Hot off the Press! Dragonfly Trends
Published last week in the peer reviewed journal PeerJ, a study by Powney et al has revealed fascinating information on dragonfly winners and losers in response to environmental factors. This work was based on analysis of the Dragonfly Recording Network data.
Studies of this kind are more commonly carried out on birds, mammals, plants and butterflies and look primarily at range shifts and extinctions risks. This novel study instead used trait-based comparative analyses to study distribution trends of Odonata in Britain and Ireland.
The study resulted in a number of interesting discoveries. For example, many dragonfly species have increased in the UK between 1980 and 2012, probably due to improvements in water quality.
In addition to this, important findings related to climate change have been revealed through these analyses. Habitat generalists in southern Britain have increased, compared to our narrow-range specialist dragonfly species which show a decline. This is of concern as it could indicate a move towards domination by warm-adapted generalist species over ecologically specialist species.