Evolutionary responses of invertebrates to global climate change: The role of life-history trade-offs and multidecadal climate shifts

Carnicer, J., Wheat, C., Vives, M., Ubach, A., Domingo, C., Nylin, S., Stefanescu, C., Vila, R., Wiklund, C., Peñuelas, J. (2016) Evolutionary responses of invertebrates to global climate change: The role of life-history trade-offs and multidecadal climate shifts. Global Climate Change and Terrestrial Invertebrates. : 319-348.
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Doi: 10.1002/9781119070894.ch16

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Phenological asynchrony in plant-butterfly interactions associated with climate: A community-wide perspective

Donoso I., Stefanescu C., Martínez-Abraín A., Traveset A. (2016) Phenological asynchrony in plant-butterfly interactions associated with climate: A community-wide perspective. Oikos. : 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1111/oik.03053

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Although much information has been accumulated on the effects of climate change on particular species worldwide, research aimed at assessing how such change influences biotic interactions from a community-wide perspective is still in its infancy. We contribute to filling in this gap by analyzing a 17-year (1996-2012) dataset that includes records of flower-visitation interactions between 12 butterfly species and 17 plant species in a coastal wetland area in northeastern Iberian Peninsula. We assessed the extent to which temporal asynchronies between plants and adult butterflies are influenced by different climatic variables that affect both plant and insect phenologies. Temperature and degree of aridity at various monthly summaries were used as predictors of the plant-butterfly phenological asynchrony. We identified the seasonal window with the greatest effect on asynchronies for two butterfly generations (spring and summer), and assessed whether the magnitude of asynchrony is associated with the level of butterfly specialization. We used generalized linear mixed models considering a total of 39 plant-butterfly interactions. Average asynchrony was higher in the spring generation and dry conditions during winter lead to decreased temporal overlap with flowers in this butterfly generation, whereas dry conditions in the spring lead to decreased temporal overlap in the summer butterfly generation. The magnitude of the effect was consistently small at the community level (all interactions pooled). Moreover, no clear climatic trend over the study time frame was detected. Finally, specialized and generalized butterflies in their resource use as adults were similarly vulnerable to asynchronies, in contrast to previous predictions of greater mutualistic disruptions in species with narrower niches. We conclude that a least in the Mediterranean region, phenological asynchronies might be more affected by aridity level than by temperature itself, and thus the former can be a key climatic trait to make better predictions in this region. © 2015 The Authors.

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General declines in Mediterranean butterflies over the last two decades are modulated by species traits

Melero Y., Stefanescu C., Pino J. (2016) General declines in Mediterranean butterflies over the last two decades are modulated by species traits. Biological Conservation. 201: 336-342.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2016.07.029

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Species' responses to environmental changes are highly idiosyncratic and context-dependent. Although intrinsic traits (i.e. those that define species niches) may play a key role, little empirical evidence exists regarding their relationship to demographic responses. We used data for 66 butterfly species representing five ecological and two life-history traits to study the effect these factors have on population growth rates and variations in populations. Using a novel methodological approach, we provide here improved estimates of population change. Our results reveal declines in 70% and increases in 23% of the studied species, clear evidence of more serious population declines in Catalan butterflies than those that have previously been reported. Declines were associated with species' degree of habitat specialisation and the number of generations. For all species, fluctuations were greater within than between years and, on average, the latter was 1.5 times greater. Our results indicated that habitat specialists and multivoltine species are more likely to suffer severe annual fluctuations in population abundance; and that multivoltine species and extreme larval specialists had the most marked fluctuations within seasons. We also found higher resilience to environmental changes in generalist species, which is concordant with biotic homogenisation in disturbed communities. However, among the declining species there were also many generalists, which indicates a potential general reduction in this group that goes beyond faunal homogenisation. Given butterflies are biodiversity indicators, these patterns are a possible reflection of an overall impoverishment in biodiversity. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd

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Assessment of the impacts of climate change on Mediterranean terrestrial ecosystems based on data from field experiments and long-term monitored field gradients in Catalonia

Peñuelas, J., Sardans, J., Filella, I., Estiarte, M., Llusià, J., Ogaya, R., Carnicer, J., Bartrons, M., Rivas-Ubach, A., Grau, O., Peguero, G., Margalef, O., Pla-Rabés, S., Stefanescu, C., Asensio, D., Preece, C., Liu, L., Verger, A., Rico, L., Barbeta, A., Achotegui-Castells, A., Gargallo-Garriga, A., Sperlich, D., Farré-Armengol, G., Fernández-Martínez, M., Liu, D., Zhang, C., Urbina, I., Camino, M., Vives, M., Nadal-Sala, D., Sabaté, S., Gracia, C., Terradas, J. (2016) Assessment of the impacts of climate change on Mediterranean terrestrial ecosystems based on data from field experiments and long-term monitored field gradients in Catalonia. Environmental and Experimental Botany. : 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.envexpbot.2017.05.012

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A regionally informed abundance index for supporting integrative analyses across butterfly monitoring schemes

Schmucki R., Pe'er G., Roy D.B., Stefanescu C., Van Swaay C.A.M., Oliver T.H., Kuussaari M., Van Strien A.J., Ries L., Settele J., Musche M., Carnicer J., Schweiger O., Brereton T.M., Harpke A., Heliölä J., Kühn E., Julliard R. (2016) A regionally informed abundance index for supporting integrative analyses across butterfly monitoring schemes. Journal of Applied Ecology. 53: 501-510.
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Doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12561

Resumen:

The rapid expansion of systematic monitoring schemes necessitates robust methods to reliably assess species' status and trends. Insect monitoring poses a challenge where there are strong seasonal patterns, requiring repeated counts to reliably assess abundance. Butterfly monitoring schemes (BMSs) operate in an increasing number of countries with broadly the same methodology, yet they differ in their observation frequency and in the methods used to compute annual abundance indices. Using simulated and observed data, we performed an extensive comparison of two approaches used to derive abundance indices from count data collected via BMS, under a range of sampling frequencies. Linear interpolation is most commonly used to estimate abundance indices from seasonal count series. A second method, hereafter the regional generalized additive model (GAM), fits a GAM to repeated counts within sites across a climatic region. For the two methods, we estimated bias in abundance indices and the statistical power for detecting trends, given different proportions of missing counts. We also compared the accuracy of trend estimates using systematically degraded observed counts of the Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus (Linnaeus 1767). The regional GAM method generally outperforms the linear interpolation method. When the proportion of missing counts increased beyond 50%, indices derived via the linear interpolation method showed substantially higher estimation error as well as clear biases, in comparison to the regional GAM method. The regional GAM method also showed higher power to detect trends when the proportion of missing counts was substantial. Synthesis and applications. Monitoring offers invaluable data to support conservation policy and management, but requires robust analysis approaches and guidance for new and expanding schemes. Based on our findings, we recommend the regional generalized additive model approach when conducting integrative analyses across schemes, or when analysing scheme data with reduced sampling efforts. This method enables existing schemes to be expanded or new schemes to be developed with reduced within-year sampling frequency, as well as affording options to adapt protocols to more efficiently assess species status and trends across large geographical scales. Monitoring offers invaluable data to support conservation policy and management, but requires robust analysis approaches and guidance for new and expanding schemes. Based on our findings, we recommend the regional generalized additive model approach when conducting integrative analyses across schemes, or when analysing scheme data with reduced sampling efforts. This method enables existing schemes to be expanded or new schemes to be developed with reduced within-year sampling frequency, as well as affording options to adapt protocols to more efficiently assess species status and trends across large geographical scales. Journal of Applied Ecology © 2016 British Ecological Society.

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Long-distance autumn migration across the Sahara by painted lady butterflies: Exploiting resource pulses in the tropical savannah

Stefanescu, C., Soto, D.X., Talavera, G., Vila, R., Hobson, K.A. (2016) Long-distance autumn migration across the Sahara by painted lady butterflies: Exploiting resource pulses in the tropical savannah. Biology Letters. 12: 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0561

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