Pacific Northwest moths, Climate change, Natural history collections
Climate change has caused shifts in the phenology and distributions of many species but comparing responses across species is challenged by inconsistencies in the methodology and taxonomic and temporal scope of individual studies. Natural history collections offer a rich source of data for examining phenological shifts for a large number of species. We paired specimen records from Pacific Northwest insect collections to climate data to analyze the responses of 215 moth species to interannual climate variation over a period of 119 years (1895–2013) during which average annual temperatures have increased in the region. We quantified the effects of late winter/early spring temperatures, averaged annually across the region, on dates of occurrence of adults, taking into account the effects of elevation, latitude, and longitude. We assessed whether species-specific phenological responses varied with adult flight season and larval diet breadth. Collection dates were significantly earlier in warmer years for 36.3% of moth species, and later for 3.7%. Species exhibited an average phenological advance of 1.9 days/˚C, but species-specific shifts ranged from an advance of 10.3 days/˚C to a delay of 10.6 days/˚C. More spring-flying species shifted their phenology than summer- or fall-flying species. These responses did not vary among groups defined by larval diet breadth. The highly variable phenological responses to climate change in Pacific Northwest moths agree with other studies on Lepidoptera and suggest that it will remain difficult to accurately forecast which species and ecological interactions are most likely to be affected by climate change. Our results also underscore the value of natural history collections as windows into long-term ecological trends.
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Copyright: © 2018 Maurer et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Link to journal article: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0202850
Maurer JA, Shepard JH, Crabo LG, Hammond PC, Zack RS, Peterson MA (2018) Phenological responses of 215 moth species to interannual climate variation in the Pacific Northwest from 1895 through 2013. PLoS ONE 13(9): e0202850. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0202850
Subjects - Topical (LCSH)
Moths--Climatic factors--Northwest, Pacific
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