Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The biometeorology of high-altitude insect layers
Author: Wood, Curtis Ron
ISNI:       0000 0001 3571 8109
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2007
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Flight at high altitude is part of a migration strategy that maximises insect population displacement. This thesis represents the first substantial analysis of insect migration and layering in Europe. Vertical-looking entomological radar has revealed specific characteristics of high-altitude flight: in particular layering (where a large proportion of the migrating insects are concentrated in a narrow altitude band). The meteorological mechanisms underpinning the formation of these layers are the focus of this thesis. Aerial netting samples and radar data revealed four distinct periods of high-altitude insect migration: dawn, daytime, dusk, and night-time. The most frequently observed nocturnal profiles during the summertime were layers. It is hypothesised that nocturnal layers initiate at a critical altitude (200–500 m above ground level) and time (20:00–22:00 hours UTC). Case study analysis, statistical analysis, and a Lagrangian trajectory model showed that nocturnal insect layers probably result from the insects’ response to meteorological conditions. Temperature was the variable most correlated with nocturnal insect layer presence and intensity because insects are poikilothermic, and temperatures experienced during high-altitude migration in temperate climates are expected to be marginal for many insects’ flight. Hierarchical effects were detected such that other variables—specifically wind speed—were only correlated with insect layer presence and intensity once temperatures were warm. The trajectory model developed comprised: (i) insect flight characteristics; (ii) turbulent winds (which cause vertical spread of the layer); and (iii) mean wind speed, which normally leads to horizontal displacements of hundreds of kilometres in a single migratory flight. This thesis has revealed that there is considerable migratory activity over the UK in the summer months, and a range of fascinating phenomena can be observed (including layers). The UK has moved from one of the least studied to perhaps the best studied environments of aerial insect migration and layering in the world.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: 592 Invertebrates ; 551 Geology, hydrology, meteorology