Biotic interactions and their role on species’ distribution and abundance in a context of environmental changes. A case-study of a community of nettle-feeding butterflies and their parasitic insects.

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2017
End date: 31/12/2019
Funding: 3150000 SEK


To go beyond the simplistic
framework of predicting isolated species-specific response to climate
change, we must consider how these responses are influenced by processes
operating at the community level. Biotic interactions are dynamic and
can strongly influence species responses to changes. Yet, our
understanding of how these processes operate and scale-up to large-scale
patterns of species distribution is limited.
This project will address this gap by
investigating the role of biotic interactions in nettle-feeding
butterflies, using both experimental and modelling approaches.
Parasitoids are important drivers influencing both insects’ abundance
and distribution. Still, our understanding of their biology and their
impact on host communities is very limited. Using data collected across
Europe and from controlled field experiments, I will identify and
examine parasitoids’ seasonal patterns and evaluate their impact on
their hosts. Using existing long time-series of butterflies count, I
will model changes in species’ niches and analyse how patterns of
co-occurrence relate to butterflies’ abundance and distribution across
Europe. The challenge of linking local processes to large-scale patterns
of change in species distribution make synergies between detailed
experimental work and macroecological modelling particularly pertinent.
This will refine our understanding of the impact of species interactions
and improve our capacity to predict the impact climate change on

Last updated on 2017-06-10 at 09:46