Phenological responses of British orchids and their pollinators to climate change: an assessment using herbarium and museum collections

Robbirt, Karen Mary (2012) Phenological responses of British orchids and their pollinators to climate change: an assessment using herbarium and museum collections. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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    Abstract

    Climate change might de-couple plant-pollinator relationships if species respond
    differentially to environmental cues, such as temperature, but studies have been
    hindered by lack of long-term data. This research validates natural history collections
    as a source of long-term phenological data and, using these data, investigates the
    phenological responses to temperature of flowering in British orchids and flight in
    their pollinators.
    Herbarium specimens of O. sphegodes collected in the UK between 1848 and 1958
    were compared to direct observation of peak flowering time in one population located
    in Southern England between 1975 and 2006. The response of flowering time to
    variation in mean spring temperature was statistically identical in both sets of data,
    providing the first direct validation of the use of herbarium collections to examine the
    relationships between phenology and climate. Using three important pollinator models:
    the solitary bee Andrena nigroaenea the digger wasp Argogorytes mystaceus, and the
    moth Euclidia glyphica, museum specimens and field observation gave statistically
    identical results, confirming the value of museum collections as a source of long-term
    phenological data for insects.
    For twelve of the fifteen orchid species studied, flowering advanced between 4.2 and
    8.6 days for each 1°C increase in mean spring temperature, establishing phenological
    signals of flowering response to temperature. For all species mean monthly
    temperature in March, April or May was identified as a key temperature variable.
    For the sexually deceptive orchid O. sphegodes there is considerable potential for a
    loss of synchrony between peak flowering time and peak flight of the primary
    pollinator, males of A. nigroaenea with further rises in spring temperature. The
    advancement in peak flight of the female bee with climate warming exacerbates the
    potential for disruption of pollination success.
    Findings of this research reaffirm the need for detailed knowledge at species level in
    understanding the consequences of climate-driven phenological shifts for plants and
    their pollinators.
    Key words: Central England Temperature (CET), climate change, flight time,
    flowering time, herbarium specimens, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, museum records,
    natural history collections, Orchidaceae, phenology

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
    Depositing User: Brian Watkins
    Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2013 16:34
    Last Modified: 22 Aug 2013 16:34
    URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/43163
    DOI:

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