Elevational gradients are characterized by strong environmental changes within small geographical distances, providing important insights on the response of biological communities to climate change. Mountain biodiversity is particularly sensitive to climate change, given the limited capacity to colonize new areas and the competition from upshifting lowland species. Knowledge on the impact of climate change on mountain insect communities is patchy, but elevation is known to influence parasitic interactions which control insect communities and functions within ecosystems. We analyzed a European dataset of bristle flies, a parasitoid group which regulates insect herbivory in both managed and natural ecosystems. Our dataset spans six decades and multiple elevational bands, and we found marked elevational homogenization in the host specialization of bristle fly species through time. The proportion of specialized parasitoids has increased by ca. 70% at low elevations, from 17 to 29%, and has decreased by ca. 20% at high elevations, from 48 to 37%. As a result, the strong elevational gradient in bristle fly specialization observed in the 1960s has become much flatter over time. As climate warming is predicted to accelerate, the disappearance of specialized parasitoids from high elevations might become even faster. This parasitoid homogenization can reshape the ecological function of mountain insect communities, increasing the risk of herbivory outbreak at high elevations. Our results add to the mounting evidence that symbiotic species might be especially at risk from climate change: Monitoring the effects of these changes is urgently needed to define effective conservation strategies for mountain biodiversity.

Elevational homogenization of mountain parasitoids across six decades / Di Marco, Moreno; Santini, Luca; Corcos, Daria; Tschorsnig, Hans-Peter; Cerretti, Pierfilippo. - In: PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. - ISSN 1091-6490. - 120:46(2023). [10.1073/pnas.2308273120]

Elevational homogenization of mountain parasitoids across six decades

Di Marco, Moreno
;
Santini, Luca;Corcos, Daria;Cerretti, Pierfilippo
2023

Abstract

Elevational gradients are characterized by strong environmental changes within small geographical distances, providing important insights on the response of biological communities to climate change. Mountain biodiversity is particularly sensitive to climate change, given the limited capacity to colonize new areas and the competition from upshifting lowland species. Knowledge on the impact of climate change on mountain insect communities is patchy, but elevation is known to influence parasitic interactions which control insect communities and functions within ecosystems. We analyzed a European dataset of bristle flies, a parasitoid group which regulates insect herbivory in both managed and natural ecosystems. Our dataset spans six decades and multiple elevational bands, and we found marked elevational homogenization in the host specialization of bristle fly species through time. The proportion of specialized parasitoids has increased by ca. 70% at low elevations, from 17 to 29%, and has decreased by ca. 20% at high elevations, from 48 to 37%. As a result, the strong elevational gradient in bristle fly specialization observed in the 1960s has become much flatter over time. As climate warming is predicted to accelerate, the disappearance of specialized parasitoids from high elevations might become even faster. This parasitoid homogenization can reshape the ecological function of mountain insect communities, increasing the risk of herbivory outbreak at high elevations. Our results add to the mounting evidence that symbiotic species might be especially at risk from climate change: Monitoring the effects of these changes is urgently needed to define effective conservation strategies for mountain biodiversity.
2023
climate change; functional homogenization; insect decline; mountain biodiversity; parasitoid
01 Pubblicazione su rivista::01a Articolo in rivista
Elevational homogenization of mountain parasitoids across six decades / Di Marco, Moreno; Santini, Luca; Corcos, Daria; Tschorsnig, Hans-Peter; Cerretti, Pierfilippo. - In: PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. - ISSN 1091-6490. - 120:46(2023). [10.1073/pnas.2308273120]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1692487
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