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Data from: Warming at the population level: effects on age structure, density, and generation cycles.


Laughton, Alice M.; Knell, Robert J. (2019), Data from: Warming at the population level: effects on age structure, density, and generation cycles., Dryad, Dataset,


The impact of climate change on strongly age-structured populations is poorly understood, despite the central role of temperature in determining developmental rates in ectotherms. Here we examine the effect of warming and its interactions with resource availability on the population dynamics of the pyralid moth Plodia interpunctella, populations of which normally show generation cycles, a consequence of strong and asymmetric age-related competition. . Warming by 3°C above the standard culture temperature led to substantial changes in population density, age structure and population dynamics. Adult populations were some 50% larger in warmed populations, probably because the reduced fecundity associated with warming leads to reduced larval competition, allowing more larvae to develop to adulthood. Warming also interacted with resource availability to alter population dynamics, with the generation cycles typical of this species breaking down in the 30° populations when standard lab. diet was provided but not when a reduced nutrient poor diet was used. Warming by 6° led to either rapid extinction or the persistence of populations at low densities for the duration of the experiment. We conclude that even moderate warming can have considerable effects on population structure and dynamics, potentially leading to complete changes in dynamics in some cases. These results are particularly relevant given the large number of economically important species that exhibit generation cycling, in many cases arising from similar mechanisms to those operating in P. interpunctella.

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