The new analysis, scheduled to be published online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, gives insights on how a major and much-studied group of organisms is reacting to the Earth's warming climate.
"Butterflies are not only charismatic to the public, but also widely used as indicators of the health of the environment worldwide," said Shapiro, a professor of evolution and ecology. "We found many lowland species are being hit hard by the combination of warmer temperatures and habitat loss."
The results are drawn from Shapiro's 35-year database of butterfly observations made twice monthly at 10 sites in north-central California from sea level to tree line. The Shapiro butterfly database is unique in science for its combination of attributes: one observer (which reduces errors), very long-term, multiple sites surveyed often, a large number of species (more than 150), and attendant climatological data.
Shapiro's co-authors include three other UC Davis researchers and two former Shapiro graduate students, including lead analyst Matthew Forister, now an assistant professor of biology at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Their most significant findings:Butterfly diversity (the number of different species present) is falling fast at all the sites near sea level. It is declining more slowly or holding roughly constant in the mountains, except at tree line.
Using a battery of statistical approaches, Shapiro and his colleagues concluded that climate change alone cannot account in full for the deteriorating low-elevation numbers. Land-use data show that the butterfly losses have been greatest where habitat has been converted from rural to urban and suburban types.
He added that one of the most surprising findings was that ruderal (“weedy”) butterfly species that breed on “weedy” plants in disturbed habitats and are highly mobile are actually declining faster than “non-weedy” species -- those that specialize in one habitat type.
This is especially true in the mountains, where such species do not persist over winter but must recolonize every year from lower altitudes. As their numbers drop in the valleys, fewer are available to disperse uphill, and the rate of colonization drops.
“Butterfly folks generally consider these ruderal species to be ‘junk species,’ sort of the way bird watchers think of pigeons and starlings,” said Shapiro. “So it came as a shock to discover that they were being hit even harder than the species that conservationists are used to thinking about.
"Some of the 'weedy' species have been touted as great success stories, in which native butterflies had successfully adapted to the changed conditions created by European colonization of California. That was the case for many decades, but habitat loss has apparently caught up with them now.”
The study, "Compounded effects of climate change and habitat alteration shift patterns of butterfly diversity," will be online at http://www.pnas.org. It was funded by the National Science Foundation.
Additional authors are: at UC Davis, research scientist James Thorne in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, and graduate students Joshua O’Brien in the Graduate Group in Ecology and David Waetjen in the Geography Graduate Group; at Denison University in Ohio, assistant professor Andrew McCall; and at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, assistant professor Nathan Sanders and associate professor James Fordyce (another former Shapiro student).
The Shapiro database is online at http://butterfly.ucdavis.edu. It includes butterfly observations and study site maps, together with climate data from nearby weather stations, descriptions of study sites and habitats, and numerous photos. The 10 survey sites lie along Interstate 80 and range from low-lying Suisun Marsh on San Francisco Bay to 9,103-foot-high Castle Peak near Donner Summit.
The database was made public in 2007, also with funding from the National Science Foundation (news release, http://www-news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=8068).About UC Davis
Arthur Shapiro | EurekAlert!
Tag it EASI – a new method for accurate protein analysis
19.06.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
How to track and trace a protein: Nanosensors monitor intracellular deliveries
19.06.2018 | Universität Basel
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...
Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
19.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.06.2018 | Health and Medicine