Insect Conservation

UFZ-Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Department of Community Ecology, Theodor-Lieser-Strasse 4, 06120 Halle, Germany.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.48). 08/2009; 325(5936):41-2. DOI: 10.1126/science.1176892
Source: PubMed
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    • ", 2005 ; Thomas et al . , 2009 ; Settele and Kühn , 2009 ) . In spite of the short duration of our study , we found statistically significant and / or qualitatively informative effects of management on the interacting species examined . "
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    ABSTRACT: As part of a major transformation of the EU agriculture in the last few decades, traditional land-use types disappeared due to either intensification or abandonment. Grasslands are highly affected in this process and are consequently among the most threatened semi-natural habitats in Europe. However, experimental evidence is scarce on the effects of management types on biodiversity. Moreover, management types need to be feasible within the recently changed socio-economic circumstances in Hungary. We investigated the effects of timing and frequency of mowing on the abundance of the scarce large blue butterfly (Phengaris teleius), on the abundance of its host plant and on the frequency of its host ant species. In each of four study meadows, we applied four types of management: one cut per year in May, one cut per year in September, two cuts per year (May and September) and cessation of management. After three years of experimental management, we found that adult butterflies preferred plots cut once in September over plots cut twice per year and abandoned ones, while plots cut once in May were also preferred over abandoned plots. Relative host plant abundance remarkably increased in plots cut once in September. Management did not affect the occupancy pattern of Myrmica host ants. Invasive goldenrod was successfully retained by two cuts per year. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to test management effects on the whole community module of a socially parasitic butterfly, its host plant and host ants. Based on the results, we provide recommendations on regional management of the scarce large blue's habitats.
    Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 10/2014; 196:24–33. DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2014.06.019 · 3.20 Impact Factor
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    • "The field of insect conservation is littered with enormous challenges (Stewart et al. 2007). Among insects, butterflies possess well-known ecological preferences and respond to the action of drivers of change even more strongly and faster than other well-studied taxa, such as birds and vascular plants (Warren et al. 2001). "
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Although most conservationists claim to protect “species”, the conservation unit actually and practically managed is the individual population. As resources are not unlimited, we need to focus on a restricted number of populations. But how can we select them? The Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU), first conceptualised by Ryder in 1986, may offer some answer. Several definitions have been proposed for the ESU, but all make reference to units “whose divergence can be measured or evaluated by putting differential emphasis on the role of evolutionary forces at varied temporal scales”. Thus, an ESU might be fully identical with a “species”, or a “species” could be composed of multiple ESUs. On the other hand, an ESU might comprise single/multiple populations exchanging a degree of gene flow, such as meta-populations. In an attempt to show strengths and weaknesses of ESU concepts, we present here, among several others, some case studies on the myrmecophilous butterflies of the genus Maculinea. In particular, we analyse the apparently everlasting debate about Maculinea alcon and M. rebeli, whose separation into separate species has been accepted by many authors, on mainly ecological criteria, but has not been fully supported by molecular analyses. We also discuss how the tight association with host ants may have driven selection for increasingly more strictly adapted Maculinea populations, arguably deserving specific taxonomic identity. Finally we discuss how current DNA analyses may fail to detect critical information on differences between taxa recently originated by the action of separate adaptive processes, which non-molecular studies can sometimes reveal. We conclude by discussing some current and often conflicting taxonomic trends, in their relationships with conservation policies.
    Italian Journal of Zoology 06/2014; DOI:10.1080/11250003.2013.870240 · 0.87 Impact Factor
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    • "A lack of signifi cance for Catalonian butterfl ies may have local extinction risk (Pimm et al. 1988, Lande 1993, Inchausti and Halley 2003, Oliver et al. 2012a). Th erefore, the diff erent aspects of heterogeneity may be substitutable to some degree, and in fl atter locations improving habitat diversity may allow the persistence of species under climate change (Hampe and Petit 2005, Settele and K ü hn 2009). Studies measuring microclimatic variability show that both variation in habitat type and topography can provide broad microclimatic gradients (Rosenberg 1974, Ashton et al. 2009, Suggitt et al. 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: The variability of populations over time is positively associated with their risk of local extinction. Previous work has shown that populations at the high-latitude boundary of species’ ranges show higher inter-annual variability, consistent with increased sensitivity and exposure to adverse climatic conditions. However, patterns of population variability at both high- and low-latitude species range boundaries have not yet been concurrently examined. Here, we assess the inter-annual population variability of 28 butterfly species between 1994 and 2009 at 351 and 18 sites in the United Kingdom and Catalonia, Spain, respectively. Local population variability is examined with respect to the position of the species’ bioclimatic envelopes (i.e. whether the population falls within areas of the ‘core’ climatic suitability or is a climatically ‘marginal’ population), and in relation to local landscape heterogeneity, which may influence these range location – population dynamic relationships. We found that butterfly species consistently show latitudinal gradients in population variability, with increased variability in the more northerly UK. This pattern is even more marked for southerly distributed species with ‘marginal’ climatic suitability in the UK but ‘core’ climatic suitability in Catalonia. In addition, local landscape heterogeneity did influence these range location – population dynamic relationships. Habitat heterogeneity was associated with dampened population dynamics, especially for populations in the UK. Our results suggest that promoting habitat heterogeneity may promote the persistence of populations at high-latitude range boundaries, which may potentially aid northwards expansion under climate warming. We did not find evidence that population variability increases towards southern range boundaries. Sample sizes for this region were low, but there was tentative evidence, in line with previous ecological theory, that local landscape heterogeneity may promote persistence in these retracting low-latitude range boundary populations.
    Ecography 04/2014; 37(9). DOI:10.1111/ecog.00608 · 4.21 Impact Factor
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