Climate change impacts on hollow-oak insect habitat

Researchers surveyed 300 hollow oaks at 100 sites, grouped observed species as generalists or specialists, and used GBIF-mediated occurrences to cluster the species identified by geographical distribution.

Stenagostus rhombeus, one of the generalist species inhabiting dead wood

Stenagostus rhombeus is a generalist species that inhabits dead wood. Photo CC BY-NC-SA 2015 Martin Grimm https://flic.kr/p/x55jUu

Ancient hollow oak trees are one of the most important habitats for insect biodiversity in Europe and North America. The old trees support numerous beetle species, and this study investigates how climate change will affect this community. Researchers surveyed 300 hollow oaks at 100 sites, grouped observed species as generalists or specialists, and used GBIF-mediated occurrences to cluster the species identified by geographical distribution. They then created models to predict the effects of future climate scenarios, finding that specialist beetles will be far more affected by changes in temperature and precipitation than generalists, indicating that halting the decline of hollow-oak habitats may be important to counter the effects of climate change.

Citations

Gough LA, Sverdrup-Thygeson A, Milberg P, Pilskog HE, Jansson N, Jonsell M, & Birkemoe T (2015) Specialists in ancient trees are more affected by climate than generalists. Ecology and Evolution. doi:10.1002/ece3.1799

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