High-throughput assays of critical thermal limits in insects

David N. Awde, Tatum E. Fowler, Fernan Pérez-Gálvez, Mark J. Garcia, Nicholas M. Teets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Upper and lower thermal limits of plants and animals are important predictors of their performance, survival, and geographic distributions, and are essential for predicting responses to climate change. This work describes two high-throughput protocols for measuring insect thermal limits: one for assessing critical thermal minima (CTmin ), and the other for assessing heat knock down time (KDT) in response to a static heat stressor. In the CTmin assay, individuals are placed in an acrylic-jacketed column, subjected to a decreasing temperature ramp, and counted as they fall from their perches using an infrared sensor. In the heat KDT assay, individuals are contained in a 96 well plate, placed in an incubator set to a stressful, hot temperature, and video recorded to determine the time at which they can no longer remain upright and move. These protocols offer advantages over commonly used techniques. Both assays are low cost and can be completed relatively quickly (~2 h). The CTmin assay reduces experimenter error and can measure a large number of individuals at once. The heat KDT protocol generates a video record of each assay and thus removes experimenter bias and the need to continuously monitor individuals in real time.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere61186
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number160
StatePublished - Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 JoVE Journal of Visualized Experiments.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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