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Data from: Elevated temperatures translate into reduced dispersal abilities in a natural population of an aquatic insect


Jourdan, Jonas et al. (2019), Data from: Elevated temperatures translate into reduced dispersal abilities in a natural population of an aquatic insect, Dryad, Dataset,


1. Rising global temperatures force many species to shift their distribution ranges. However, whether or not (and how fast) such range shifts occur depends on species’ dispersal capacities. In most ecological studies, dispersal-related traits (such as the wing size or wing loading in insects) are treated as fixed, species-specific characteristics, ignoring the important role of phenotypic plasticity during insect development. 2. We tested the hypothesis that dispersal-related traits themselves vary in dependence of ambient environmental conditions (temperature regimes, discharge patterns and biotic interactions during individual development). 3. We collected data over 8 years from a natural population of the crane fly Tipula maxima in central Germany. Using linear mixed-effect models, we analysed how phenotypic traits, phenological characteristics and population densities are affected by environmental conditions during the preceding 3, 6 and 12 months. 4. We found a moderate (5.6%) increase in wing length per 1°C increase of mean annual temperatures during the previous year. At the same time, body weight increased by as much as 17.8% in females and 26.9% in males per 1°C, likely driven by increased habitat productivity, which resulted in a 16.4% (female) and 19.3% (male) increased wing loading. We further found a shorter, more synchronized emergence period (i.e., a narrower time frame for dispersal) with increasing temperatures. 5. Altogether, our results suggest that dispersal abilities of T. maxima were negatively affected by elevated temperatures, and we discuss how similar patterns might affect the persistence of populations of other aquatic insects, especially stenoecious taxa with narrow distribution ranges. Our study calls for integration of information on temperature-induced phenotypic plasticity of dispersal-related traits into models forecasting range shifts in the face of climate change. Furthermore, the patterns reported here are likely to affect metapopulation dynamics of aquatic insects under climate change conditions and may contribute to the ongoing decline of insect biomass and diversity.

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