Great Plains Olson Seminar on Nov. 20 to cover climate change and insects

Released on 11/07/2013, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013

WHERE: Great Plains Art Museum, 1155 Q St., Hewit Place

Lincoln, Neb., November 7th, 2013 —
Leon Higley
Leon Higley
Salt Creek tiger beetle
Salt Creek tiger beetle
Monarch butterfly
Monarch butterfly

            Don't panic. According to world-renowned insect ecologist Leon Higley, climate change probably won't make the skies of Nebraska "darken with the flight of millions of ravenous grasshoppers."

            But, being such a fan of local insects, he admitted that scenario might be "pretty cool."

            Higley, a professor in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Natural Resources, will present the November Paul A. Olson Seminar in Great Plains Studies, "Climate Change and the Insects of the Great Plains." He will speak Nov. 20 at 3:30 p.m. in the Great Plains Art Museum, 1155 Q St. The event is free and open to the public.

            Higley's research focuses on forensic entomology, plant-insect interaction, insect conservation and pest management in relation to environmental impacts. He is one of the researchers involved with the study and conservation of the Salt Creek tiger beetle, one of the most endangered insects in North America, found only in Lancaster County.

            Higley says examining the influence of climate change on insects in the Great Plains isn't a matter of predicting what will happen -- it's about explaining what is happening.

            "Insects are responding more quickly and differently than we expected," he said. "Two phenomena, the inertia of population growth and associations with water, seem to underlie much of these unexpected responses."

            The lecture will be live streamed at and the video will be posted on the Center for Great Plains Studies website:

            Upcoming Olson seminars, all at 3:30 p.m.:

  • Jan. 15: "Trans-Mississippi Exposition" with Tim Schaffert, UNL English department.
  • Feb. 26: "A Prophet without Honor? Malthus on the Great Plains," a lecture on population change in the Great Plains with Derek Hoff, a Kansas State University economic historian.
  • March 19: Miguel Carranza, professor of sociology and Latina/Latino studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (subject of talk to be determined).

Writer: Katie Nieland