Apr 5, 2020

Spatio-temporal responses of butterflies to global warming on a Mediterranean island over two decades

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Pau ColomC. Stefanescu

Abstract

In recent decades, efforts have been made to understand how global warming affects biodiversity and in this regard butterflies have emerged as a model group. The most conspicuous sign that warming is affecting the ecology of butterflies are the phenological advances occurring in many species. Moreover, rising temperatures are having a notable impact, both negative and positive, on population abundances. To date, patterns have generally been analysed at species level without taking into account possible differences between populations, which, when they are noted, are mostly attributed to large-scale climate differences across a latitudinal gradient. In this work, we use a long-term database of butterflies from the island of Menorca (Balearic Islands, Spain) to investigate how phenology and population dynamics have been affected by climate warming during the past two decades. In addition, we assess how responses are modulated by habitat characteristics and by species' biological cycles. Our results show that species respond differently to warming at a local scale depending on season and habitat, and that coastal habitats in the Mediterranean region are particularly sensitive to the effects of climate change. Furthermore, our find...Continue Reading

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