No net insect abundance and diversity declines across US Long Term Ecological Research sites

Michael S. Crossley, Amanda R. Meier, Emily M. Baldwin, Lauren L. Berry, Leah C. Crenshaw, Glen L. Hartman, Doris Lagos-Kutz, David H. Nichols, Krishna Patel, Sofia Varriano, William E. Snyder, Matthew D. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent reports of dramatic declines in insect abundance suggest grave consequences for global ecosystems and human society. Most evidence comes from Europe, however, leaving uncertainty about insect population trends worldwide. We used '5,300 time series for insects and other arthropods, collected over 4–36 years at monitoring sites representing 68 different natural and managed areas, to search for evidence of declines across the United States. Some taxa and sites showed decreases in abundance and diversity while others increased or were unchanged, yielding net abundance and biodiversity trends generally indistinguishable from zero. This lack of overall increase or decline was consistent across arthropod feeding groups and was similar for heavily disturbed versus relatively natural sites. The apparent robustness of US arthropod populations is reassuring. Yet, this result does not diminish the need for continued monitoring and could mask subtler changes in species composition that nonetheless endanger insect-provided ecosystem services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1368-1376
Number of pages9
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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