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Phenological asynchrony in plant-butterfly interactions associated with climate: a community-wide perspective

AuthorsDonoso, I.; Stefanescu, Constantino ; Martínez-Abraín, Alejandro; Traveset, Anna
Issue Date25-Feb-2016
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
CitationOikos 125: 1434-1444 (2016)
AbstractAlthough much information has been accumulated on the effects of climate change on particular species worldwide, research aimed at assessing how such change influences biotic interactions from a community-wide perspective is still in its infancy. We contribute to filling in this gap by analyzing a 17-year (1996–2012) dataset that includes records of flower-visitation interactions between 12 butterfly species and 17 plant species in a coastal wetland area in northeastern Iberian Peninsula. We assessed the extent to which temporal asynchronies between plants and adult butterflies are influenced by different climatic variables that affect both plant and insect phenologies. Temperature and degree of aridity at various monthly summaries were used as predictors of the plant–butterfly phenological asynchrony. We identified the seasonal window with the greatest effect on asynchronies for two butterfly generations (spring and summer), and assessed whether the magnitude of asynchrony is associated with the level of butterfly specialization. We used generalized linear mixed models considering a total of 39 plant–butterfly interactions. Average asynchrony was higher in the spring generation and dry conditions during winter lead to decreased temporal overlap with flowers in this butterfly generation, whereas dry conditions in the spring lead to decreased temporal overlap in the summer butterfly generation. The magnitude of the effect was consistently small at the community level (all interactions pooled). Moreover, no clear climatic trend over the study time frame was detected. Finally, specialized and generalized butterflies in their resource use as adults were similarly vulnerable to asynchronies, in contrast to previous predictions of greater mutualistic disruptions in species with narrower niches. We conclude that a least in the Mediterranean region, phenological asynchronies might be more affected by aridity level than by temperature itself, and thus the former can be a key climatic trait to make better predictions in this region.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1111/oik.03053
Identifiersdoi: 10.1111/oik.03053
issn: 1600-0706
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