Interactions between body size, abundance, seasonality, and phenology in forest beetles
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEcology and Evolution. 2017, 7 (4), 1091-1100. 10.1002/ece3.2732
Abstract Body size correlates with a large number of species traits, and these relationships have frequently been used to explain patterns in populations, communities, and ecosystems. However, diverging patterns occur, and there is a need for more data on different taxa at different scales. Using a large dataset of 155,418 individual beetles from 588 species collected over 13 years of sampling in Norway, we have explored whether body size predicts abundance, seasonality, and phenology in insects. Seasonality is estimated here by flight activity period length and phenology by peak activity. We develop several methods to estimate these traits from low-resolution sampling data. The relationship between abundance and body size was significant and as expected; the smaller species were more abundant. However, smaller species tended to fly for longer periods of the summer and peaked in midsummer, while larger species were restricted to shorter temporal windows. Further analysis of repeated sampling from a single location suggested that smaller species had increased flight period lengths in warmer years, but larger species showed the opposite pattern. The results 1) indicate that smaller species are likely to be disproportionately valuable in ecological interactions, and 2) provide potential insights into the traits influencing the vulnerability of some larger species to disturbances and climate change.