Section: Ecology
Topic: Ecology, Environmental sciences, Agricultural sciences

Controversy over the decline of arthropods: a matter of temporal baseline?

10.24072/pcjournal.131 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article no. e33.

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Recently, a number of studies have reported somewhat contradictory patterns of temporal trends in arthropod abundance, from decline to increase. Arthropods often exhibit non-monotonous variation in abundance over time, making it important to account for temporal coverage in interpretation of abundance trends, which is often overlooked in statistical analysis. Combining four recently analysed datasets that led to contrasting outcomes, we first show that temporal abundance variations of arthropods are non-monotonous. Using simulations, we show non-monotony is likely to bias estimated linear abundance trends. Finally, analysing empirical data, we show that heterogeneity in estimated abundance trends is significantly related to the variation in temporal baseline of analysed time series. Once differences in baseline years, habitats and continents are accounted for, we do not find any statistical difference in estimated linear abundance trends among the four datasets. We also show that short time series produce more stochastic abundance trends than long series, making the dearth of old and long-term time series a strong limitation in the assessment of temporal trends in arthropod abundance. The lack of time series with a baseline year before global change acceleration is likely to lead to an underestimation of global change effects on biodiversity.

Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.131
Type: Research article
Duchenne, François 1; Porcher, Emmanuelle 2; Mihoub, Jean-Baptiste 2; Loïs, Grégoire 2, 3; Fontaine, Colin 2

1 Biodiversity and Conservation Biology Research Centre, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
2 Centre d'Ecologie et des Sciences de la Conservation (CESCO), Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, CNRS, Sorbonne Université, 75005 Paris, France
3 Office Français de la Biodiversité, 94080 Vincennes, France
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
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     title = {Controversy over the decline of arthropods: a matter of temporal baseline?},
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%A Porcher, Emmanuelle
%A Mihoub, Jean-Baptiste
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Duchenne, François; Porcher, Emmanuelle; Mihoub, Jean-Baptiste; Loïs, Grégoire; Fontaine, Colin. Controversy over the decline of arthropods: a matter of temporal baseline?. Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article  no. e33. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.131.

PCI peer reviews and recommendation, and links to data, scripts, code and supplementary information: 10.24072/pci.ecology.100098

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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