Adapting to a warming world: Winter moth (Operophtera brumata) plastic and genetic responses in seasonal timing to increased temperatures

Lucia Salis (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationAcademic

Description

Introduction: In a changing world, species need to adapt to their new environment. In the Netherlands, the synchronization between timing of egg-hatching of the winter moth (Opheroptera brumata) and the bud burst of its primary host plant, the oak (Quercus robur), has been disrupted by climate change.
Methods: We use three approaches to study genetic and plastic responses of winter moth to climate change. We use both long-term (18 years) observational data and experiments to investigate genetic changes in timing of egg-hatching. Next, we test whether these genetic changes are due to altered sensitivity to photoperiod. Finally, we explore which are the limitations of the genetic adaptation using a novel phenological model that accurately describes the effect of temperature on winter moth egg’s developmental rate throughout egg development.

Results/Conclusion: First, we show that timing of egg hatching has changed genetically, resulting in closer synchrony of egg hatching with oak bud burst. Then we find that these changes are not due to altered sensitivity to photoperiod, as timing of egg-hatching is not plastic to photoperiodic cues. Finally, the novel phenological model improves our understanding of the mechanisms underlying insect egg development and allows the study of additive genetic variation in the model’s parameters. Furthermore, such model allows testing whether these parameters can be altered by selection. As temperature are forecasted to continue increasing, eco-evo-devo studies that couple empirical findings with phenological models are crucial to unravel the potential of future insect’s adaptive responses to climate change.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.94250
Period27 Sep 2016