Temperature is a key abiotic condition that limits the distributions of organisms, and forest insects are particularly sensitive to thermal extremes. Whereas winged adult insects generally are able to escape unfavorable temperatures, other less-vagile insects (e.g., larvae) must withstand local microclimatic conditions to survive. Here, we measured the thermal tolerance of the larvae of three saproxylic beetle species that are common inhabitants of coarse woody debris (CWD) in temperate forests of eastern North America: Lucanus elaphus Fabricius (Lucanidae), Dendroides canadensis Latreille (Pyrochroidae), and Odontotaenius disjunctus Illiger (Passalidae). We determined how their critical thermal maxima (CTmax) vary with body size (mass), and measured the thermal profiles of CWD representing the range of microhabitats occupied by these species. Average CTmax differed among the three species and increased with mass intraspecifically. However, mass was not a good predictor of thermal tolerance among species. Temperature ramp rate and time in captivity also influenced larval CTmax, but only for D. canadensis and L. elaphus respectively. Heating profiles within relatively dry CWD sometimes exceeded the CTmax of the beetle larvae, and deeper portions of CWD were generally cooler. Interspecific differences in CTmax were not fully explained by microhabitat association, but the results suggest that the distribution of some species within a forest can be affected by local thermal extremes. Understanding the responses of saproxylic beetle larvae to warming habitats will help predict shifts in community structure and ecosystem functioning in light of climate change and increasing habitat fragmentation.more » « less
- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- Oxford University Press
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Environmental Entomology
- Medium: X Size: p. 1218-1223
- ["p. 1218-1223"]
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Abstract Temperature extremes often limit animal distributions. Whereas some poikilotherms (e.g., winged insects) can escape local thermal extremes, many less vagile organisms (e.g., insect larvae and arthropods with limited dispersal ability) are at the mercy of local microenvironmental conditions. Here, we quantified the thermal tolerance of an abundant, endemic, Nearctic millipede (Euryurus leachii), and explored the effects of seasonality, mass, and sex on its critical thermal maxima (CTmax). We also measured the thermal microenvironments of dead wood representing different decay classes. Overall, the mean CTmax for this species was ca. 40.5°C. Mass and sex had no effect on millipede CTmax. However, the mean CTmax for millipedes collected in the fall was 0.6°C higher than for individuals collected in the spring. An exposed dry log representing one common microhabitat for E. leachii readily warmed to temperatures exceeding its CTmax. The results suggest that CTmax is a seasonally plastic trait in E. leachii and that microclimatic conditions potentially limit the local distribution of this species. With habitat fragmentation and climate change contributing to warmer temperatures in forested systems, understanding the responses of detritivores like E. leachii can help predict potential shifts in community composition and ecosystem processes.more » « less
Photosynthetic traits suggest that shade tolerance may explain the contrasting success of two conifer taxa, Podocarpaceae and Pinaceae, in tropical forests. Needle‐leaved species from
Pinus(Pinaceae) are generally absent from tropical forests, whereas Pinus krempfii, a flat‐leaved pine, and numerous flat‐leaved Podocarpaceae are abundant. Respiration ( R) traits may provide additional insight into the drivers of the contrasting success of needle‐ and flat‐leaved conifers in tropical forests.
We measured the short‐term respiratory temperature (RT) response between 10 and 50°C and foliar morphological traits of three needle‐ and seven flat‐leaved conifer species coexisting in a tropical montane forest in the Central Highlands of Vietnam containing notable conifer diversity. We fit a lognormal polynomial model to each RT curve and extracted the following three parameters:
a(basal R), and band c(together describing the shape of the response).
Needle‐leaved species (
Pinus kesiya, Pinus dalatensisand Dacrydium elatum) had higher rates of area‐based Rat 25°C ( R25‐area) as well as higher area‐based modelled basal respiration ( a) than flat‐leaved species ( P. krempfii, Podocarpus neriifolius, Dacrycarpus imbricatus, Nageia nana, Taxus wallichiana, Keteeleria evelynianaand Fokienia hodginsii). No significant differences were found between needle‐ and flat‐leaved species in mass‐based R25( R25‐mass) or in the shape of the RT response ( band c); however, interspecific differences in R25‐mass, Rat nighttime temperature extremes ( R4.1and R20.6) and leaf traits were apparent.
R25‐areaand asuggest that needle‐leaved foliage may be more energetically costly to maintain than flat‐leaved foliage, providing new insight and additional support for the hypothesis that shade tolerance is an important driver of Podocarpaceae success and Pinaceae absence in the majority of tropical forests.
Interspecific differences in
R25‐massand leaf traits highlight that varying ecological strategies are employed by conifers to coexist and survive in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Ultimately, these data further our understanding of current conifer biogeographical distributions and underscore the need for additional studies to elucidate the effects of extreme temperature events on the continued survival of conifers in this unique forest.
Plain Language Summarycan be found within the Supporting Information of this article.
1. Critical thermal limits represent an important component of an organism's capacity to cope with future temperature changes. Understanding the drivers of variation in these traits may uncover patterns in physiological vulnerability to climate change. Local temperature extremes have emerged as a major driver of thermal limits, although their effects can be mediated by the exploitation of fine‐scale spatial variation in temperature through behavioural thermoregulation.
2. Here, we investigated thermal limits along elevation gradients within and between two cold‐water frog species (
Ascaphusspp.), one with a coastal distribution ( A. truei) and the other with a continental range ( A. montanus). We quantified thermal limits for over 700 tadpoles, representing multiple populations from each species. We combined local temporal and fine‐scale spatial temperature data to quantify local thermal landscapes (i.e., thermalscapes), including the opportunity for behavioural thermoregulation.
3. Lower thermal limits for either species could not be reached experimentally without the water freezing, suggesting that cold tolerance is <0.3°C. By contrast, upper thermal limits varied among populations, but this variation only reflected local temperature extremes in
A. montanus, perhaps as a consequence of the greater variation in stream temperatures across its range. Lastly, we found minimal fine‐scale spatial variability in temperature, suggesting limited opportunity for behavioural thermoregulation and thus increased vulnerability to warming for all populations.
4. By quantifying local thermalscapes, we uncovered different trends in the relative vulnerability of populations across elevation for each species. In
A. truei, physiological vulnerability decreased with elevation, whereas in A. montanus, all populations were equally physiologically vulnerable. These results highlight how similar environments can differentially shape physiological tolerance and patterns of vulnerability of species, and in turn impact their vulnerability to future warming.
Invasive species are ideal systems for testing geographical differences in performance traits and measuring evolutionary responses as a species spreads across divergent climates and habitats. The European gypsy moth,
Lymantria dispar disparL. (Lepidoptera: Erebidae), is a generalist forest defoliator introduced to Medford, Massachusetts, USA in 1869. The invasion front extends from Minnesota to North Carolina and the ability of this species to adapt to local climate may contribute to its continuing spread. We evaluated the performance of populations along the climatic gradient of the invasion front to test for a relationship between climate and ecologically important performance traits. Location
Eastern United States of America
Taxon Lymantria dispar disparL. (Lepidoptera: Erebidae) Methods
Insects from 14 populations across the US invasion front and interior of the invasive range were reared from hatch to adult emergence in six constant temperature treatments. The responses of survival, pupal mass and larval development time were analysed as a function of source climate (annual mean normal temperature), rearing temperature and their interaction using multiple polynomial regression.
With the exception of female development time, there were no significant interactions between source climate and rearing temperature, indicating little divergence in the shape of thermal reaction norms among populations. Source population and rearing temperature were significant predictors of survival and pupal mass. Independent of rearing temperature, populations from warmer climates had lower survival than those from colder climates, but attained larger body size despite similar development times. Larval development time was dependent on rearing temperature, but there were not consistent relationships with source climate.
Thermal adaptation can be an important factor shaping the spread of invasive species, particularly in the context of climate change. Our results suggest that
L. d. disparis highly plastic, but has undergone climate‐related adaptation in thermal performance and life‐history traits as it spread across North America.
Tropical pollinators are expected to experience substantial effects due to climate change, but aspects of their thermal biology remain largely unknown. We investigated the thermal tolerance of stingless honey-making bees, the most ecologically, economically and culturally important group of tropical pollinators. We assessed changes in the lower (CTMin) and upper (CTMax) critical thermal limits of 17 species (12 genera) at two elevations (200 and 1500 m) in the Colombian Andes. In addition, we examined the influence of body size (intertegular distance, ITD), hairiness (thoracic hair length) and coloration (lightness value) on bees’ thermal tolerance. Because stingless beekeepers often relocate their colonies across the altitudinal gradient, as an initial attempt to explore potential social responses to climatic variability, we also tracked for several weeks brood temperature and humidity in nests of three species at both elevations. We found that CTMin decreased with elevation while CTMax was similar between elevations. CTMin and CTMax increased (low cold tolerance and high heat tolerance) with increasing ITD, hair length and lightness value, but these relationships were weak and explained at most 10% of the variance. Neither CTMin nor CTMax displayed significant phylogenetic signal. Brood nest temperature tracked ambient diel variations more closely in the low-elevation site, but it was constant and higher at the high-elevation site. In contrast, brood nest humidity was uniform throughout the day regardless of elevation. The stronger response in CTMin, and a similar CTMax between elevations, follows a pattern of variation documented across a wide range of taxa that is commonly known as the Brett’s heat-invariant hypothesis. Our results indicate differential thermal sensitivities and potential thermal adaptations to local climate, which support ongoing conservation policies to restrict the long-distance relocations of colonies. They also shed light on how malleable nest thermoregulation can be across elevations.more » « less