Responses of tree-killing bark beetles to a changing climate

Kenneth F. Raffa, Brian H. Aukema, Barbara J. Bentz, Allan L. Carroll, Jeffrey A. Hicke, Thomas E Kolb

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Bark beetles cause widespread tree mortality, so understanding how climate change will influence the distribution and magnitude of outbreaks by this group of herbivores is important. We first develop a framework of outbreak dynamics that emphasizes transitions from states dominated by negative feedback to those dominated by positive, density-dependent feedback. We then consider mechanisms by which temperature and precipitation changes can allow populations to breach critical thresholds, and the empirical data relating outbreaks to weather. Finally, we consider how anticipated climatic change, and relationships with new hosts and natural enemy guilds, may influence dynamics in new habitats. There is strong evidence that elevated temperature can increase overwintering survival and decrease generation times of bark beetles, although evolved traits can also constrain response to warming in some habitats. Moreover, combinations of phenotypic plasticity, genotypic variation and physiological thresholds yield a broad range of conditions under which adults emerge synchronously, and thus can mass attack trees. There is likewise strong evidence that severe drought reduces tree defences against attack. Drought stress can occur through lower precipitation and/ or higher temperatures that reduce soil moisture and/or raise vapour pressure defi- cit. We also delineate three categories of range modifications: increased and more persistent establishment in areas where trees experienced only intermittent exposure historically; establishment in areas dominated by host species but where local populations experienced little or no pressure historically; and movement into new areas containing susceptible species that have not been exposed previously. Each of these has been documented for bark beetles. Trees in areas that experienced minor or no exposure generally had lower defences than their more historically exposed counterparts. However, there can be lags in beetle behavioural responses. In some cases, more heterogeneous forest structure, more abundant local predators and competitors and low host nutritional quality could potentially lessen risk in new habitats. Direct comparative studies are needed to evaluate outbreak potentials following range expansions driven by climate warming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationClimate Change and Insect Pests
PublisherCABI International
Pages173-201
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)9781780643786
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Fingerprint

bark
beetle
climate
habitat
warming
climate change
generation time
drought stress
range expansion
phenotypic plasticity
overwintering
natural enemy
behavioral response
guild
vapor pressure
herbivore
comparative study
soil moisture
temperature
drought

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)

Cite this

Raffa, K. F., Aukema, B. H., Bentz, B. J., Carroll, A. L., Hicke, J. A., & Kolb, T. E. (2015). Responses of tree-killing bark beetles to a changing climate. In Climate Change and Insect Pests (pp. 173-201). CABI International.

Responses of tree-killing bark beetles to a changing climate. / Raffa, Kenneth F.; Aukema, Brian H.; Bentz, Barbara J.; Carroll, Allan L.; Hicke, Jeffrey A.; Kolb, Thomas E.

Climate Change and Insect Pests. CABI International, 2015. p. 173-201.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Raffa, KF, Aukema, BH, Bentz, BJ, Carroll, AL, Hicke, JA & Kolb, TE 2015, Responses of tree-killing bark beetles to a changing climate. in Climate Change and Insect Pests. CABI International, pp. 173-201.
Raffa KF, Aukema BH, Bentz BJ, Carroll AL, Hicke JA, Kolb TE. Responses of tree-killing bark beetles to a changing climate. In Climate Change and Insect Pests. CABI International. 2015. p. 173-201
Raffa, Kenneth F. ; Aukema, Brian H. ; Bentz, Barbara J. ; Carroll, Allan L. ; Hicke, Jeffrey A. ; Kolb, Thomas E. / Responses of tree-killing bark beetles to a changing climate. Climate Change and Insect Pests. CABI International, 2015. pp. 173-201
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