Determining the Relationship Between Insect Emergence of Winter Moths and the Leaf-Out Date of Apple Trees

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Abstract Summary

Phenology is the study of seasonal natural phenomena. Leaf-out is the specific time a tree’s leaves bud. Shifts in climate change can impact leaf-out timing and other ecological aspects. Instability within the ecosystem can cause issues for other organisms. It is believed that climate change can directly affect leaf-out times because many plant species depend on temperature to cue their “innate clock”. This research aims to test the mismatch hypothesis, which states that changes in phenology of a species can greatly impact others. This research focuses on the correlation between the leaf-out timing of apple trees and Winter Moth occurrence. We will analyze publicly available databases with historical records of leaf-out dates of apple trees and the emergence of Winter Moths in the UK. We predict the emergence of Winter Moths will be directly impacted by the leaf-out dates of apple trees. The influence of climate change on forest insects impacts the entire biome. The overabundance/depletion of a species of insect can be detrimental to forest health. These findings can help individuals that work in national forests to predict when species will emerge, dependent upon past data, and monitor/control these species.

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