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Aphid aerial density profiles are consistent with turbulent advection amplifying flight behaviours: abandoning the epithet ‘passive’

Aphid aerial density profiles are consistent with turbulent advection amplifying flight behaviours: abandoning the epithet ‘passive’

Reynolds, Andy M. and Reynolds, Don R. (2008) Aphid aerial density profiles are consistent with turbulent advection amplifying flight behaviours: abandoning the epithet ‘passive’. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 276 (1654). pp. 137-143. ISSN 0962-8452 (Print), 1471-2954 (Online) (doi:10.1098/rspb.2008.0880)

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Abstract

Seminal field studies led by C. G. Johnson in the 1940s and 1950s showed that aphid aerial density diminishes with height above the ground such that the linear regression coefficient, b, of log density on log height provides a single-parameter characterization of the vertical density profile. This coefficient decreases with increasing atmospheric stability, ranging from K0.27 for a fully convective boundary layer to K2.01for a stable boundary layer. We combined a well-established Lagrangian stochastic model of atmospheric dispersal with simple models of aphid behaviour in order to account for the range of aerial density profiles. We show that these density distributions are consistent with the aphids producing just enough lift to become neutrally buoyant when they are in updraughts and ceasing to produce lift when they are in downdraughts. This active flight behaviour in a weak flier is thus distinctly different from the aerial dispersal of seeds and wingless arthropods, which is passive once these organisms have launched into the air. The novel findings from the model indicate that the epithet ‘passive’ often applied to the windborne migration of small winged insects is misleading and should be abandoned. The implications for the distances traversed by migrating aphids under various boundary-layer conditions are outlined.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online 9 September 2008.
Uncontrolled Keywords: aphids flight behaviour, atmospheric dispersal, insect migration, Lagrangian stochastic models
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QH Natural history
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2015 11:47
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/2019

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