们所声称的减少的具体机制,因此,这种拟议的机制与具体数据非常重要。”德国生物多样性综合研究中心的昆虫学家Roel van Klink补充说,营养物质稀释“可能是全球性问题”,他的团队上周对昆虫趋势进行了分析。

  Ellen Welti,Kaspari’s postdoc,had been analyzing data on 44 species of grasshoppers at the Konza Prairie Biological Station,a 3487-hectare native tallgrass preserve in northeastern Kansas that is the site of a long-term ecological research(LTER)program.She tracked population trends in two surveys of grasshopper abundance,one done in undisturbed habitats from 1996 to 2017 and another done from 2002 to 2017 where bison grazed.Population booms and busts coincided with major climatic events,such as El Ni?o,a Pacific Ocean disturbance that alters temperature and rainfall.But when Welti factored out those events,it became clear to her and Kaspari that over the long term,the grasshoppers were declining,by 30%over 2 decades.“I was actually quite surprised,”Welti recalls.<-->纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com<-->

  Ellen Welti是Kaspari的博士后,她一直在康扎草原生物站分析44种蝗虫的数据。康扎草原生物站位于堪萨斯州东北部,是一个占地3487公顷的原生高草保护区,是一个长期生态研究(LTER)项目的基地。她在两项关于蝗虫数量的调查中追踪了蝗虫的数量趋势,一项是在1996年至2017年期间在未受干扰的栖息地进行的,另一项是在2002年至2017年期间在野牛吃草的地方进行的。蝗虫数量的大幅变化与主要的气候事件同时发生,例如厄尔尼诺现象,这是来自太平洋的扰动,会改变温度和降雨量。但当Welti把这些因素考虑在内时,她和Kaspari清楚地意识到,从长期来看,蚱蜢数量在20年里减少了30%。“我实际上很惊讶,”Welti回忆道。

  栖息地的丧失和农药是大多数报道的昆虫数量下降的原因

  She and other researchers have assumed that habitat loss and pesticides underlie most of the reported drops in insect numbers.But those factors are not thought to be in play on the Konza Prairie.

  她和其他研究人员认为,栖息地的丧失和农药是大多数报道的昆虫数量下降的原因。但是这些因素并没有在康扎大草原上发挥作用。

  Kaspari and Welti wondered whether another global trend could be responsible.Increasing CO2 concentrations in the air speed plant growth.But as Harvard University planetary health scientist Samuel Myers and his colleagues demonstrated in 2014,plants including wheat,maize,rice,and other major crops grown under expected future CO2 levels accumulate less nitrogen,phosphorous,sodium,zinc,and other nutrients than they do under current CO2 levels.The thinking is that roots cannot keep up with the growth stimulated by the extra carbon and therefore don’t provide adequate supplies of other elements.

  Kaspari和韦尔蒂Welti想知道是否可能有另一种全球趋势。空气中二氧化碳浓度的增加加速了植物的生长。但是,正如哈佛大学的行星健康科学家Samuel Myers和他的同事在2014年证明的那样,包括小麦、玉米、水稻和其他主要农作物在内的植物,在未来预期的二氧化碳水平下生长,它们积累的氮、磷、钠、锌和其他营养物质比当前的二氧化碳水平下要少。他们的想法是,植物的根无法跟上由额外的碳所刺激的生长,因此不能提供足够的其他元素的供应。

  Since then,most of the concern about nutrient dilution has focused on human health.Given the predicted rises in CO2,“diluted”plants could increase the number of people worldwide who are not getting enough nutrients in their diet—already 1 billion or so—by hundreds of millions,Myers says.

纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com



  从那以后,对营养物稀释的大多数关注都集中在人类健康上。迈尔斯说,考虑到二氧化碳含量预计将上升,稀释后的植物可能会使全球营养不足的人数增加数亿人,目前全球营养不足的人数已达10亿左右。

  But he and others have wondered about the broader ecological impact.It“is an enormously important question,”Myers says.“As humans we have a lot of choices about what we eat,but there are a lot of animals that just eat what they eat.”

  但是他和其他人想知道更广泛的生态影响。迈尔斯说:“这是一个非常重要的问题。”“作为人类,我们对所吃的东西有很多选择,但是有很多动物只是在吃他们固定所吃的东西。”

  At the Kansas LTER,other researchers had collected and stored samples of the various grass species each year.So,Welti determined concentrations of 30 elements in those samples.The biomass of the grasses doubled over the past 30 years,but the plants’nitrogen content declined about 42%,phosphorous by 58%,potassium by 54%,and sodium by 90%,Kaspari’s team reported recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.“This paper is a good red flag for the scientific community,”says biologist Arianne Cease at Arizona State University,Tempe.

  在堪萨斯大学,其他研究人员每年都收集和储存不同种类的草的样本。因此,Welti确定了这些样品中30种元素的浓度。卡斯帕里的研究小组最近在《Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences》杂志上发表的研究报告称,过去30年中,禾本科植物的生物量增加了一倍,但植物的氮含量下降了42%,磷含量下降了58%,钾含量下降了54%,钠含量下降了90%。坦佩亚利桑那州立大学的生物学家Arianne Cease说:“对于科学界来说,这篇论文是好信号。”

  慕尼黑工业大学的保护生物学家Sebastian Seibold

  Sebastian Seibold,a conservation biologist at the Technical University of Munich who has been studying insect declines for the past 10 years,cautions that the idea needs to be tested in different ecosystems.“We cannot derive general conclusions from it,”he says.“In German landscapes,there is no evidence for nutrient shortage,”adds Wolfgang W?gele,a taxonomist at the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig.

  慕尼黑工业大学的保护生物学家Sebastian Seibold在过去的10年中一直在研究昆虫的数量下降,他警告说,这一想法需要在不同的生态系统中进行检验。他说:“我们不能从中得出一般性结论。”“在德国风景中,没有证据表明养分短缺。”Alexander Koenig动物学研究博物馆的分类学家Wolfgang Wgele补充道。

  Yet others suspect the work signals a sea change.“The study nicely demonstrates how climate change adds to the global problem of insect decline,even in presumably undisturbed areas,”says Lars Krogmann,a systematic entomologist at the University of Hohenheim.

  还有一些人认为这项工作预示着巨变。霍恩海姆大学系统昆虫学家Lars Krogmann说:“该研究很好地证明了气候变化如何加剧了全球昆虫数量下降的问题,即使是在未受干扰的地区也是如此。”

  Kaspari predicts that as investigators analyse the data sets van Klink pulled together for last week’s study,they will find that plant eaters are among the species most devastated in this decline.At the Konza Prairie,Welti hopes to bolster the hypothesis by looking for a decline in nutrients in the grasshoppers’own tissues.Larger plant eaters,such as elephants,pandas,and elk,may also be at risk,Prather says.“If nutrient dilution is widespread,this has enormous implications for herbivorous organisms all over."

  Kaspari预测,随着调查人员分析van Klink收集的数据集,以进行上周的研究,食草动物是在这种衰退中受到破坏最严重的物种集合。在康扎大草原,Kaspari希望通过寻找蚱蜢自身组织中营养物质的减少来支持这一假设。Prather说,较大的食草动物,例如大象,熊猫和麋鹿,也可能处于危险之中。“如果营养物稀释普遍存在,这将对整个草食生物产生巨大影响。”
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