An endangered aquatic insect that lives in icy streams fed by glaciers might not mind if the water grows warmer due to climate change.
A study published in Global Change Biology on July 22 found that mountain stoneflies can tolerate warmer water temperatures at least temporarily. In fact, they might even be stressed in their current extremely cold environments.
While the study goes against the prevailing theory that rising water temperatures will be devastating for the glacial stream insects, Scott Hotaling, co-lead author on the study, said this does not mean that global warming will be a win for mountain stoneflies.
"These species are likely still very much in peril," said Hotaling, a Washington State University post-doctoral researcher. "They live in these extreme areas for a reason. The problem is we don't fully understand what that reason is yet. The threats from warming and the loss of glaciers are likely more complicated, and potentially, it is not about physical factors. It might be about ecological factors."