Comparing thermal tolerance across contrasting landscapes: first steps towards understanding how landscape management could modify ectotherm thermal tolerance

Abstract : 1.Insects are highly dependent on ambient temperatures to ensure their biological functions. Their persistence in the environment and their resistance to unfavorable temperatures are governed by their physiological thermal tolerance. 2.Global change extends beyond climatic conditions to encompass modifications to the landscape. However, studies of climate change and landscape composition effects on ecosystem services, such as biological control, are commonly performed independently. Moreover, coarse scales are not always relevant when assessing climate change’s impacts on ectotherms. We aimed to better understand the ecological relationships that may exist between microclimatic variation and insect thermal tolerance across a landscape composition gradient. 3.To determine how landscape composition may impact insect thermal tolerance, parasitic wasps (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Aphidiinae) of aphids were sampled along a landscape gradient from “closed” to “open” habitats. Sampling was performed during the winter 2013/14 and spring 2014 in cereal fields of Brittany, France. Meteorological data were recorded along this gradient. 4.First, our results show an influence of landscape composition on local microclimate. Additionally, parasitoids from open landscapes had a higher tolerance to low temperatures, leading to higher physiological costs, compared to parasitoids from closed landscapes. This trend was stronger in winter than in spring. 5.These results have numerous implications in the context of climate change, suggesting that targeted landscape management practices could create sheltered microclimatic areas that reduce the physiological costs of thermal tolerance, and promote the persistence of biological control agents.
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Kévin Tougeron, Joan van Baaren, Françoise Burel, Lucy Alford. Comparing thermal tolerance across contrasting landscapes: first steps towards understanding how landscape management could modify ectotherm thermal tolerance. Insect Conservation and Diversity, 2016, 9 (3), pp.171-180. ⟨10.1111/icad.12153⟩. ⟨hal-01290842⟩

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