A1 Journal article – refereed
Abundance and diversity of birch-feeding leafminers along latitudinal gradients in northern Europe




List of Authors: Kozlov MV, van Nieukerken EJ, Zverev V, Zvereva EL
Publisher: WILEY-BLACKWELL
Publication year: 2013
Journal: Ecography
Journal name in source: ECOGRAPHY
Journal acronym: ECOGRAPHY
Number in series: 10
Volume number: 36
Issue number: 10
Number of pages: 12
ISSN: 0906-7590

Abstract
Latitudinal patterns in biotic interactions, including herbivory, have been widely debated during the past years. In particular, recent meta-analysis questioned the hypothesis that herbivory increases from the poles towards the equator. Our study was designed to verify this hypothesis by exploring latitudinal patterns in abundance and diversity of birch-feeding insect herbivores belonging to the leafminer guild in northern Europe, from 59 degrees to 69 degrees N. We collected branches from five mature trees of two birch species (Betula pendula and B. pubescens) at each study site (ten sites for each of five latitudinal gradients) twice per season (in early and late summer of 2008-2011) and attributed all mines found on leaves of these branches to a certain taxon of insects. Latitudinal patterns were quantified by calculating Spearman rank correlation coefficients between both abundance and diversity of leafmining taxa and latitudes of sampling sites. In general, both abundance and diversity of leafminers significantly decreased with latitude. However, we discovered pronounced variation in patterns of latitudinal changes among study years and leafminer taxa. Variation among study years was best explained by mean temperatures in July at the northern ends of our gradients. During cold years, abundance of leafminers significantly decreased with latitude, while during warm years the abundance was either independent of latitude or even increased towards the pole. In the northern boreal forests (66 degrees to 69 degrees N), herbivores demonstrated larger changes in densities in response to temperature variations than in the boreo-nemoral forests (59 degrees to 62 degrees N). Our data suggest that climate warming will result in a stronger increase in herbivory at higher latitudes than at lower latitudes.

Last updated on 2019-20-08 at 18:00