Environmental change and the phenology of European aphids


Richard Harrington, fax +44 1582 760981, e-mail: richard.harrington@bbsrc.ac.uk


Aphids, because of their short generation time and low developmental threshold temperatures, are an insect group expected to respond particularly strongly to environmental changes. Forty years of standardized, daily data on the abundance of flying aphids have been brought together from countries throughout Europe, through the EU Thematic Network ‘EXAMINE’. Relationships between phenology, represented by date of first appearance in a year in a suction trap, of 29 aphid species and environmental data have been quantified using the residual maximum likelihood (REML) methodology. These relationships have been used with climate change scenario data to suggest plausible changes in aphid phenology. In general, the date of first record of aphid species in suction traps is expected to advance, the rate of advance varying with location and species, but averaging 8 days over the next 50 years. Strong relationships between aphid phenology and environmental variables have been found for many species, but they are notably weaker in species living all year on trees. Canonical variate analysis and principal coordinate analysis were used to determine ordinations of the 29 species on the basis of the presence/absence of explanatory variables in the REML models. There was strong discrimination between species with different life cycle strategies and between species feeding on herbs and trees, suggesting the possible value of trait-based groupings in predicting responses to environmental changes.