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.LinkDoi: 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
Herrando S., Titeux N., Brotons L., Anton M., Ubach A., Villero D., García-Barros E., Munguira M.L., Godinho C., Stefanescu C. (2019) Contrasting impacts of precipitation on Mediterranean birds and butterflies. Scientific Reports. 9: 0-0.LinkDoi: 10.1038/s41598-019-42171-4
The climatic preferences of the species determine to a large extent their response to climate change. Temperature preferences have been shown to play a key role in driving trends in animal populations. However, the relative importance of temperature and precipitation preferences is still poorly understood, particularly in systems where ecological processes are strongly constrained by the amount and timing of rainfall. In this study, we estimated the role played by temperature and precipitation preferences in determining population trends for birds and butterflies in a Mediterranean area. Trends were derived from long-term biodiversity monitoring data and temperature and precipitation preferences were estimated from species distribution data at three different geographical scales. We show that population trends were first and foremost related to precipitation preferences both in birds and in butterflies. Temperature preferences had a weaker effect on population trends, and were significant only in birds. The effect of precipitation on population trends operated in opposite directions in the two groups of species: butterfly species from arid environments and bird species from humid habitats are decreasing most. Our results indicate that, although commonly neglected, water availability is likely an important driver of animal population change in the Mediterranean region, with highly contrasting impacts among taxonomical groups. © 2019, The Author(s).
Lang A., Kallhardt F., Lee M.S., Loos J., Molander M.A., Muntean I., Pettersson L.B., Rákosy L., Stefanescu C., Messéan A. (2019) Monitoring environmental effects on farmland Lepidoptera: Does necessary sampling effort vary between different bio-geographic regions in Europe?. Ecological Indicators. 102: 791-800.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.03.035
In agro-ecosystems, environmental monitoring is fundamental to detect and survey changes related to land use change and management practices. Butterflies and moths have often been suggested as suitable indicators for monitoring environmental effects on biodiversity in farmlands. Here, we estimated the required sample size and monitoring effort necessary to run a Lepidoptera survey in European farmland, assessing in particular if monitoring investment would differ between representative bio-geographical regions. We operated linear 1-km long transect routes in farmland of Romania, Spain and Sweden from 2013 to 2015, and recorded butterflies and burnet moths (Papilionoidea, Zygaenidae). The transects were walked back and forth four times a season, and replicated yearly. The lepidopteran diversity was high in farmlands of Romania and Spain, but comparatively low in Sweden. The coefficient of variation (CV) of recorded species number differed between countries being lowest in Sweden and highest in Spain. In general, the CV dropped above a transect length of 400–800 m, thus indicating an increase in statistical power. Assuming a non-parametric test for matched samples, power calculations were conducted with the raw count data and with log-transformed count data for comparison. When using log-transformed data, the required sample size to detect an effect was less than 10 transects per country or region (in order to detect a 10% loss of species or a decrease of 30% in total abundance). Specific subgroups of species, e.g. protected species or specific indicator groups, showed a higher variance, thus requiring a higher sample size to detect effects ranging from 12 to 16 transects (equivalent to 21–29 working days per country and year). When using original, untransformed count data a considerably larger sample size would be needed. Actual time to be invested in field work differed between countries due to contrasting regional constraints and conditions. Nevertheless, the final monitoring effort in working days was similar between countries as the factors involved balanced out each other, in particular due to the differing year-to-year variations. Our study demonstrated the feasibility of an environmental monitoring programme in arable land using farmland butterflies across Europe. We present a suitable approach and guidelines as well as the necessary effort to be invested in future Europe-wide monitoring programmes of butterflies in agro-ecosystems, based on predictions of statistical power. © 2019
Guardiola M., Stefanescu C., Rod F., Pino J. (2018) Do asynchronies in extinction debt affect the structure of trophic networks? A case study of antagonistic butterfly larvae–plant networks. Oikos. 127: 803-813.LinkDoi: 10.1111/oik.04536
Habitat loss and fragmentation affect species richness in fragmented habitats and can lead to immediate or time-delayed species extinctions. Asynchronies in extinction and extinction debt between interacting species may have severe effects on ecological networks. However, these effects remain largely unknown. We evaluated the effects of habitat patch and landscape changes on antagonistic butterfly larvae–plant trophic networks in Mediterranean grasslands in which previous studies had shown the existence of extinction debt in plants but not in butterflies. We sampled current species richness of habitat-specialist and generalist butterflies and vascular plants in 26 grasslands. We assessed the direct effects of historical and current patch and landscape characteristics on species richness and on butterfly larvae–plant trophic network metrics and robustness. Although positive species- and interactions–area relationships were found in all networks, structure and robustness was only affected by patch and landscape changes in networks involving the subset of butterfly specialists. Larger patches had more species (butterflies and host plants) and interactions but also more compartments, which decreased network connectance but increased network stability. Moreover, most likely due to the rescue effect, patch connectivity increased host-plant species (but not butterfly) richness and total links, and network robustness in specialist networks. On the other hand, patch area loss decreased robustness in specialist butterfly larvae–plant networks and made them more prone to collapse against host plant extinctions. Finally, in all butterfly larvae–plant networks we also detected a past patch and landscape effect on network asymmetry, which indicates that there were different extinction rates and extinction debts for butterflies and host plants. We conclude that asynchronies in extinction and extinction debt in butterfly–plant networks provoked by patch and landscape changes caused changes in species richness and network links in all networks, as well as changes in network structure and robustness in specialist networks. © 2017 The Authors
Stefanescu C., Aguado L.O., Asís J.D., Baños-Picńn L., Cerdá X., Marcos García M.Á., Micń E., Ricarte A., Tormos J. (2018) Diversity of insect pollinators in the Iberian Peninsula [Diversidad de insectos polinizadores en la península ibérica]. Ecosistemas. 27: 9-22.LinkDoi: 10.7818/ECOS.1391
Numerous observations and studies that have been carried out in recent decades show that, in addition to bees ((Hymenoptera; Anthophila), other groups of insects play a major role in entomophilous pollination. This article reviews the information and literature available on the contribution of the main groups of pollinators that traditionally have been considered as "secondary": beetles, butterflies and moths, dipterans, wasps and ants. For each of these groups a common outline is followed, with a brief introduction, a summary of the basic characteristics - both morphological and behavioral - in relation to pollination, their effectiveness as pollinators and their conservation status in the Iberian Peninsula. This review highlights the importance of all these groups in entomophilous pollination and the need to include them in comprehensive studies on this phenomenon. Although data are generally very limited, there is clear evidence of a general decline in most of these groups which calls for a pressing need to improve knowledge about their population trends. © 2018. Los Autores.
Woronik A., Stefanescu C., Käkelä R., Wheat C.W., Lehmann P. (2018) Physiological differences between female limited, alternative life history strategies: The Alba phenotype in the butterfly Colias croceus. Journal of Insect Physiology. 107: 257-264.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2018.03.008
Across a wide range of taxa, individuals within populations exhibit alternative life history strategies (ALHS) where their phenotypes dramatically differ due to divergent investments in growth, reproduction and survivorship, with the resulting trade-offs directly impacting Darwinian fitness. Though the maintenance of ALHS within populations is fairly well understood, little is known regarding the physiological mechanisms that underlie ALHS and how environmental conditions can affect the evolution and expression of these phenotypes. One such ALHS, known as Alba, exists within females of many species in the butterfly genus Colias. Previous works in New World species not only found that female morphs differ in their wing color due to a reallocation of resources away from the synthesis of wing pigments to other areas of development, but also that temperature played an important role in these trade-offs. Here we build on previous work conducted in New World species by measuring life history traits and conducting lipidomics on individuals reared at hot and cold temperatures in the Old World species Colias croceus. Results suggest that the fitness of Alba and orange morphs likely varies with rearing temperature, where Alba females have higher fitness in cold conditions and orange in warm. Additionally shared traits between Old and New World species suggest the Alba mechanism is likely conserved across the genus. Finally, in the cold treatment we observe an intermediate yellow morph that may have decreased fitness due to slower larval development. This cost may manifest as disruptive selection in the field, thereby favoring the maintenance of the two discrete morphs. Taken together these results add insights into the evolution of, and the selection on, the Alba ALHS. © 2018 Elsevier Ltd
Zhang C., Harpke A., Kühn E., Páramo F., Settele J., Stefanescu C., Wiemers M., Zhang Y., Schweiger O. (2018) Applicability of butterfly transect counts to estimate species richness in different parts of the palaearctic region. Ecological Indicators. 95: 735-740.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2018.08.027
Transect counts are one of the most popular approaches to assess and monitor butterfly diversity, especially with the background of biodiversity loss. This method was developed in Europe, but its transferability is seldom tested across the world. To assess transferability, we compared butterfly richness estimates based on transect counts in Spain, Germany and central China, a region with a considerably different biogeographic history and more diverse butterfly fauna compared to Europe. We found that the efficiency of transect counts was much lower in China than in the other two regions. Apart from the fact that traditional transect counts may undersample canopy species which are predominant in central China, higher efficiency in Europe may be primarily attributed to different patterns of butterfly richness likely caused by different biogeographic and anthropogenic land-use history. Our results highlight that great caution is needed when transect count methods are transferred to other regions of the world, especially to particularly species rich areas with a high number of rare species. Low detectability of certain species can substantially mask species richness estimates, and we suggest to carefully adapt sampling effort and perhaps combine transect counts with other methods to ensure more realistic assessment of species richness in such regions. © 2018
Hudson, L.N., Newbold, T., Contu, S., Hill, S.L.L., Lysenko, I., De Palma, A., Phillips, H.R.P., Alhusseini, T.I., Bedford, F.E., Bennett, D.J., Booth, H., Burton, V.J., Chng, C.W.T., Choimes, A., Correia, D.L.P., Day, J., Echeverría-Londoño, S., Emerson, S.R., Gao, D., Garon, M., Harrison, M.L.K., Ingram, D.J., Jung, M., Kemp, V., Kirkpatrick, L., Martin, C.D., Pan, Y., Pask-Hale, G.D., Pynegar, E.L., Robinson, A.N., Sanchez-Ortiz, K., Senior, R.A., Simmons, B.I., White, H.J., Zhang, H., Aben, J., Abrahamczyk, S., Adum, G.B., Aguilar-Barquero, V., Aizen, M.A., Albertos, B., Alcala, E.L., del Mar Alguacil, M., Alignier, A., Ancrenaz, M., Andersen, A.N., Arbeláez-Cortés, E., Armbrecht, I., Arroyo-Rodríguez, V., Aumann, T., Axmacher, J.C., Azhar, B., Azpiroz, A.B., Baeten, L., Bakayoko, A., Báldi, A., Banks, J.E., Baral, S.K., Barlow, J., Barratt, B.I.P., Barrico, L., Bartolommei, P., Barton, D.M., Basset, Y., Batáry, P., Bates, A.J., Baur, B., Bayne, E.M., Beja, P., Benedick, S., Berg, Å., Bernard, H., Berry, N.J., Bhatt, D., Bicknell, J.E., Bihn, J.H., Blake, R.J., Bobo, K.S., Bóçon, R., Boekhout, T., Böhning-Gaese, K., Bonham, K.J., Borges, P.A.V., Borges, S.H., Boutin, C., Bouyer, J., Bragagnolo, C., Brandt, J.S., Brearley, F.Q., Brito, I., Bros, V., Brunet, J., Buczkowski, G., Buddle, C.M., Bugter, R., Buscardo, E., Buse, J., Cabra-García, J., Cáceres, N.C., Cagle, N.L., Calviño-Cancela, M., Cameron, S.A., Cancello, E.M., Caparrós, R., Cardoso, P., Carpenter, D., Carrijo, T.F., Carvalho, A.L., Cassano, C.R., Castro, H., Castro-Luna, A.A., Rolando, C.B., Cerezo, A., Chapman, K.A., Chauvat, M., Christensen, M., Clarke, F.M., Cleary, D.F.R., Colombo, G., Connop, S.P., Craig, M.D., Cruz-López, L., Cunningham, S.A., D'Aniello, B., D'Cruze, N., da Silva, P.G., Dallimer, M., Danquah, E., Darvill, B., Dauber, J., Davis, A.L.V., Dawson, J., de Sassi, C., de Thoisy, B., Deheuvels, O., Dejean, A., Devineau, J.-L., Diekötter, T., Dolia, J.V., Domínguez, E., Dominguez-Haydar, Y., Dorn, S., Draper, I., Dreber, N., Dumont, B., Dures, S.G., Dynesius, M., Edenius, L., Eggleton, P., Eigenbrod, F., Elek, Z., Entling, M.H., Esler, K.J., de Lima, R.F., Faruk, A., Farwig, N., Fayle, T.M., Felicioli, A., Felton, A.M., Fensham, R.J., Fernandez, I.C., Ferreira, C.C., Ficetola, G.F., Fiera, C., Filgueiras, B.K.C., Fırıncıoğlu, H.K., Flaspohler, D., Floren, A., Fonte, S.J., Fournier, A., Fowler, R.E., Franzén, M., Fraser, L.H., Fredriksson, G.M., Freire, G.B., Frizzo, T.L.M., Fukuda, D., Furlani, D., Gaigher, R., Ganzhorn, J.U., García, K.P., Garcia-R, J.C., Garden, J.G., Garilleti, R., Ge, B.-M., Gendreau-Berthiaume, B., Gerard, P.J., Gheler-Costa, C., Gilbert, B., Giordani, P., Giordano, S., Golodets, C., Gomes, L.G.L., Gould, R.K., Goulson, D., Gove, A.D., Granjon, L., Grass, I., Gray, C.L., Grogan, J., Gu, W., Guardiola, M., Gunawardene, N.R., Gutierrez, A.G., Gutiérrez-Lamus, D.L., Haarmeyer, D.H., Hanley, M.E., Hanson, T., Hashim, N.R., Hassan, S.N., Hatfield, R.G., Hawes, J.E., Hayward, M.W., Hébert, C., Helden, A.J., Henden, J.-A., Henschel, P., Hernández, L., Herrera, J.P., Herrmann, F., Herzog, F., Higuera-Diaz, D., Hilje, B., Höfer, H., Hoffmann, A., Horgan, F.G., Hornung, E., Horváth, R., Hylander, K., Isaacs-Cubides, P., Ishida, H., Ishitani, M., Jacobs, C.T., Jaramillo, V.J., Jauker, B., Hernández, F.J., Johnson, M.F., Jolli, V., Jonsell, M., Juliani, S.N., Jung, T.S., Kapoor, V., Kappes, H., Kati, V., Katovai, E., Kellner, K., Kessler, M., Kirby, K.R., Kittle, A.M., Knight, M.E., Knop, E., Kohler, F., Koivula, M., Kolb, A., Kone, M., Kőrösi, Á., Krauss, J., Kumar, A., Kumar, R., Kurz, D.J., Kutt, A.S., Lachat, T., Lantschner, V., Lara, F., Lasky, J.R., Latta, S.C., Laurance, W.F., Lavelle, P., Le Féon, V., LeBuhn, G., Légaré, J.-P., Lehouck, V., Lencinas, M.V., Lentini, P.E., Letcher, S.G., Li, Q., Litchwark, S.A., Littlewood, N.A., Liu, Y., Lo-Man-Hung, N., López-Quintero, C.A., Louhaichi, M., Lövei, G.L., Lucas-Borja, M.E., Luja, V.H., Luskin, M.S., MacSwiney G, M.C., Maeto, K., Magura, T., Mallari, N.A., Malone, L.A., Malonza, P.K., Malumbres-Olarte, J., Mandujano, S., Måren, I.E., Marin-Spiotta, E., Marsh, C.J., Marshall, E.J.P., Martínez, E., Martínez Pastur, G., Moreno Mateos, D., Mayfield, M.M., Mazimpaka, V., McCarthy, J.L., McCarthy, K.P., McFrederick, Q.S., McNamara, S., Medina, N.G., Medina, R., Mena, J.L., Mico, E., Mikusinski, G., Milder, J.C., Miller, J.R., Miranda-Esquivel, D.R., Moir, M.L., Morales, C.L., Muchane, M.N., Muchane, M., Mudri-Stojnic, S., Munira, A.N., Muoñz-Alonso, A., Munyekenye, B.F., Naidoo, R., Naithani, A., Nakagawa, M., Nakamura, A., Nakashima, Y., Naoe, S., Nates-Parra, G., Navarrete Gutierrez, D.A., Navarro-Iriarte, L., Ndang'ang'a, P.K., Neuschulz, E.L., Ngai, J.T., Nicolas, V., Nilsson, S.G., Noreika, N., Norfolk, O., Noriega, J.A., Norton, D.A., Nöske, N.M., Nowakowski, A.J., Numa, C., O'Dea, N., O'Farrell, P.J., Oduro, W., Oertli, S., Ofori-Boateng, C., Oke, C.O., Oostra, V., Osgathorpe, L.M., Otavo, S.E., Page, N.V., Paritsis, J., Parra-H, A., Parry, L., Pe'er, G., Pearman, P.B., Pelegrin, N., Pélissier, R., Peres, C.A., Peri, P.L., Persson, A.S., Petanidou, T., Peters, M.K., Pethiyagoda, R.S., Phalan, B., Philips, T.K., Pillsbury, F.C., Pincheira-Ulbrich, J., Pineda, E., Pino, J., Pizarro-Araya, J., Plumptre, A.J., Poggio, S.L., Politi, N., Pons, P., Poveda, K., Power, E.F., Presley, S.J., Proença, V., Quaranta, M., Quintero, C., Rader, R., Ramesh, B.R., Ramirez-Pinilla, M.P., Ranganathan, J., Rasmussen, C., Redpath-Downing, N.A., Reid, J.L., Reis, Y.T., Rey Benayas, J.M., Rey-Velasco, J.C., Reynolds, C., Ribeiro, D.B., Richards, M.H., Richardson, B.A., Richardson, M.J., Ríos, R.M., Robinson, R., Robles, C.A., Römbke, J., Romero-Duque, L.P., Rös, M., Rosselli, L., Rossiter, S.J., Roth, D.S., Roulston, T.H., Rousseau, L., Rubio, A.V., Ruel, J.-C., Sadler, J.P., Sáfián, S., Saldaña-Vázquez, R.A., Sam, K., Samnegård, U., Santana, J., Santos, X., Savage, J., Schellhorn, N.A., Schilthuizen, M., Schmiedel, U., Schmitt, C.B., Schon, N.L., Schüepp, C., Schumann, K., Schweiger, O., Scott, D.M., Scott, K.A., Sedlock, J.L., Seefeldt, S.S., Shahabuddin, G., Shannon, G., Sheil, D., Sheldon, F.H., Shochat, E., Siebert, S.J., Silva, F.A.B., Simonetti, J.A., Slade, E.M., Smith, J., Smith-Pardo, A.H., Sodhi, N.S., Somarriba, E.J., Sosa, R.A., Soto Quiroga, G., St-Laurent, M.-H., Starzomski, B.M., Stefanescu, C., Steffan-Dewenter, I., Stouffer, P.C., Stout, J.C., Strauch, A.M., Struebig, M.J., Su, Z., Suarez-Rubio, M., Sugiura, S., Summerville, K.S., Sung, Y.-H., Sutrisno, H., Svenning, J.-C., Teder, T., Threlfall, C.G., Tiitsaar, A., Todd, J.H., Tonietto, R.K., Torre, I., Tóthmérész, B., Tscharntke, T., Turner, E.C., Tylianakis, J.M., Uehara-Prado, M., Urbina-Cardona, N., Vallan, D., Vanbergen, A.J., Vasconcelos, H.L., Vassilev, K., Verboven, H.A.F., Verdasca, M.J., Verdú, J.R., Vergara, C.H., Vergara, P.M., Verhulst, J., Virgilio, M., Vu, L.V., Waite, E.M., Walker, T.R., Wang, H.-F., Wang, Y., Watling, J.I., Weller, B., Wells, K., Westphal, C., Wiafe, E.D., Williams, C.D., Willig, M.R., Woinarski, J.C.Z., Wolf, J.H.D., Wolters, V., Woodcock, B.A., Wu, J., Wunderle, J.M., Yamaura, Y., Yoshikura, S., Yu, D.W., Zaitsev, A.S., Zeidler, J., Zou, F., Collen, B., Ewers, R.M., Mace, G.M., Purves, D.W., Scharlemann, J.P.W., Purvis, A. (2017) The database of the PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) project. Ecology and Evolution. 7: 145-188.LinkDoi: 10.1002/ece3.2579
Mills, S.C., Oliver, T.H., Bradbury, R.B., Gregory, R.D., Brereton, T., Kühn, E., Kuussaari, M., Musche, M., Roy, D.B., Schmucki, R., Stefanescu, C., van Swaay, C., Evans, K.L. (2017) European butterfly populations vary in sensitivity to weather across their geographical ranges. Global Ecology and Biogeography. 26: 1374-1385.LinkDoi: 10.1111/geb.12659
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.LinkDoi: 10.3390/f8120463
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