To estimate the net effect of climate change on natural populations, we must take into account the positive and negative effects of temperature oscillations and climate variability. Warming because of climate change will likely exceed the physiological optima of tropical insects, which currently live very close to their thermal optima. Tropical insects will be negatively affected if their optima are exceeded otherwise warming may affect them positively. We evaluate the demographic responses of the cowpea aphid, Aphis craccivora, to summer warming in subtropical and tropical Taiwan, and examine the effects of diel temperature oscillation on these responses. Aphids were reared at four temperatures (current summer mean, +1.4, +3.9 and +6.4 °C), the latter three simulating different levels of warming. At each average temperature, aphids experienced constant or oscillating (from −2.9 to +3.6 °C of each mean temperature) regimes. As the simulated summer temperatures increased, so did the negative effects on life-history traits and demographic parameters. Compared with aphids reared in constant temperatures, aphids reared in oscillating temperatures developed more slowly and had a longer mean generation time, but their net reproductive rate was higher. These findings demonstrate that climate warming will affect demographic parameters and life-history traits differentially. Studies that use constant temperatures are unlikely to accurately predict biotic responses to climate change
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