Project leader


Climate change is likely to often influence the phenology of interacting species differently, potentially leading to changes in the strength of species interactions. For example, if the phenology of an herbivore and its host plants are differentially influenced by a change in temperature regime and the herbivore is seasonally constrained by other ecological conditions, a change in climate may lead to altered host preferences. Such changes in interaction patterns are important to study because they will influence both population dynamics and character evolution, and they represent a fundamental component for our understanding of how climate change may influence both the structure and interaction networks of natural communities. The overarching aim of this project is to investigate how climate change through effects of distribution, abundance, and phenology may influence host utilization, selection and population dynamics in a model system consisting of two species of butterfly and their host plants. The model system consists of the Orange tip (Anthocharis cardamines) and the Green veined white butterfly (Pieris napi) as well as their crucifer host plants. One of the species, the Orange tip, can be assumed to be strongly associated with the phenology of the host plants, whereas the other, the Green veined white, is likely to be less influenced. We use field observations and experimental studies to investigate how host plant and butterfly phenology as well as host utilization vary with climate, and to characterize potential variation in adaptations (of both insects and plants) that influence the interactions. The field studies are carried out at different geographic scales and during several years. Experiments to assess reaction norms to temperature in butterflies and host plants are carried out under experimentally controlled climatic regimes, and the effects of phenological differences on host plant use is investigated in cage experiments. The project is a collaboration with Karl Gotthard and Christer Wiklund at Department of Zoology, Stockholm University. Two Ph.D. students, Tenna Toftegaard and Diana Posledovich, and one post-doc, Jose Navarro Cano are currently involved in the project. This is a project within the EkoKlim program that aims to study effects of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystem services, involving several departments at Stockholm University. References: Arvanitis, L., Wiklund, C. & Ehrlén, J. 2007. Butterfly seed predation: effects of landscape characteristics, plant ploidy level and population structure. Oecologia 152:275-285.Arvanitis, L., Wiklund, C. & Ehrlén, J. 2008. Plant ploidy level influences selection by butterfly seed predators. Oikos 117:1020-1025. Arvanitis, L., Wiklund, C., Münzbergova, Z., Dahlgren, J. P. & Ehrlén, J. 2010. Novel antagonistic interactions associated with plant polyploidization influence trait selection and habitat preference. Ecology Letters 13:330-337.

Last updated on 2017-23-03 at 09:06