Climate Change: What Caterpillars Can Tell Us

Dean Ben Vinson III and Professor John Lill
May 01, 2014

You don't have to be a scientist to understand the impact of climate change on our daily lives. From the mounting intensity of hurricanes and tropical storms to winters blasting frigid winds well into spring, the signs of a climate crisis are seemingly everywhere. But one of the most intriguing indicators of climate change may also be one of the smallest.

John Lill, associate professor of biology, began spotting caterpillars in his backyard weeks before they were expected. In a video conversation with Columbian College Dean Ben Vinson, Lill, an expert in plant-insect interaction, discusses how this change in one species’ life-cycle can impact an entire ecosystem of plants and animals.