Higher temperature variability in deforested mountain regions impacts the competitive advantage of nocturnal species

Shih Fan Chan, Dustin R. Rubenstein, I. Ching Chen, Yu Meng Fan, Hsiang Yu Tsai, Yuan Wen Zheng, Sheng Feng Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Deforestation is a major contributor to biodiversity loss, yet the impact of forest loss on daily microclimate variability and its implications for species with different daily activity patterns remain poorly understood. Using a recently developed microclimate model, we investigated the effects of deforestation on the daily temperature range (DTR) in low-elevation tropical regions and high-elevation temperate regions. Our results show that deforestation substantially increases DTR in these areas, suggesting a potential impact on species interactions. To test this hypothesis, we studied the competitive interactions between nocturnal burying beetles and all-day-active blowfly maggots in forested and deforested habitats in Taiwan. We show that deforestation leads to increased DTR at higher elevations, which enhances the competitiveness of blowfly maggots during the day and leads to a higher failure rate of carcass burial by the beetles at night. Thus, deforestation-induced temperature variability not only modulates exploitative competition between species with different daily activity patterns, but also likely exacerbates the negative impacts of climate change on nocturnal organisms. In order to limit potential adverse effects on species interactions and their ecological functions, our study highlights the need to protect forests, especially in areas where deforestation can greatly alter temperature variability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20230529
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume290
Issue number1999
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023 May 31

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences

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