DO MENORCAN RAVINES ACT AS CLIMATE REFUGES FOR BUTTERFLY POPULATIONS?

 

Abstract: The monitoring of butterfly populations of Menorca in the last two decades has allowed us to delve into different aspects of their ecology of this island. Data obtained at the Barranc d'Algendar sampling station suggest that there are differences in population dynamics (i.e., higher densities and less regressive population trends) and phenology (i.e., later peak abundance) of butterfly species compared the rest of the island environments. These differences could be due to microclimatic conditions in the ravines, where drought is probably minimized. In fact, recent studies point to summer drought as the main cause for the decline of Mediterranean butterflies. With this project we intend to characterize the climatology of the ravines and determine if this involves changes in the ecology of butterfly populations in terms of their phenology and population dynamics. The hypothesis that ravines are a key habitat for the species of Menorca in the face of an increasingly warm climate and with a greater frequency and severity of summer droughts will be tested.

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