Thermal requirements for the development of ectotherms: searching for general patterns among plants and insects

Name: Thermal requirements for the development of ectotherms: searching for general patterns among plants and insects
Researchers: Moravcová Lenka (co-researcher)
Project Type: National grant projects (GA CR, GA AVCR)
Realization from: 2009
Realization to: 2013
Summary: The ontogenetic development of ectotherm organisms, plants and insects, is a function of a given temperature and time over which it is acting (thermal time). This concept is well developed for insects, but for plants it was only applied to crops to model their development. The project will carry out the first study of the effect of thermal time on ontogenesis for a large set of plant species. Under strictly defined conditions in climatic chambers, we will test whether individual phenological stages of each plant species have the same lower developmental threshold, and whether development of each species is constrained by predicted thermal window, as formerly revealed in insects. Transitions between four ontogenetic stages will be tested in 80-100 native and alien herbs under six constant temperatures. The data will be used, together with a database of thermal characteristics of ca 500 insect species (mainly pests and their natural enemies), to assess the risk of spread of these species under global climate changes. The study will make it possible to generalize the concepts of common species-specific developmental thresholds and constraint thermal windows to all ectotherms, and improve understanding of adaptations which shape their distribution.

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