UCL Division of Biosciences


GEE Friday Seminar - Dr Charlie Outhwaite, Postdoctoral Researcher, CBER

26 November 2021, 3:00 pm–4:00 pm


Title: 'Agriculture and climate change interact to reshape insect biodiversity worldwide'

Event Information

Open to

UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni




Bouwe Reijenga


Hybrid Zoom Meeting
Darwin Lecture Theatre

Abstract: In recent years, several studies have investigated changes in insect biodiversity. Biodiversity changes are driven primarily by land-use change, and increasingly by climate change, but no study has assessed the effect of these drivers on insect biodiversity globally nor, importantly, the potential for interactions between these drivers. Here, we show that the interaction between rapid historical climate warming and intensive agricultural land use is associated with a reduction of almost 50% in abundance and of 27% in numbers of species within insect assemblages, compared to less-disturbed habitats with lower rates of historical climate warming. These patterns are particularly evident in the tropical realm, whereas some positive responses of biodiversity to climate change are seen in non-topical regions in natural habitats. Importantly, a high availability of nearby natural habitat often buffered the reductions in insect abundance and richness associated with agricultural land use and rapid climate change, but only in low-intensity agricultural systems. Our results show that insect biodiversity will likely benefit from mitigating climate change, preserving natural habitat within landscapes, and reducing the intensity of agriculture.

About the Speaker

Dr Charlie Outhwaite

Postdoctoral Researcher at UCL

Charlie works on the NERC funded BIOTA project which aims to determine the interactions and trade-offs between biodiversity, agriculture and trade. She has been looking at how characteristics of the surrounding landscape, including landscape composition and complexity, influence local biodiversity within cropland systems. She is interested in what drives insect biodiversity change and has been looking at the interactions between land use, use intensity and climate change and their impact on insect biodiversity.  This work has lead to an interest in how biodiversity change linked to these drivers, may impact ecosystem functions and services. These areas of research have been exploring biodiversity change using the PREDICTs database.Outside of the BIOTA project, Charlie is interested in large-scale biodiversity monitoring, the generation of biodiversity indicators, and the use of occurrence records to determine large-scale species trends, particularly patterns of biodiversity of understudied taxa such as invertebrates.

More about Dr Charlie Outhwaite