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Dissecting the contributions of plasticity and local adaptation to the phenology of a butterfly and its host plants
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology. Imperial College London, United Kingdom.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1911-1742
2012 (English)In: American Naturalist, ISSN 0003-0147, E-ISSN 1537-5323, Vol. 180, no 5, 655-670 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Phenology affects the abiotic and biotic conditions that an organism encounters and, consequently, its fitness. For populations of high-latitude species, spring phenology often occurs earlier in warmer years and regions. Here we apply a novel approach, a comparison of slope of phenology on temperature over space versus over time, to identify the relative roles of plasticity and local adaptation in generating spatial phenological variation in three interacting species, a butterfly, Anthocharis cardamines, and its two host plants, Cardamine pratensis and Alliaria petiolata. All three species overlap in the time window over which mean temperatures best predict variation in phenology, and we find little evidence that a day length requirement causes the sensitive time window to be delayed as latitude increases. The focal species all show pronounced temperature-mediated phenological plasticity of similar magnitude. While we find no evidence for local adaptation in the flowering times of the plants, geographic variation in the phenology of the butterfly is consistent with countergradient local adaptation. The butterfly's phenology appears to be better predicted by temperature than it is by the flowering times of either host plant, and we find no evidence that coevolution has generated geographic variation in adaptive phenological plasticity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 180, no 5, 655-670 p.
Keyword [en]
plasticity, local adaptation, space-for-time substitution, phenology, plant-herbivore, coevolution
National Category
Zoology
Research subject
Ethology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-83024DOI: 10.1086/667893ISI: 000309976800012OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-83024DiVA: diva2:574422
Note

AuthorCount:4;

Available from: 2012-12-05 Created: 2012-12-03 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Spring Phenology of Butterflies: The role of seasonal variation in life-cycle regulation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Spring Phenology of Butterflies: The role of seasonal variation in life-cycle regulation
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Animals and plants in temperate regions must adapt their life cycle to pronounced seasonal variation. The research effort that has gone into studying these cyclical life history events, or phenological traits, has increased greatly in recent decades. As phenological traits are often correlated to temperature, they are relevant to study in terms of understanding the effect of short term environmental variation as well as long term climate change. Because of this, changes in phenology are the most obvious and among the most commonly reported responses to climate change. Moreover, phenological traits are important for fitness as they determine the biotic and abiotic environment an individual encounters. Fine-tuning of phenology allows for synchronisation at a local scale to mates, food resources and appropriate weather conditions. On a between-population scale, variation in phenology may reflect regional variation in climate. Such differences can not only give insights to life cycle adaptation, but also to how populations may respond to environmental change through time. This applies both on an ecological scale through phenotypic plasticity as well as an evolutionary scale through genetic adaptation. In this thesis I have used statistical and experimental methods to investigate both the larger geographical patterns as well as mechanisms of fine-tuning of phenology of several butterfly species. The main focus, however, is on the orange tip butterfly, Anthocharis cardamines, in Sweden and the United Kingdom. I show a contrasting effect of spring temperature and winter condition on spring phenology for three out of the five studied butterfly species. For A. cardamines there are population differences in traits responding to these environmental factors between and within Sweden and the UK that suggest adaptation to local environmental conditions. All populations show a strong negative plastic relationship between spring temperature and spring phenology, while the opposite is true for winter cold duration. Spring phenology is shifted earlier with increasing cold duration. The environmental variables show correlations, for example, during a warm year a short winter delays phenology while a warm spring speeds phenology up. Correlations between the environmental variables also occur through space, as the locations that have long winters also have cold springs. The combined effects of these two environmental variables cause a complex geographical pattern of phenology across the UK and Sweden. When predicting phenology with future climate change or interpreting larger geographical patterns one must therefore have a good enough understanding of how the phenology is controlled and take the relevant environmental factors in to account. In terms of the effect of phenological change, it should be discussed with regards to change in life cycle timing among interacting species. For example, the phenology of the host plants is important for A. cardamines fitness, and it is also the main determining factor for oviposition. In summary, this thesis shows that the broad geographical pattern of phenology of the butterflies is formed by counteracting environmental variables, but that there also are significant population differences that enable fine-tuning of phenology according to the seasonal progression and variation at the local scale.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2016. 42 p.
Keyword
Phenology, Life cycle regulation, Phenotypic plasticity, Local adaptation, Butterflies, Diapause, Pupal development, Anthocharis cardamines, Herbivore – host plant interaction
National Category
Behavioral Sciences Biology
Research subject
Ethology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-132278 (URN)978-91-7649-442-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-09-09, Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-salen), NPQ-huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2016-08-17 Created: 2016-08-04 Last updated: 2016-08-23Bibliographically approved

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