The research, carried out by scientists from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Butterfly Conservation and the University of York, has implications for how we might design landscapes better to help conserve species.
The scientists used UK Land Cover Map data (from satellite images) to collect information on the topography and diversity of habitats in the landscape. They found that sites with a greater diversity of habitat types (e.g. woodland, grassland, heathland) and more varied terrain tended to have butterfly populations that were more stable over time.
The study's lead author, Dr Tom Oliver from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said, "More stable insect populations are better for conservation because it means that, in years with extreme weather (e.g. drought years), populations are less likely to go extinct. Our research shows that populations of species such as the Brown Argus and Dingy Skipper butterfly are more stable when they are located in hilly landscapes with a range of habitat types."
Thirty-five British butterfly species were included in the analysis using records collected by volunteers of the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme from 166 transect sites across the UK. The research team compared the stability of butterfly populations over an 11 year period with the diversity of habitats in the surrounding landscape up to 5km from monitored sites. They concluded that landscapes with a greater range of habitats harboured more stable butterfly populations. In addition, landscapes with a greater range of topographic aspect (e.g. north, south, east and west facing slopes) were also better for the insects.
Co-author Dr Jane Hill of the Department of Biology at the University of York said, "Our findings show that more diverse landscapes may provide a greater range of resources and microclimates, which can buffer insect populations from declines in difficult years."
A surprising result from the study was that, for some butterfly species, the diversity of habitats up to 5km away from monitored sites affected the butterfly populations. Co-author Dr Tom Brereton, Head of Monitoring at Butterfly Conservation, said, "Our results highlight the importance of taking a landscape perspective for species conservation."
The researchers hope that in the future it may be possible to design landscapes that are more effective at conserving species. Co-author Dr David Roy from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology said, "With a rapidly changing climate we need our landscapes to support biodiversity as well as provide other ecosystem services such as food production and clean water. Using remotely-sensed land cover data from satellites to design landscapes may help us to achieve the right balance."
Barnaby Smith | EurekAlert!
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy