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Trends and indicators for quantifying moth abundance and occupancy in Scotland

Dennis, Emily B., Brereton, Tom, Morgan, Byron J. T., Fox, Richard, Shortall, Chris R., Prescott, Tom, Foster, Simon (2019) Trends and indicators for quantifying moth abundance and occupancy in Scotland. Journal of Insect Conservation, 23 (2). pp. 369-380. ISSN 1366-638X. (doi:10.1007/s10841-019-00135-z) (KAR id:71592)


Moths form an important part of Scotland’s biodiversity and an up-to-date assessment of their status is needed given their value as a diverse and species-rich taxon, with various ecosystem roles, and the known decline of moths within Britain. We use long-term citizen-science data to produce species-level trends and multi-species indicators for moths in Scotland, to assess population (abundance) and distribution (occupancy) changes.

Abundance trends for moths in Scotland are produced using Rothamsted Insect Survey count data, and, for the first time, occupancy models are used to estimate occupancy trends for moths in Scotland, using opportunistic records from the National Moth Recording Scheme. Species-level trends are combined to produce abundance and occupancy indicators. The associated uncertainty is estimated using a parametric bootstrap approach, and comparisons are made with alternative published approaches.

Overall moth abundance (based on 176 species) in Scotland decreased by 20% for 1975-2014 and by 46% for 1990-2014. The occupancy indicator, based on 230 species, showed a 16% increase for 1990-2014. Alternative methods produced similar indicators and conclusions, suggesting robustness of the results, although rare species may be under-represented in our analyses. Species abundance and occupancy trends were not clearly correlated; in particular species with negative population trends showed varied occupancy responses. Further research into the drivers of moth population changes is required, but increasing occupancy is likely to be driven by a warming summer climate facilitating range expansion, whereas population declines may be driven by reductions in habitat quality, changes in land management practices and warmer, wetter winters.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s10841-019-00135-z
Uncontrolled keywords: abundance, citizen science, Lepidoptera, multi-species indicators, National Moth Recording Scheme, occupancy
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science) > QA276 Mathematical statistics
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH541 Ecology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science
Depositing User: Byron Morgan
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2019 15:31 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 15:28 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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Dennis, Emily B..

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Morgan, Byron J. T..

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