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Voltinism flexibility of a riverine dragonfly along thermal gradients

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Potential effects of future warming should be reflected in life history patterns of aquatic organisms observed in warmer climates or in habitats that are different in ambient temperature. In the special case of the dragonfly Gomphus vulgatissimus (L.) (Odonata: Gomphidae) previous research suggests that voltinism decreases from south to north. We analysed data on voltinism from 11 sample sites along a latitudinal gradient from about 44°N to 53°N, comprising small streams to medium-sized rivers. Furthermore, to simulate different conditions and to allow projections for future climate change scenarios, we developed a population dynamic model based on a projection matrix approach. The parameters of the model are dependent on temperature and day length. Our field results indicate a decrease in voltinism along the latitudinal gradient from southern to northern Europe and a corresponding increase of voltinism with higher temperatures. An increase in voltinism with width of the running water implies an effect of varying habitat temperature. Under the impact of global warming, our model predicts an increased development speed, particularly in the northern part of the latitudinal gradient, an extension of the northern range limit and changes in phenology of G. vulgatissimus, leading to an extension of the flight season in certain regions along the gradient.
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Keywords: Gomphus vulgatissimus; climate change; distribution range shift; matrix population model; phenology; running water; temperature gradient

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institut für Geoökologie, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Langer Kamp 19c, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany

Publication date: 2008-03-01

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