Ecol Evol 2017 10 14;7(20):8578-8587. Epub 2017 Sep 14.
Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service Newark DE USA.
Observed changes in mean temperature and increased frequency of extreme climate events have already impacted the distributions and phenologies of various organisms, including insects. Although some research has examined how parasitoids will respond to colder temperatures or experimental warming, we know relatively little about how increased variation in temperature and humidity could affect interactions between parasitoids and their hosts. Using a study system consisting of emerald ash borer (EAB), , and its egg parasitoid , we conducted environmentally controlled laboratory experiments to investigate how increased seasonal climate variation affected the synchrony of host-parasitoid interactions. We hypothesized that increased climate variation would lead to decreases in host and parasitoid survival, host fecundity, and percent parasitism (independent of host density), while also influencing percent diapause in parasitoids. EAB was reared in environmental chambers under four climate variation treatments (standard deviations in temperature of 1.24, 3.00, 3.60, and 4.79°C), while . experiments were conducted in the same environmental chambers using a 4 × 3 design (four climate variation treatments × 3 EAB egg densities). We found that EAB fecundity was negatively associated with temperature variation and that temperature variation altered the temporal egg laying distribution of EAB. Additionally, even moderate increases in temperature variation affected parasitoid emergence times, while decreasing percent parasitism and survival. Furthermore, percent diapause in parasitoids was positively associated with humidity variation. Our findings indicate that relatively small changes in the frequency and severity of extreme climate events have the potential to phenologically isolate emerging parasitoids from host eggs, which in the absence of alternative hosts could lead to localized extinctions. More broadly, these results indicate how climate change could affect various life history parameters in insects, and have implications for consumer-resource stability and biological control.