Non-linear physiological responses to climate change: the case of Ceratitis capitata distribution and abundance in Europe
Understanding how climate change might influence the distribution and abundance of crop pests is fundamental for the development and the implementation of pest management strategies. Here we present and apply a modelling framework assessing the non-linear physiological responses of the lifehistory strategies of the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata, Wiedemann) to temperature. The model is used to explore how climate change might influence the distribution and abundance of this pest in Europe. We estimated the change in the distribution, abundance and activity of this species under current (year 2020) and future (years 2030 and 2050) climatic scenarios. The effects of climate change on the distribution, abundance and activity of C. capitata are heterogeneous both in time and in space. A northward expansion of the species, an increase in the altitudinal limit marking the presence of the species, and an overall increase in population abundance is expected in areas that might become more suitable under a changing climate. On the contrary, stable or reduced population abundances can be expected in areas where climate change leads to equally suitable or less suitable conditions. This heterogeneity reflects the contribution of both spatial variability in the predicted climatic patterns and non-linearity in the responses of the species’ life-history strategies to temperature.