Effects of temperature elevation on a field population of Acyrthosiphon svalbardicum (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on Spitsbergen
A manipulation experiment was carried out on a field population of the aphid Acyrthosiphon svalbardicum near Ny Ålesund, on the high arctic island of Spitsbergen, using cloches to raise temperature. An average rise in temperature of 2.8 deg. C over the summer season markedly advanced the phenology of both the host plant Dryas octopetala and the aphid. Advanced aphid phenology, with concomitant increases in reproductive output and survival, and successful completion of the life-cycle led to an eleven-fold increase in the number of overwintering eggs. Thermal budget requirements in day degrees above 0°C were calculated for key life-cycle stages of the aphid. Temperature data from Ny Ålesund over the past 23 years were used to calculate thermal budgets for the field site over the same period and these were compared with the requirements of the aphid. Each estimated thermal budget was then adjusted to simulate the effect of a +2, +4, and −2deg. C change in average temperature on aphid performance. This retrospective analysis (i) confirms that the life-cycle of A. svalbardicum is well suited to exploit higher summer temperatures, (ii) indicates that the annual success of local populations are sensitive to small changes in temperature and (iii) suggests that the aphid is living at the limits of its thermal range at Ny Ålesund based on its summer thermal budget requirements.