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WP 1: Intra-specific variation in population ecology across current European landscapes and climates


Intra-specific variation in population ecology across current European landscapes and climates

The overall aim of WP1 is to measure the density and fundamental niches of the three predatory Maculinea species, their foodplants, host ants, and specific parasitoids across European climates, focusing on southern populations to complete existing data for central-north Europe. We will describe the form, intensity and frequency of grassland management, and the more general land-use and socio-economic conditions that generate optimum, sink or unusable vegetation structures in each region. We will extend this knowledge to the two cuckoo Maculinea species whose different interactions with ants as well as regional host-ant switches should generate very different population dynamics. For representative systems and landscapes, the spatial distributions of interacting species, their ecosystems, vegetation structures and management will be mapped and overlaid using GIS with climatic, micro-climatic and other abiotic features, to generate realistic parameters to incorporate into niche/spatial models.

Long term data-series from European butterfly monitoring schemes will be used to analyses climate related patterns in butterfly population dynamics. These time series in combination with climatic data will then be used to parameterize and validate the outcome of population models. Bayesian and traditional statistics will be applied to test and improve early correlative models that incorporate weather variables to explain population fluctuations across climatic gradients in species with different life-history traits.



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