Ecological and life-history traits predict temporal trends in biomass of boreal moths

Mahtab Yazdanian, Tuomas Kankaanpää, Juhani Itämies, Reima Leinonen, Thomas Merckx, Juha Pöyry, Pasi Sihvonen, Anna Suuronen, Panu Välimäki, Sami M. Kivelä

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Abstract

Dramatic insect declines, and their consequences for ecosystems globally, have received considerable attention recently. Yet, it is still poorly known if ecological and life-history traits can explain declines and whether insect decline occurs also at high latitudes. Insects' diversity and abundance are dramatically lower at high latitudes compared to the tropics, and insects might benefit from climate warming in high-latitude environments. We adopted a trait- and biomass-based approach to estimate temporal change between 1993 and 2019 in Finnish macro-moth communities by using data from 85 long-running light traps. We analysed spatio-temporal variation in biomass of moth functional groups with Joint Dynamic Species Distribution Models while accounting for environmental variables. We did not detect any declining trends in total moth biomass of moth functional groups, and most groups were stable over time. Moreover, biomass increased for species using coniferous trees, lichens, or mushrooms as hosts, multivoltine species, as well as monophagous and oligophagous species feeding on trees. We found that length and temperature of the growing season, winter climatic conditions, and habitat structure all partially explained variation in moth biomass. Although boreal moth communities are rapidly changing due to species turnover, in terms of total biomass they seem to contradict the trend of dramatic insect declines observed globally. This may lessen the immediate possibility of negative bottom-up trophic cascades in boreal food webs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-615
Number of pages16
JournalInsect Conservation and Diversity
Volume16
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Mahdi Aminikhah, Reetta Hämäläinen, Mira Kajanus and Matthew Nielsen, who supplied valuable feedback on the manuscript. The Finnish Ministry of the Environment supported the National Moth Monitoring Scheme (Nocturna), and we thank volunteers for identifying moth species. We acknowledge CSC—IT Centre for Science, Finland, for computational resources. This study was funded by the Kvantum Institute at the University of Oulu and Academy of Finland (grants 314833 and 345363 to Sami M. Kivelä).

Funding Information:
We thank Mahdi Aminikhah, Reetta Hämäläinen, Mira Kajanus and Matthew Nielsen, who supplied valuable feedback on the manuscript. The Finnish Ministry of the Environment supported the National Moth Monitoring Scheme (Nocturna), and we thank volunteers for identifying moth species. We acknowledge CSC—IT Centre for Science, Finland, for computational resources. This study was funded by the Kvantum Institute at the University of Oulu and Academy of Finland (grants 314833 and 345363 to Sami M. Kivelä).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Insect Conservation and Diversity published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Entomological Society.

Keywords

  • climate change
  • forest habitat
  • functional trait
  • insect abundance
  • Joint Dynamic Species Distribution Models
  • lepidoptera
  • long-term monitoring
  • spatial variation
  • time-series analysis

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