Yahoo!: Climate change is threatening Antarctica's only insect

UC biologist Joshua Benoit talks about the implications of warming

Yahoo! News turned to University of Cincinnati biologist Joshua Benoit to explain the implications of a study that examined how climate change is affecting Antarctica's only native insect.

Joshua Benoit, an associate professor of biological sciences in UC's College of Arts and Sciences, has studied the tiny Antarctic midge on numerous scientific expeditions to the ice-covered continent.

An Antarctic midge.

The Antarctic midge can withstand freezing and thawing in the variable Antarctica climate. Photo/UC Biology

A study by the University of Kentucky in the journal Functional Ecology warned that a warming climate could push the midge to extinction. Researchers found that a 2-degree increase in winter temperatures could reduce the insect's survival rate.

Benoit, who was not part of the study, told Yahoo! News that if the insect larvae burn through more of their energy reserves in warmer winters, "eventually you'll end up getting extinction from certain islands."

The loss of the insect could have a ripple effect on the continent's food chain.

Read the Yahoo! News story.

Read more about Benoit's research in Antarctica.

Featured image at top: UC biologist Joshua Benoit has conducted multiple research expeditions in Antarctica. Photo/Provided