Changes in large-scale climate alter spatial synchrony of aphid pests

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Sheppard, L. W., Bell, J. R., Harrington, R. and Reuman, D. C. 2016. Changes in large-scale climate alter spatial synchrony of aphid pests. Nature Climate Change. 6, pp. 610-613.

AuthorsSheppard, L. W., Bell, J. R., Harrington, R. and Reuman, D. C.

Spatial synchrony, the tendency of distant populations to fluctuate similarly, is a major concern in ecology1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. Except in special circumstances3,9, researchers historically had difficulty identifying drivers of synchrony in field systems5,6,10. Perhaps for this reason, the possibility9,11,12 that changes in large-scale climatic drivers may modify synchrony, thereby impacting ecosystems and human concerns, has been little examined. Here, we use wavelets to determine environmental drivers of phenological synchrony across Britain for 20 aphid species, most major crop pests. Consistently across species, changes in drivers produced large changes in aphid synchrony. Different drivers acted on different timescales: using a new wavelet analogue of the Moran theorem1, we show that on long timescales (>4 years), 80% of synchrony in aphid first flights is due to synchrony in winter climate; but this explanation accounts for less short-timescale (≤4 years) synchrony. Changes in aphid synchrony over time also differed by timescale: long-timescale synchrony fell from before 1993 to after, caused by similar changes in winter climate; whereas short-timescale synchrony increased. Shifts in winter climate are attributable to the North Atlantic Oscillation, an important climatic phenomenon7,11,13, so effects described here may influence other taxa. This study documents a new way that climatic changes influence populations, through altered Moran effects.

KeywordsPhenology; Population dynamics
Year of Publication2016
JournalNature Climate Change
Journal citation6, pp. 610-613
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeDelivering Sustainable Systems (SS) [ISPG]
The Rothamsted Insect Survey [2012-2017]
Movement and spatial ecology in agricultural landscapes
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online07 Dec 2015
Publication process dates
Accepted03 Nov 2015
PublisherSpringer Nature
Nature Publishing Group
Copyright licensePublisher copyright

Permalink -

Restricted files

Publisher's version

Under embargo indefinitely

275 total views
1 total downloads
0 views this month
0 downloads this month