The grasshopper is a carefree creature…according to Aesop's fables. But in real life, grasshoppers can have a lot to worry about.
For example, grasshoppers get quite anxious when they know there's a deadly spider about, and it puts them off their food. Since their food is grass, nervous grasshoppers leave more grass intact to perform photosynthesis, turning sunlight and carbon dioxide into plant food. More CO2 in these grasses and their roots means less CO2 in the air. That's according to a new paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
例如，当蚱蜢知道附近有只致命的蜘蛛时就会变得异常烦躁，而且蜘蛛使它们远离了食物 。因为蚱蜢以草为食，紧张的蚱蜢留下了更完整的叶子来进行光合作用，即把阳光和二氧化碳转化为植物的食物 。草及其根部的二氧化碳越多，就意味着空气中的二氧化碳更少 。这项研究发表在最近的《国家科学院学报》上 。
Yale researchers tracked CO2 as it cycled through Plexiglass cages containing just grass, grass and grasshoppers, or grass, grasshoppers and spiders. Grasses stored 1.4 times as much carbon with spiders about than when grasshoppers were allowed to roam unmolested. That's even better than when there were no grasshoppers at all because nervous grasshopper grazing did little damage but spurred greener growth.
耶鲁研究人员追踪了在树脂玻璃笼子里循环的二氧化碳，树脂玻璃笼子里分别装有草，草和蚱蜢，或者草、蚱蜢和蜘蛛 。当蚱蜢能够悠闲地漫游散步时，草内储存的二氧化碳比蜘蛛大约多1.4倍 。当根本没有蚱蜢时情况会更好，因为虽然紧张的蚱蜢吃草对植物的伤害小了，但却刺激了草的生长 。
In other words, spiders protect the climate, just by being spiders and scaring grasshoppers.
Similar results may also prove true in ecosystems with larger predators, whether wolves and caribou or lions and zebras. Keeping predators around may be another way to combat climate change.
在生态系统中，无论是狼对驯鹿还是狮子对斑马，同样的结果也许也会发生在其他大型食肉动物身上 。把捕食者围起来也许是另一种与气候变化对抗的方式 。