In mountain ecosystems, climate change can cause spatiotemporal shifts, impacting the composition of communities and altering fundamental biotic interactions, such as those involving flower-visiting arthropods. On of the main problems in assessing the effects of climate change on arthropods in these environments is the lack of baseline data. In particular, the arthropod communities on early flowering high-altitude plants are poorly investigated, although the early season is a critical moment for possible mismatches. In this study, we characterised the flower-visiting arthropod community on the early flowering high-altitude Alpine plant, Androsace brevis (Primulaceae). In addition, we tested the effect of abiotic factors (temperature and wind speed) and other variables (time, i.e., hour of the day, and number of flowers per plant) on the occurrence, abundance, and diversity of this community. A. brevis is a vulnerable endemic species growing in the Central Alps above 2000 m asl and flowering for a very short period immediately after snowmelt, thus representing a possible focal plant for arthropods in this particular moment of the season. Diptera and Hymenoptera were the main flower visitors, and three major features of the community emerged: an evident predominance of anthomyiid flies among Diptera, a rare presence of bees, and a relevant share of parasitoid wasps. Temperature and time (hour of the day), but not wind speed and number of flowers per plant, affected the flower visitors’ activity. Our study contributes to (1) defining the composition of high-altitude Alpine flower-visiting arthropod communities in the early season, (2) establishing how these communities are affected by environmental variables, and (3) setting the stage for future evaluation of climate change effects on flower-visiting arthropods in high-altitude environments in the early season.

The Early Season Community of Flower-Visiting Arthropods in a High-Altitude Alpine Environment / M. Bonelli, E. Eustacchio, D. Avesani, V. Michelsen, M. Falaschi, M. Caccianiga, M. Gobbi, M. Casartelli. - In: INSECTS. - ISSN 2075-4450. - 13:4(2022 Apr 16), pp. 393.1-393.18. [10.3390/insects13040393]

The Early Season Community of Flower-Visiting Arthropods in a High-Altitude Alpine Environment

M. Bonelli
Co-primo
;
E. Eustacchio
Co-primo
;
M. Falaschi;M. Caccianiga;M. Casartelli
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

In mountain ecosystems, climate change can cause spatiotemporal shifts, impacting the composition of communities and altering fundamental biotic interactions, such as those involving flower-visiting arthropods. On of the main problems in assessing the effects of climate change on arthropods in these environments is the lack of baseline data. In particular, the arthropod communities on early flowering high-altitude plants are poorly investigated, although the early season is a critical moment for possible mismatches. In this study, we characterised the flower-visiting arthropod community on the early flowering high-altitude Alpine plant, Androsace brevis (Primulaceae). In addition, we tested the effect of abiotic factors (temperature and wind speed) and other variables (time, i.e., hour of the day, and number of flowers per plant) on the occurrence, abundance, and diversity of this community. A. brevis is a vulnerable endemic species growing in the Central Alps above 2000 m asl and flowering for a very short period immediately after snowmelt, thus representing a possible focal plant for arthropods in this particular moment of the season. Diptera and Hymenoptera were the main flower visitors, and three major features of the community emerged: an evident predominance of anthomyiid flies among Diptera, a rare presence of bees, and a relevant share of parasitoid wasps. Temperature and time (hour of the day), but not wind speed and number of flowers per plant, affected the flower visitors’ activity. Our study contributes to (1) defining the composition of high-altitude Alpine flower-visiting arthropod communities in the early season, (2) establishing how these communities are affected by environmental variables, and (3) setting the stage for future evaluation of climate change effects on flower-visiting arthropods in high-altitude environments in the early season.
Settore AGR/11 - Entomologia Generale e Applicata
16-apr-2022
https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4450/13/4/393
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/923810
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