Development on drought-stressed host plants affects life history, flight morphology and reproductive output relative to landscape structure

Gibbs, Melanie; Van Dyck, Hans; Breuker, Casper J.. 2012 Development on drought-stressed host plants affects life history, flight morphology and reproductive output relative to landscape structure. Evolutionary Applications, 5 (1). 66-75.

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With global climate change, rainfall is becoming more variable. Predicting the responses of species to changing rainfall levels is difficult because, for example in herbivorous species, these effects may be mediated indirectly through changes in host plant quality. Furthermore, species responses may result from a simultaneous interaction between rainfall levels and other environmental variables such as anthropogenic land use or habitat quality. In this eco-evolutionary study, we examined how male and female Pararge aegeria (L.) from woodland and agricultural landscape populations were affected by the development on drought-stressed host plants. Compared with individuals from woodland landscapes, when reared on drought-stressed plants agricultural individuals had longer development times, reduced survival rates and lower adult body masses. Across both landscape types, growth on drought-stressed plants resulted in males and females with low forewing aspect ratios and in females with lower wing loading and reduced fecundity. Development on drought-stressed plants also had a landscape-specific effect on reproductive output; agricultural females laid eggs that had a significantly lower hatching success. Overall, our results highlight several potential mechanisms by which low water availability, via changes in host plant quality, may differentially influence P. aegeria populations relative to landscape structure.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 2 - Ecological Processes in the Environment > BD - 2.4 - Estimate the impact of the main drivers and pressures on biodiversity ...
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Hails
ISSN: 1752-4563
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This is an open access journal. To access full text, click on the Official URL link
Additional Keywords: agriculture, climate change, life history evolution, phenotypic plasticity
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 17 Feb 2012 14:41 +0 (UTC)

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