Increasing temperatures due to climate change will likely impact both termites and their symbiotic microbes. As the climate warms, termites are predicted to extend their range north (bad news for us here in Wisconsin). Camila Carlos from UW-Madison ran an experiment to test the thermal tolerance of termites and their microbiomes. Termites reared in different temperatures were exposed to freezing temperatures and displayed different responses. Their gut microbiomes also showed differences, with lower bacterial abundance in high temperatures, but increased abundance of bacteria involved in nutrient cycling. Future work will compare termites from different climates.
Camila is starting her lab at Texas State this fall and is looking for people to join her!