Spatiotemporal variations in aphid-parasitoid relative abundance patterns and food webs in agricultural ecosystems

Abstract : Understanding the stability of communities is fundamental in theoretical and applied ecology. Organisms atop trophic chains are particularly sensitive to disturbance, especially when they are dependent on a specific trophic resource subject to strong fluctuations in density and quality, which is the case of parasitoids. We investigated the (1) variability in spatiotemporal relative abundance patterns of a cereal aphid parasitoid community, determining at what scales such patterns vary in agrosystems. We also investigated whether (2) parasitoid relative abundances are strongly influenced by host relative abundances and if (3) different host species are exploited at distinct rates. Aphid parasitoid populations were monitored in three remote agricultural regions in France between 2010 and 2012. Five parasitoid species (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Aphidiinae) and three aphid species (Hemiptera: Aphididae) were identified in each of those three regions. Fields sampled in one region in a single year exhibited similar relative abundance patterns, with aphid parasitoid communities varying across regions and years. All parasitoid species were able to exploit each monitored host species. Metopolophium dirhodum Wlk was consistently a more frequent species among parasitized aphids than among living aphids, indicating that this aphid species was exploited at a higher rate than the other two aphid species found (Sitobion avenae F and Rhopalosiphum padi L). Those findings suggest the cereal aphid-parasitoid network is not strictly determined by the intrinsic permanent environmental characteristics but partially varies from one year to another. The similarity in abundance patterns in different fields of a region in a given year suggests the existence of a mechanism allowing a rapid synchronisation of the relative abundance patterns at an intra-regional scale. This phenomenon could be useful in predicting host-parasitoid communities and bear important consequences for the ecosystem service provided by parasitoids.
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Thiago Oliveira Andrade, Yannick Outreman, Liliane Krespi, Manuel Plantegenest, Aude Vialatte, et al.. Spatiotemporal variations in aphid-parasitoid relative abundance patterns and food webs in agricultural ecosystems. Ecosphere, Ecological Society of America, 2015, 6 (7), pp.1-14. ⟨10.1890/ES15-00010.1⟩. ⟨hal-01609802⟩

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