Laboratory of Biodiversity and Climate Change

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Our team at the Laboratory of Biodiversity and Climate Change studies many aspects of arthropod communities focusing on the spatial dynamics and temporal responses to past, current and potential future climate changes and anomalies in tropical lowland rainforests. Our lab seeks primarily to understand how climate changes affect arthropod species composition, structure, and the inherent disruption in trophic interactions in megadiverse tropical forests. Most of our studies and experiments are related to data from the ongoing long-term monitoring scheme for tropical arthropods, a unique design in tropical systems initiated by Dr. Yves Basset in 2008 (ForestGEO Arthropod Initiative). The network of permanent forest dynamic plots monitored by the Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO) is an international collaborative network of scientists with 69 forest research sites across the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Oceania dedicated to advancing long-term studies in forest dynamics. Within these forest plots each tree >1cm DBH is tagged, identified and its DBH measured once every 5 years. This program provides a unique opportunity for long-term monitoring of arthropod populations and can capitalize on existing floristic, phenological and climatic data from these plots, thus simplifying efforts to study tropical arthropods and their interactions with plants.


Workflow of the ForestGEO Arthropod Initiative monitoring scheme for long-term monitoring of population dynamics for common, poorly-known and species-rich insect assemblages. Modified from Basset et al. (2017) Ecology and Evolution and Basset and Lamarre (2019) Science.

Research projects

Multi-taxa responses of tropical Lepidoptera to climate changes and anomalies on Barro Colorado Island in Panama

Climate changes represent one of the major causes of global biodiversity decline with species attrition and plausible dramatic scenarios for terrestrial biodiversity concentrated in the tropics. Extreme droughts and disruption in rainfall have been affecting species composition and productivity among multiple organisms. However, we still have little understanding of the effects of climate changes on terrestrial organisms responsible for the maintenance of crucial ecosystem services, such as insect herbivores. Our main objective seeks to understand the multiple responses of tropical Lepidoptera to ongoing and predicted climate changes. We predict contrasting changes in ten phylogenetically and ecologically Lepidoptera taxa and study their past and future directional responses to extreme events of climate that occurred during 2009-2020. We will compare species responses using three different analytical approaches and models to explore the best choice of target model species for monitoring programs and studies of climate change. Our study system also includes reproducible field protocols, laboratory experiments (thermal and desiccation tolerance) and data modelling.

Duration: 01-01-2019 to 01.06.2022



Integrating genomic and trophic information into long-term monitoring of tropical insects: pollinators on Barro Colorado Island, Panama

Current evidence suggests insect pollinators to be undergoing population declines worldwide with catastrophic consequences to biodiversity and human crop production. These population declines are difficult to demonstrate using census data alone. High-throughput sequencing techniques such as RAD-seq allow to generate single nucleotide polymorphism datasets, permitting the estimation of population genetic parameters such as effective population size. Using collections from long-term monitoring efforts allow to study how populations have been recently affected by factors such as climatic change. We will analyze recent population changes of diverse insect pollinators (euglossine bees, Cyclocephalini beetles and butterflies). The ForestGEO Arthropod Initiative has been monitoring arthropod assemblages on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, since 2009. We will use these data to infer population genomic changes in the 25 most common pollinator species. We will improve forecast of population dynamics using flower resource, determined from DNA pollen metabarcoding and litterfall trap data, as covariates of pollinator time-series. In sum, we will study recent population changes of insect pollinators in a tropical rainforest. We will develop models of population dynamics for the 25 most common species, incorporating genomic and trophic information.

Duration: 01-01-2020 to 01.01.2023



Biology Centre CAS
Institute of Entomology
Branišovská 1160/31
370 05 České Budějovice

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