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Exploring the universal ecological responses to climate change in a univoltine butterfly

Exploring the universal ecological responses to climate change in a univoltine butterfly
Exploring the universal ecological responses to climate change in a univoltine butterfly
Summary

1. Animals with distinct life stages are often exposed to different temperatures during each stage. Thus, how temperature affects these life stages should be considered for broadly understanding the ecological consequences of climate warming on such species. For example, temperature variation during particular life stages may affect respective change in body size, phenology and geographic range, which have been identified as the “universal” ecological responses to climate change. While each of these responses has been separately documented across a number of species, it is not known whether each response occurs together within a species. The influence of temperature during particular life stages may help explain each of these ecological responses to climate change.

2. Our goal was to determine if monthly temperature variation during particular life stages of a butterfly species can predict respective changes in body size and phenology. We also refer to the literature to assess if temperature variability during the adult stage influences range change over time.

3. Using historical museum collections paired with monthly temperature records, we show that changes in body size and phenology of the univoltine butterfly, Hesperia comma, are partly dependent upon temporal variation in summer temperatures during key stages of their life cycle. June temperatures, which are likely to affect growth rate of the final larval instar, are important for predicting adult body size (for males only; showing a positive relationship with temperature). July temperatures, which are likely to influence the pupal stage, are important for predicting the timing of adult emergence (showing a negative relationship with temperature). Previous studies show that August temperatures, which act on the adult stage, are linked to range change.

4. Our study highlights the importance of considering temperature variation during each life stage over historic time-scales for understanding intraspecific response to climate change. Range edge studies of ectothermic species that have annual life cycles, long time-series occurrence data, and associated temperature records (ideally at monthly resolutions) could be useful model systems for intraspecific tests of the universal ecological responses to climate change and for exploring interactive effects.
body size, climate change, global warming, Hesperia comma, Lepidoptera, museum collections, phenology, range change, Silver-spotted Skipper, temperature variation
0021-8790
739-748
Fenberg, Phillip B.
c73918cd-98cc-41e6-a18c-bf0de4f1ace8
Self, Angela
48bb713c-54ad-4bf9-a31f-d7a5232e63f2
Stewart, John R.
a1f39867-c680-4274-a33e-ee40fbe1d4cb
Wilson, Rebecca J.
127bcda6-5a24-40f1-b4eb-4d342a42a360
Brooks, Stephen J.
a5c731e5-2874-46ca-a55c-1726dd3fcb22
Fenberg, Phillip B.
c73918cd-98cc-41e6-a18c-bf0de4f1ace8
Self, Angela
48bb713c-54ad-4bf9-a31f-d7a5232e63f2
Stewart, John R.
a1f39867-c680-4274-a33e-ee40fbe1d4cb
Wilson, Rebecca J.
127bcda6-5a24-40f1-b4eb-4d342a42a360
Brooks, Stephen J.
a5c731e5-2874-46ca-a55c-1726dd3fcb22

Fenberg, Phillip B., Self, Angela, Stewart, John R., Wilson, Rebecca J. and Brooks, Stephen J. (2016) Exploring the universal ecological responses to climate change in a univoltine butterfly. Journal of Animal Ecology, 85 (3), 739-748. (doi:10.1111/1365-2656.12492).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Summary

1. Animals with distinct life stages are often exposed to different temperatures during each stage. Thus, how temperature affects these life stages should be considered for broadly understanding the ecological consequences of climate warming on such species. For example, temperature variation during particular life stages may affect respective change in body size, phenology and geographic range, which have been identified as the “universal” ecological responses to climate change. While each of these responses has been separately documented across a number of species, it is not known whether each response occurs together within a species. The influence of temperature during particular life stages may help explain each of these ecological responses to climate change.

2. Our goal was to determine if monthly temperature variation during particular life stages of a butterfly species can predict respective changes in body size and phenology. We also refer to the literature to assess if temperature variability during the adult stage influences range change over time.

3. Using historical museum collections paired with monthly temperature records, we show that changes in body size and phenology of the univoltine butterfly, Hesperia comma, are partly dependent upon temporal variation in summer temperatures during key stages of their life cycle. June temperatures, which are likely to affect growth rate of the final larval instar, are important for predicting adult body size (for males only; showing a positive relationship with temperature). July temperatures, which are likely to influence the pupal stage, are important for predicting the timing of adult emergence (showing a negative relationship with temperature). Previous studies show that August temperatures, which act on the adult stage, are linked to range change.

4. Our study highlights the importance of considering temperature variation during each life stage over historic time-scales for understanding intraspecific response to climate change. Range edge studies of ectothermic species that have annual life cycles, long time-series occurrence data, and associated temperature records (ideally at monthly resolutions) could be useful model systems for intraspecific tests of the universal ecological responses to climate change and for exploring interactive effects.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 22 December 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 2016
Published date: May 2016
Keywords: body size, climate change, global warming, Hesperia comma, Lepidoptera, museum collections, phenology, range change, Silver-spotted Skipper, temperature variation
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 387991
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/387991
ISSN: 0021-8790
PURE UUID: 1bd16af8-e9f4-4b24-9098-7734cde5e3a5

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 17 Feb 2016 11:51
Last modified: 27 Apr 2022 11:02

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Contributors

Author: Angela Self
Author: John R. Stewart
Author: Rebecca J. Wilson
Author: Stephen J. Brooks

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