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Associating the structure of Lepidoptera‐plant interaction networks across clades and life stages to environmental gradients


Ho, Hsi‐Cheng; Altermatt, Florian (2024). Associating the structure of Lepidoptera‐plant interaction networks across clades and life stages to environmental gradients. Journal of Biogeography, 51(4):725-738.

Abstract

AimThe spatial‐structural patterns of plant‐insect interaction networks, particularly their associations with landscape‐scale environmental factors, remain poorly understood. We apply data‐driven network constructions that integrate biogeographic and trophic interaction knowledge to uncover how Lepidoptera‐plant networks vary across environmental gradients in a real‐world landscape.LocationThe 36,000 km$^{2}$ German state Baden‐Württemberg, Central Europe.TaxonLepidoptera insects and angiosperm plants.Materials and MethodsWe integrated extensive data of Lepidoptera‐plant occurrences and interactions to infer local interaction networks across Baden‐Württemberg, encompassing 3148 plant and 980 Lepidoptera species, covering butterflies, Noctuoid moths, Geometrid moths, and Bombycoid moths. We quantified clade‐ and life‐stage‐specific network structures and related them to GIS‐informed environmental conditions, thereby revealing the spatial (environmental) patterns and potential drivers of network variations.ResultsSpanning shared environmental gradients, Lepidoptera clades and life stages formed various interaction structures with plants and exhibit distinct spatial‐structural patterns. For all Lepidoptera groups, except Geometrid moths, potential diet across life stages broadened toward low‐elevation farmlands. The larval and adult networks of butterflies became less modular with farmland coverage; the same for adult Noctuoid moths, but the inverse for adult Geometrid moths. With increasing elevation, the larval and adult networks of Noctuoid moths became less and more modular, respectively, whereas Geometrid adult networks became more modular. While the adult dietary niche of butterflies overlapped more at low elevation, those of Noctuoid and Geometrid moths further associated with land cover and overlapped more toward low‐ and high‐elevation farmlands, respectively.Main ConclusionsThe spatial‐structural patterns of Lepidoptera‐plant networks vary along geo‐climate and land‐cover gradients in ways depending on the Lepidoptera's clade and life stage. The driving mechanisms likely include both evolutionary (e.g., resource‐consumer [co‐]evolution) and ecological (e.g., competitive exclusion) processes, and differentially affect Lepidoptera across clades and life stages. These findings pinpoint conservation implications at both species and community levels, with potential trade‐offs for managing different Lepidoptera‐plant communities under environmental changes.

Abstract

AimThe spatial‐structural patterns of plant‐insect interaction networks, particularly their associations with landscape‐scale environmental factors, remain poorly understood. We apply data‐driven network constructions that integrate biogeographic and trophic interaction knowledge to uncover how Lepidoptera‐plant networks vary across environmental gradients in a real‐world landscape.LocationThe 36,000 km$^{2}$ German state Baden‐Württemberg, Central Europe.TaxonLepidoptera insects and angiosperm plants.Materials and MethodsWe integrated extensive data of Lepidoptera‐plant occurrences and interactions to infer local interaction networks across Baden‐Württemberg, encompassing 3148 plant and 980 Lepidoptera species, covering butterflies, Noctuoid moths, Geometrid moths, and Bombycoid moths. We quantified clade‐ and life‐stage‐specific network structures and related them to GIS‐informed environmental conditions, thereby revealing the spatial (environmental) patterns and potential drivers of network variations.ResultsSpanning shared environmental gradients, Lepidoptera clades and life stages formed various interaction structures with plants and exhibit distinct spatial‐structural patterns. For all Lepidoptera groups, except Geometrid moths, potential diet across life stages broadened toward low‐elevation farmlands. The larval and adult networks of butterflies became less modular with farmland coverage; the same for adult Noctuoid moths, but the inverse for adult Geometrid moths. With increasing elevation, the larval and adult networks of Noctuoid moths became less and more modular, respectively, whereas Geometrid adult networks became more modular. While the adult dietary niche of butterflies overlapped more at low elevation, those of Noctuoid and Geometrid moths further associated with land cover and overlapped more toward low‐ and high‐elevation farmlands, respectively.Main ConclusionsThe spatial‐structural patterns of Lepidoptera‐plant networks vary along geo‐climate and land‐cover gradients in ways depending on the Lepidoptera's clade and life stage. The driving mechanisms likely include both evolutionary (e.g., resource‐consumer [co‐]evolution) and ecological (e.g., competitive exclusion) processes, and differentially affect Lepidoptera across clades and life stages. These findings pinpoint conservation implications at both species and community levels, with potential trade‐offs for managing different Lepidoptera‐plant communities under environmental changes.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
08 Research Priority Programs > Global Change and Biodiversity
Dewey Decimal Classification:590 Animals (Zoology)
570 Life sciences; biology
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Physical Sciences > Ecology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 April 2024
Deposited On:22 Jan 2024 13:14
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 01:37
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0305-0270
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14776
Project Information: