- ItemOpen AccessAlpine butterflies want to fly high: Species and communities shift upwards faster than their host plants(2022-06-08) Janika M. Kerner; Jochen Krauss; Fabienne MaihoffDespite sometimes strong codependencies of insect herbivores and plants, the responses of individual taxa to accelerating climate change are typically studied in isolation. For this reason, biotic interactions that potentially limit species in tracking their preferred climatic niches are ignored. Here, we chose butterflies as a prominent representative of herbivorous insects to investigate the impacts of temperature changes and their larval host plant distributions along a 1.4-km elevational gradient in the German Alps. Following a sampling protocol of 2009, we revisited 33 grassland plots in 2019 over an entire growing season. We quantified changes in butterfly abundance and richness by repeated transect walks on each plot and disentangled the direct and indirect effects of locally assessed temperature, site management, and larval and adult food resource availability on these patterns. Additionally, we determined elevational range shifts of butterflies and host plants at both the community and species level. Comparing the two sampled years (2009 and 2019), we found a severe decline in butterfly abundance and a clear upward shift of butterflies along the elevational gradient. We detected shifts in the peak of species richness, community composition, and at the species level, whereby mountainous species shifted particularly strongly. In contrast, host plants showed barely any change, neither in connection with species richness nor individual species shifts. Further, temperature and host plant richness were the main drivers of butterfly richness, with change in temperature best explaining the change in richness over time. We concluded that host plants were not yet hindering butterfly species and communities from shifting upwards. However, the mismatch between butterfly and host plant shifts might become a problem for this very close plant–herbivore relationship, especially toward higher elevations, if butterflies fail to adapt to new host plants. Further, our results support the value of conserving traditional extensive pasture use as a promoter of host plant and, hence, butterfly richness.
- ItemOpen AccessPhosphorus limitation of early growth differs between nitrogen-fixing and non-fixing dry tropical forest tree species(2022-09-18) Laura Toro; Damaris Pereira-Arias; Daniel Perez-Aviles; German Vargas G
- ItemOpen AccessEcological corridors homogenize plant root endospheric mycobiota(2022-11-01) Jie Hu; Philippe Vandenkoornhuyse; Fadwa Khalfallah
- ItemOpen AccessRepeated survey along the foreland of a receding Norwegian glacier reveals shifts in succession of beetles and spiders(2022-05-04) Christian Klopsch; Jacob C Yde,; John A MatthewsGlacier forelands provide important sites to study climate-forced ecological succession because a chronosequence is apparent along a single valley. However, most studies of invertebrate succession in forelands provide a single snapshot of community assemblage patterns. With glaciers retreating rapidly worldwide, it is important to begin re-surveying community composition and assessing changes in relation to new terrain revealed by the retreating ice. In this study, we repeat a survey of spiders and beetles along the glacier foreland of the sub-alpine glacier Austerdalsbreen in western Norway, 15years after an initial assessment in 2004, during which time the glacier has retreated 400m. Invertebrates were sampled in 18 sites that represent a terrain age gradient of approximately 10–250years since glacier recession. Forty spider species and 70 beetle species were identified, constituting the richest record in Nordic glacier forelands for these two taxonomic groups. Furthermore, three distinctive stages of succession were determined using TWINSPAN and NMDS: (1) a pioneer colonizer stage; (2) an intermediate successional stage; and (3) two late colonizer stages. Additionally, a species group of omnipresent species was identified. The transition from pioneer stage to early succession was characterized by a high degree of taxonomic replacement. Compared to the findings in 2004, we found that the composition of species groups on relatively old terrain is becoming more similar, while the differences between the species groups on the younger terrain are widening. This discrepancy is discussed in relation to climate warming, which potentially facilitates faster establishment of vegetation and early successional invertebrates and may therefore increase competition stress for cold-adapted pioneer species.