Science Enabled by Specimen Data
Kebaïli, C., S. Sherpa, M. Guéguen, J. Renaud, D. Rioux, and L. Després. 2023. Comparative genetic and demographic responses to climate change in three peatland butterflies in the Jura massif. Biological Conservation 287: 110332. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2023.110332
Climate is a main driver of species distributions, but all species are not equally affected by climate change, and their differential responses to similar climatic constraints might dramatically affect the local species composition. In the context of climate warming, a better knowledge of the ability of dispersal-limited and habitat-specialist species to track climate change at local scale is urgently needed. Comparing the population genetic and demographic impacts of past climate cycles in multiple co-distributed species with similar ecological requirements help predicting the community-scale response to climate warming, but such comparative studies remain rare. Here, we studied the relationship between demographic history and past changes in spatial distribution of three protected peatland butterfly species (Boloria aquilonaris, Coenonympha tullia, Lycaena helle) in the Jura massif (France), using a genomic approach (ddRAD sequencing) and species distribution modeling (SDM). We found a similar and narrow thermal niche among species, and shared demographic histories of post-glacial decline and recent fragmentation of populations. Each species functions as a single metapopulation at the regional scale, with a North-South gradient of decreasing genetic diversity that fits the local dynamics of the ice cover over time. However, we found no correlation between changes in the quantity or the quality of suitable areas and changes in effective population size over time. This suggests that species ranges moved beyond the Jura massif during the less favorable climatic periods, and/or that habitat loss and deterioration are major drivers of the current dramatic decline observed in the three species. Our findings allow better understanding how history events and contemporary dynamics shape local biodiversity, providing valuable knowledge to identify appropriate conservation strategies.