The influence of chalk grasslands on butterfly phenology and ecology

Greenwell, Matthew P.; Botham, Marc S. ORCID:; Bruford, Michael W.; Day, John C. ORCID:; Evans, Luke C.; Gibbs, Melanie ORCID:; Middlebrook, Ian; Roy, David B. ORCID:; Watts, Kevin; Oliver, Tom H.. 2021 The influence of chalk grasslands on butterfly phenology and ecology. Ecology and Evolution, 11 (21). 14521-14539.

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The influence of large-scale variables such as climate change on phenology has received a great deal of research attention. However, local environmental factors also play a key role in determining the timing of species life cycles. Using the meadow brown butterfly Maniola jurtina as an example, we investigate how a specific habitat type, lowland calcareous grassland, can affect the timing of flight dates. Although protracted flight periods have previously been reported in populations on chalk grassland sites in the south of England, no attempt has yet been made to quantify this at a national level, or to assess links with population genetics and drought tolerance. Using data from 539 sites across the UK, these differences in phenology are quantified, and M. jurtina phenology is found to be strongly associated with both site geology and topography, independent of levels of abundance. Further investigation into aspects of M. jurtina ecology at a subset of sites finds no genetic structuring or drought tolerance associated with these same site conditions.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2045-7758
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: chalk grassland, drought tolerance, Maniola jurtina, meadow brown, phenology, population genetics
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Biology and Microbiology
Date made live: 24 Nov 2021 12:59 +0 (UTC)

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