ResearchGate - Matt Binns
Matt's is assessing the response of grassland Thysanoptera to climate. Thysanoptera were collected from Themeda triandra grasslands across a climatic gradient in NSW and Victoria, Australia across four seasons for his PhD.
A multivariate generalised linear model was used to determine how different species are associated with different environmental variables. It was found that mostly microclimate data obtained at tussock level was best at explaining the variation of thysanoptera abundances.
Microclimate data at certain periods, such as during thysanoptera growth periods and near sampling, was important to consider in addition to annual means. There were enough differences in the direction and extent of responses of Thysanoptera to predictor variables to make it beneficial to look more closely at how some of the individual species respond rather than making broad generalisations.
A model based implementation of the ‘fourth corner problem’ was used to determine the interaction between environmental variables (matrix ‘R’) and morphological measurements (matrix ‘Q’) in determining abundance (matrix ‘L’). We demonstrate that morphological traits are associated with both climate and habitat structure, which has significant implications regarding the prediction of functional diversity in a changing climate.
Matt also simulated a warmer, drier climate by performing a transplant experiment across three different sites using both diploid and tetraploid Themeda triandra plants. A multivariate generalised linear model was used to determine how Thysanoptera community composition varies across different sites and on plants from different sources. We found that two species of thrips preferentially colonised foreign Themeda triandra when transplanted in the field. The indication that plants of foreign genotype could be particularly attractive to generalist herbivores may imply an increase in herbivory pressure on the plants when insect shift their range to accommodate changing climatic conditions.
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