To document

Abstract

Grouse and vole numbers may peak after peaks in the seed crop of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) because of reduced levels of feeding deterrents in bilberry plants. We predicted that grouse reproduction depends also on summer (June-September) temperatures in the 2 previous years, because bilberry plants will be less exhausted after a high seed crop in or after warm summers, and thus rebuild their chemical defence more quickly. After berry peak years, population indices of capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) and bank vole (Myodes glareolus) in southern Norway were negatively related to summer temperatures in the previous year or previous 2 years. Willow grouse (Lagopus lagopus) chick production in five areas in Norway was negatively related to summer temperatures in the 2 previous years when controlling for vole density. A similar pattern was found for the bilberry-feeding moth (Eulithis populata), an important prey for grouse chicks. In eastern Norway, autumn densities of capercaillie and black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) were more likely to peak in vole peak years at high altitudes, where summer temperatures are low. We conclude that high summer temperatures may limit grouse reproduction through the effect on bilberry plants and that a warm climate thus adversely affects population levels of grouse.

To document

Abstract

In Norway, a positive relationship between spring numbers of lesser spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor) and previous June temperatures has been interpreted as an effect of temperatures on woodpecker survival and reproduction during the breeding season. This article considers the possibility that woodpecker numbers are related to the abundance of the moth Argyresthia goedartella in the current year. Larvae and pupae of A. goedartella are important food for lesser spotted woodpeckers in early spring when few other surface-living invertebrates are available. The occurrence of this moth depends on the flowering of birch (Betula spp.) and alder (Alnus glutinosa), which in turn is influenced by June temperatures in the preceding year. Spring numbers of the lesser spotted woodpecker in two regions of Norway were compared with a trapping index of A. goedartella and weather variables assumed to influence the woodpeckers' breeding success and adult survival. The best multiple regression model included December temperatures and moth indices, supporting the hypothesis of a strong impact of A. goedartella on spring survival. Conservation strategies for the lesser spotted woodpecker should therefore focus not only on minimum areas of deciduous forests with decaying wood, but also on the availability of the moths' host trees, birch and alder.

To document

Abstract

Apple fruit moth Argyresthia conjugella is a specialist seed predator of rowan Sorbus aucuparia. Large-scale synchronous fluctuation of seed production in rowan (i.e. named masting) drives the apple fruit moth to seek alternative host plants such as apple, during years when rowan berries are not available for oviposition. The role of plant volatile compounds in the attraction of gravid apple fruit moth females is studied in a laboratory wind tunnel. Volatiles from rowan branches with green berries stimulate female moths to fly upwind and to land at the odour source. By contrast, females are not attracted to rowan branches without green berries, and they are not attracted to apple, demonstrating that the chemical stimulus from rowan berries is required for attraction. Attraction to synthetic compounds identified from rowan, anethole and 2-phenyl ethanol confirms the role of plant volatiles in host finding. These two compounds, however, show a discrepant behavioural effect in wind tunnel and field tests. Field traps baited with 2-phenyl ethanol capture female moths but anethole does not produce significant captures. Wind tunnel tests produce the opposite results: moths fly upwind towards the anethole lure, whereas 2-phenyl ethanol is not attractive at all. Wind tunnel attraction to 2-phenyl ethanol is achieved by adding odour from a rowan branch without berries, which is not attractive on its own. This finding demonstrates that interaction with the background odour contributes to the behavioural effect of plant volatile stimuli in the field.

To document

Abstract

Cyclic outbreaks of forest moth pest species have long remained a puzzle for foresters and ecologists. This paper presents time-series exhibiting a strong negative relationship between sunspot numbers and population indices of autumnal and winter moths, both in a mountain birch forest in central Norway and in a mixed lowland forest in southern Norway. In the latter area, also the population level of a moth species feeding entirely on lichens was negatively related to sunspot numbers. Low sunspot activity leads to a thinner ozone layer and thus higher surface ultraviolet (UV)-B radiation. As winter moth larvae prefer leaves subjected to enhanced UV-B radiation, we suggest that the causal relationship between sunspots and moths is that the metabolic costs of producing UV-B-protective pigments during periods of low sunspot activity reduce trees" and lichens" resistance to herbivores, and thus increase the survival of moth larvae. Higher peak densities of moth cycles in mountain forests could be explained by the general higher UV-B radiation at higher altitudes.

To document

Abstract

No abstract has been registered