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Detecting mismatches in the phenology of cotton bollworm larvae and cotton flowering in response to climate change

Abstract

Current evidence suggests that climate change has directly affected the phenology of many invertebrate species associated with agriculture. Such changes in phenology have the potential to cause temporal mismatches between predators and prey and may lead to a disruption in natural pest control ecosystem. Understanding the synchrony between pest insects and host plant responses to climate change is a key step to improve integrated pest management strategies. Cotton bollworm larvae damage cotton, and thus, data from Magaiti County, China, collected during the period of 1990–2015 were analyzed to assess the effects of climate change on cotton bollworm larvae and cotton flowering. The results showed that a warming climate advanced the phenology of cotton bollworm larvae and cotton flowering. However, the phenological rate of change was faster in cotton bollworm larvae than that in cotton flowering, and the larval period was prolonged, resulting in a great increase of the larval population. The abrupt phenological changes in cotton bollworm larvae occurred earlier than that in cotton, and the abrupt phenological changes in cotton flowering occurred earlier than that in larval abundance. However, the timing of abrupt changes in larval abundance all occurred later than that in temperature. Thus, the abrupt changes that occurred in larvae, cotton flowering and climate were asynchronous. The interval days between the cotton flowering date (CFD) and the half-amount larvae date (HLD) expanded by 3.41 and 4.41 days with a 1 °C increase of Tmean in May and June, respectively. The asynchrony between cotton bollworm larvae and cotton flowering will likely broaden as the climate changes. The effective temperature in March and April and the end date of larvae (ED) were the primary factors affecting asynchrony.

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Abbreviations

FD:

First-appearance date of larvae

ED:

End date of larvae

LP:

Larvae period

LPD:

Larvae peak date

HLD:

Half-amount larvae date

CFD:

Cotton flowering date

IDCL:

Interval days between CFD and LPD

PLS:

Partial least squares

PCA:

Principal component analysis

T mean :

Mean temperature

T min :

Minimum temperature

T max :

Maximum temperature

G2 :

The second generation

LPA:

Larval peak abundance

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Acknowledgements

The authors give thanks to the staff of the Bachu Meteorological Administration for observing the cotton phenology and to the staff of the Bachu plant protection station for collecting cotton bollworm larvae. The National Natural Science Foundation of China (41775109, 41275119) supported this work.

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Huang, J., Hao, H. Detecting mismatches in the phenology of cotton bollworm larvae and cotton flowering in response to climate change. Int J Biometeorol 62, 1507–1520 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-018-1552-0

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Keywords

  • Helicoverpa armigera
  • Climate change
  • Cotton flowering
  • Synchrony
  • Abrupt climate change