Carnicer J., Stefanescu C., Vives-Ingla M., López C., Cortizas S., Wheat C., Vila R., Llusià J., Peñuelas J. (2019) Phenotypic biomarkers of climatic impacts on declining insect populations: A key role for decadal drought, thermal buffering and amplification effects and host plant dynamics. Journal of Animal Ecology. : 0-0.EnlaceDoi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12933
Widespread population declines have been reported for diverse Mediterranean butterflies over the last three decades, and have been significantly associated with increased global change impacts. The specific landscape and climatic drivers of these declines remain uncertain for most declining species. Here, we analyse whether plastic phenotypic traits of a model butterfly species (Pieris napi) perform as reliable biomarkers of vulnerability to extreme temperature impacts in natural populations, showing contrasting trends in thermally exposed and thermally buffered populations. We also examine whether improved descriptions of thermal exposure of insect populations can be achieved by combining multiple information sources (i.e., integrating measurements of habitat thermal buffering, habitat thermal amplification, host plant transpiration, and experimental assessments of thermal death time (TDT), thermal avoidance behaviour (TAB) and thermally induced trait plasticity). These integrative analyses are conducted in two demographically declining and two non-declining populations of P. napi. The results show that plastic phenotypic traits (butterfly body mass and wing size) are reliable biomarkers of population vulnerability to extreme thermal conditions. Butterfly wing size is strongly reduced only in thermally exposed populations during summer drought periods. Laboratory rearing of these populations documented reduced wing size due to significant negative effects of increased temperatures affecting larval growth. We conclude that these thermal biomarkers are indicative of the population vulnerability to increasing global warming impacts, showing contrasting trends in thermally exposed and buffered populations. Thermal effects in host plant microsites significantly differ between populations, with stressful thermal conditions only effectively ameliorated in mid-elevation populations. In lowland populations, we observe a sixfold reduction in vegetation thermal buffering effects, and larval growth occurs in these populations at significantly higher temperatures. Lowland populations show reduced host plant quality (C/N ratio), reduced leaf transpiration rates and complete above-ground plant senescence during the peak of summer drought. Amplified host plant temperatures are observed in open microsites, reaching thermal thresholds that can affect larval survival. Overall, our results suggest that butterfly population vulnerability to long-term drought periods is associated with multiple co-occurring and interrelated ecological factors, including limited vegetation thermal buffering effects at lowland sites, significant drought impacts on host plant transpiration and amplified leaf surface temperature, as well as reduced leaf quality linked to the seasonal advance of plant phenology. Our results also identify multiannual summer droughts affecting larval growing periods as a key driver of the recently reported butterfly population declines in the Mediterranean biome. © 2018 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2018 British Ecological Society
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., Barbeta, A., Achotegui-Castells, A., Gargallo-Garriga, A., Sperlich, D., Farré-Armengol, G., Fernández-Martínez, M., Liu, D., Zhang, C., Urbina, I., Camino-Serrano, M., Vives-Ingla, M., Stocker, B.D., Balzarolo, M., Guerrieri, R., Peaucelle, M., Marañón-Jiménez, S., Bórnez-Mejías, K., Mu, Z., Descals, A., Castellanos, A., Terradas, J. (2017) Impacts of global change on Mediterranean forests and their services. Forests. 8: 0-0.EnlaceDoi: 10.3390/f8120463
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.EnlaceDoi: 10.1016/j.envexpbot.2017.05.012
Penuelas J., Sardans J., Estiarte M., Ogaya R., Carnicer J., Coll M., Barbeta A., Rivas-Ubach A., Llusia J., Garbulsky M., Filella I., Jump A.S. (2013) Evidence of current impact of climate change on life: A walk from genes to the biosphere. Global Change Biology. 19: 2303-2338.EnlaceDoi: 10.1111/gcb.12143
We review the evidence of how organisms and populations are currently responding to climate change through phenotypic plasticity, genotypic evolution, changes in distribution and, in some cases, local extinction. Organisms alter their gene expression and metabolism to increase the concentrations of several antistress compounds and to change their physiology, phenology, growth and reproduction in response to climate change. Rapid adaptation and microevolution occur at the population level. Together with these phenotypic and genotypic adaptations, the movement of organisms and the turnover of populations can lead to migration toward habitats with better conditions unless hindered by barriers. Both migration and local extinction of populations have occurred. However, many unknowns for all these processes remain. The roles of phenotypic plasticity and genotypic evolution and their possible trade-offs and links with population structure warrant further research. The application of omic techniques to ecological studies will greatly favor this research. It remains poorly understood how climate change will result in asymmetrical responses of species and how it will interact with other increasing global impacts, such as N eutrophication, changes in environmental N : P ratios and species invasion, among many others. The biogeochemical and biophysical feedbacks on climate of all these changes in vegetation are also poorly understood. We here review the evidence of responses to climate change and discuss the perspectives for increasing our knowledge of the interactions between climate change and life. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Penuelas J., Sardans J., Llusià J., Owen S.M., Carnicer J., Giambelluca T.W., Rezende E.L., Waite M., Niinemets Ü. (2010) Faster returns on 'leaf economics' and different biogeochemical niche in invasive compared with native plant species. Global Change Biology. 16: 2171-2185.EnlaceDoi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.02054.x
Plant-invasive success is one of the most important current global changes in the biosphere. To understand which factors explain such success, we compared the foliar traits of 41 native and 47 alien-invasive plant species in Oahu Island (Hawaii), a location with a highly endemic flora that has evolved in isolation and is currently vulnerable to invasions by exotic plant species. Foliar traits, which in most cases presented significant phylogenetic signal, i.e. closely related species tended to resemble each other due to shared ancestry, separated invasive from native species. Invasive species had lower leaf mass per area and enhanced capacities in terms of productivity (photosynthetic capacity) and nutrient capture both of macro- (N, P, K) and microelements (Fe, Ni, Cu and Zn). All these differences remain highly significant after removing the effects of phylogenetic history. Alien-invasive species did not show higher efficiency at using limiting nutrient resources, but they got faster leaf economics returns and occupied a different biogeochemical niche, which helps to explain the success of invasive plants and suggests that potential increases in soil nutrient availability might favor further invasive plant success. © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Peñuelas J, Sardans J, Llusià J, Owen SM, Carnicer J, Giambelluca TW, Rezende EL, Mashuri Waite, Niinemets Ü (2009) Faster returns on ‘leaf economics’ and different biogeochemical niche in invasive compared with native plant species. Global Change Biology doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.02054.x.
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