This repository contains the 2016 class project for Open Science and Reproducible Research (ENT 890), taught by Dr Christie Bahlai at Michigan State University. Within the repo we have our R code, figures and links to the citation managment software and collaborative writing format.
Our aim was to do an analysis examining what factors (weather, dd accumulation, time and/or habitat) may affect lampyrid abundance in Southwest Michigan. Data were obtained from a publicly available dataset at http://lter.kbs.msu.edu/datatables. Lampyrid abundance was quantified using yellow sticky traps over time across various habitat treatments that have been established in Hickory Corners, MI at Kellogg Bioloigcal Station's Long Term Ecological Research Station since the late 1980's.
We collaboratively came up with biological hypotheses, cleaned and formatted the dataset, analysed the data and wrote the manuscript.
Manuscript Link: Pre-print on bioRxiv: http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2016/09/11/074633
Citation Managment Link: Link to the group Zotero: https://www.zotero.org/groups/firefly
Link to the Dataset: https://figshare.com/articles/LTER_Lampyrid_data/2068098
Abstract for paper
The timing of events in the life history of temperate insects is usually primarily cued by one of two drivers: photoperiod or temperature accumulation over the growing season. However, an insect’s phenology can also be moderated by other drivers like rainfall or the phenology of its host plants. When multiple drivers of phenology interact, there is greater potential for phenological asynchronies to arise between an organism and those it interacts with. We examined the phenological patterns of a highly seasonal group of insects, the Eastern Firefly (Photinus pyralis) over a 12-year period (2004-2015) across 10 plant communities to determine if interacting drivers could explain the variability observed in the adult flight activity density (i.e. mating season) of this species. We found that temperature accumulation was the primary driver of phenology with activity peaks usually occurring at a temperature accumulation of ~800 degree days (base 10⁰C), however, our model found this peak varied by nearly 200 degree day units between years. This variation could be explained by a quadratic relationship with the accumulation of precipitation in the growing season: in years where both high and low precipitation extremes were observed at our study site, flight activity was delayed. More fireflies were captured in general in herbaceous plant communities with minimal soil disturbance (alfalfa and no-till field crop rotations), but only weak interactions occurred between within-season responses to climatic variables and plant community. The interaction we observed between temperature and precipitation accumulation suggests that, although climate warming has potential to disrupt phenology of many organisms, changes to regional precipitation patterns can magnify these disruptions.