The effect of landscape complexity and microclimate on the thermal tolerance of a pest insect

Abstract : Landscape changes are known to exacerbate the impacts of climate change. As such, understanding the combined effect of climate and landscape on agroecosystems is vital if we are to maintain the function of agroecosystems. This study aimed to elucidate the effects of agricultural landscape complexity on the microclimate and thermal tolerance of an aphid pest to better understand how landscape and climate may interact to affect the thermal tolerance of pest species within the context of global climate change. Meteorological data were measured at the landscape level, and cereal aphids (Sitobion avenae, Metopolophium dirhodum and Rhopalosiphum padi) sampled, from contrasting landscapes (simple and complex) in winter 2013/2014 and spring 2014 in cereal fields of Brittany, France. Aphids were returned to the laboratory and the effect of landscape of origin on aphid cold tolerance (as determined by CTmin) was investigated. Results revealed that local landscape complexity significantly affected microclimate, with simple homogenous landscapes being on average warmer, but with greater temperature variation. Landscape complexity was shown to impact aphid cold tolerance, with aphids from complex landscapes being more cold tolerant than those from simple landscapes in both winter and spring, but with differences among species. This study highlights that future changes to land use could have implications for the thermal tolerance and adaptability of insects. Furthermore, not all insect species respond in a similar way to microhabitat and microclimate, which could disrupt important predator–prey relationships and the ecosystem service they provide.
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Lucy Alford, Kévin Tougeron, Jean‐sébastien Pierre, Francoise Burel, Joan Van Baaren. The effect of landscape complexity and microclimate on the thermal tolerance of a pest insect. Insect Science, Wiley, 2018, 25 (5), pp.905-915. ⟨10.1111/1744-7917.12460⟩. ⟨hal-01810255⟩

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