The mission of this program is to improve knowledge of the biology of insects in cold habitats in order to permit modeling and prediction of the impacts of a changing climate on cold-adapted insects and their environment.
Some short term goals of this program include:
- Determining if winter-emerging species conform to particular thermal regimes or if they are more plastic in their thermal preferences.
- Determination of the types and amounts of cryoprotectants used by winter active insects.
- Assessment of how thermal preferences and cold-hardiness mechanisms determine a species’ distribution and how they differ among related species.
- Determining the genetic variability of winter-emerging insect populations and how this variability is related to differing life history strategies.
These research goals on the life cycle, physiological, and genetic variability is important to understand as it will help predict the success of species in a changing thermal landscape. Therefore, additional research is needed to make comparisons both among species and among populations within a species to permit assessment of how wide spread these mechanisms are and how they vary.