Phenological shifts in hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae): linking measurement and mechanism

Hassall, Chris and Owen, Jennifer and Gilbert, Francis (2016) Phenological shifts in hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae): linking measurement and mechanism. Ecography, 40 (7). pp. 853-863. ISSN 1600-0587

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An understanding of ecological and evolutionary responses to global environmental change requires both a robust measurement of the change that is occurring and a mechanistic framework for understanding the drivers of that change. Such a requirement provides a challenge because biological monitoring is often ad hoc, and mechanistic experiments are often performed under highly simplified conditions. This study integrates multiple datasets to evaluate our current knowledge of the measurement and mechanism of phenological shifts in a key pollinator taxon: the hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae). First, two large, complementary and independent monitoring datasets are used to test for trends in phenology: an ad hoc national recording scheme containing >620,000 records, and a standardised monitoring scheme with consistent methods over 30 years. Results show that ad hoc and standardised recording data give quantitatively the same value for phenological advance in hoverflies (ca. 12 days°C-1 on average at the beginning of the flight period), supporting the value of biological recording for the measurement of global ecological change. While the end of the flight period appears static in ad hoc recording, the standardised dataset suggests a similar advance as in the beginning of the flight period. Second, an extensive traits dataset and a novel database of laboratory-derived developmental data on Syrphidae (153 published studies) are used to test for mechanistic patterns in phenological shifts. The only species trait that influenced phenology was voltinism, where species with more generations per year exhibit stronger phenological advances. We demonstrate considerable variation in the laboratory-derived sensitivity to temperature but this does not match field-derived measures of phenology. The results demonstrate that, as for many taxa, we have a strong understanding of the patterns of global ecological change but that we currently lack a detailed mechanistic understanding of those processes despite extensive research into the fundamental biology of some taxonomic groups.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Hassall, C., Owen, J. and Gilbert, F. (2017), Phenological shifts in hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae): linking measurement and mechanism. Ecography, 40: 853–863., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Life Sciences
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Depositing User: Gilbert, Francis
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2016 11:06
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 18:12

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