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Grantee Research Project Results
STAR Fellow and Grantee Co-Author Article
Former Science to Achieve Results (STAR) fellow Michael Dillon and STAR grantee Melanie Frazier have co-authored a paper on the physiology and evolution of alpine insects for the journal Integrative and Comparative Biology (Vol. 46, Number 1, February 2006). Written with Dr. Robert Dudley of the University of California at Berkeley, the article reviews existing literature, presents new empirical data that better characterizes the high-altitude environment, and considers how this environment affects the physiology and evolution of insects. Numerous physical parameters that influence insect physiology vary substantially with altitude, including temperature, air density, and oxygen pressure. The authors conclude that flying insects compensate for low air densities with both short-term responses, such as increased stroke amplitude, and long-term developmental and/or evolutionary increases in wing size relative to body size. In addition, based on a literature survey of thirty-six insect species, those living in colder, higher altitudes do not tend to have larger body sizes.
As a 1999 STAR fellow, Dillon investigated the relationship between insect flight and the physical properties of air. As a STAR grantee, Ms. Frazier examined the physiological and evolutionary processes that impact insects living along altitudinal gradients. Both are graduate students in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington. For more information, please see http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/display.abstractDetail/abstract/5330/report/0 and http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/display.abstractDetail/abstract/7295/report/0.