Meeting Abstract

P1.73  Wednesday, Jan. 4  Local Adaptation and Responses to Climate Change in Colias Butterflies MACLEAN, HJ*; HIGGINS, JK; KINGSOLVER, JG; BUCKLEY, LB; Univ.of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Species are expected to move upward to seek thermal refuge from climate change. Effectively predicting these movements requires linking functional traits and behaviors to environmental variables. The close functional relationship between the degree of wing melanin and body temperature in Colias butterflies enables establishing this link. We examine local adaptation and thermal tolerance of three Colias species: C. meadii (3,200-3,800m), C. alexandra (2,400-3,200m), and C. eriphyle (1,700-2,700m) that partition the elevation range in the southern Rocky Mountains. We reciprocally transplanted adult males of all three species across elevations and documented how phenotypes and environmental conditions jointly determine patterns of basking behavior and flight activity. Our results show that not only is there local adaptation of thermally important traits across elevation gradients (i.e. populations at higher elevations show increased wing melanin relative to their lower elevation counterparts), but population differ in basking and flight behavior. High elevation Colias exhibited higher performance at high elevation. On cooler mornings, their delays in flight initiation allowed sustained flight whereas low elevation Colias achieved only intermittent or failed flights. These results indicate that behavior is an important consideration in predicting species responses to climate change.