Dead line: **November 5th**
Contact: Ayco Tack
Climate change has already altered the phenology of plants and organisms at higher trophic levels. Among plants, this has resulted in a temporal shift towards earlier bud burst and/or flowering, and among plant-feeding insects in earlier emergences. But more radical changes can happen than shifts in phenology: with increasing temperature, species may increase the number of generations per year (voltinism). Such changes may be extremely important from an ecological and evolutionary perspective, as an additional generation may accelerate both population growth and rate of adaptation, and may also lead to temporal mismatches between interacting species. However, we lack insight in how climate affects the voltinism of species within natural multitrophic communities, and how this in turn may shape food web structure and dynamics.
The overarching aim of the PhD project is to understand how spatial and temporal variation in climate affects the voltinism of a diverse community of herbivores and parasitoids on oak, and the consequences for food web structure and dynamics. The project will combine several approaches: i) fields surveys describing the spatial and temporal patterns in voltinism of a community of herbivores and parasitoids on oak, ii) heating experiments to disentangle how climatic variation (spring, summer and autumn heating) drives the voltinism of, and synchrony between, herbivores and parasitoids, and iii) detailed climate-chamber and laboratory experiments on five selected species to probe the impact of voltinism on herbivore and parasitoid preference and performance.
For more information see the project description (below) and the following link: