How to prevent key interactions in nature from deteriorating due to climate change?
Using a combination of laboratory experiments and dynamic simulations, we quantified the effects of phenological shifts on Drosophila–parasitoid interactions under the climatic change.
Image description: Parasitic wasp (Leptopilina sp.), attacks a fruit fly larva (Drosophila sp.). Drawing by Chia-Hua Lue.
Climate change is altering the relative timing of species interactions by shifting when species first appear in communities and modifying the duration organisms spend in each developmental stage. However, community contexts, such as intraspecific competition and alternative resource species, can prolong shortened windows of availability and may mitigate the effects of phenological shifts on species interactions. Using a combination of laboratory experiments and dynamic simulations, we quantified how the effects of phenological shifts in Drosophila–parasitoid interactions differed with
concurrent changes in temperature, intraspecific competition, and the presence of alternative host species. Our study confirmed that warming shortens the window of host susceptibility. However, the presence of alternative host species sustained interaction persistence across a broader range of phenological shifts than pairwise interactions by increasing the degree of temporal overlap with suitable development stages between hosts and parasitoids. These results demonstrate that the ongoing decline in insect diversity may exacerbate the effects of phenological shifts in ecological communities under future global warming temperatures.
Pardikes NA, Revilla T, Lue CH, Thierry M, Souto‐Vilarós D, Hrcek J (2022) Effects of phenological mismatch under warming are modified by community context. Global Change Biology.