Dr Lesley Lancaster of SBS, University of Aberdeen has published a new paper
‘Host use diversification during range shifts shapes global variation in Lepidopteran dietary breadth‘ in Nature, Ecology and Evolution.
The study shows that geographic range dynamics underpin global latitude – niche breadth patterns in Lepidopterans. Results suggest that high latitude populations exhibit broader diets due to being younger rather than due to the underlying environment. Rapidly expanding species also exhibit sharper latitudinal clines in niche breadth than stable-ranged species, consistent with colonization processes driving changes in diet breadth.
The work follows from Lesley’s 2016 study which showed similar evidence for range shifts and thermal tolerance breadth https://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate2945
Two main implications of the work are: 1) Niche traits evolve rapidly during range shifts, and 2) Biogeographic history is a major driver of macroevolutionary patterns.
Link to the open-access, read-only version of the paper: https://rdcu.be/b4ff4