Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Nonlinear time series analysis unravels underlying mechanisms of interspecific synchrony among foliage‐feeding forest Lepidoptera species

Formally Refereed
Authors: Kazutaka Kawatsu, Takehiko Yamanaka, Jan Patoèka, Andrew M. Liebhold
Year: 2020
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Northern Research Station
Source: Population Ecology


Interspecific synchrony, that is, synchrony in population dynamics among sympatric populations of different species can arise via several possible mechanisms, including common environmental effects, direct interactions between species, and shared trophic interactions, so that distinguishing the relative importance of these causes can be challenging. In this study, to overcome this difficulty, we combine traditional correlation analysis with a novel framework of nonlinear time series analysis, empirical dynamic modeling (EDM). The EDM is an analytical framework to identify causal relationships and measure changing interaction strength from time series. We apply this approach to time series of sympatric foliage-feeding forest Lepidoptera species in the Slovak Republic and yearly mean temperature, precipitation and North Atlantic Oscillation Index. These Lepidoptera species include both free-feeding and leaf-roller larval life histories: the former are hypothesized to be more strongly affected by similar exogenous environments, while the latter are isolated from such pressures. Correlation analysis showed that interspecific synchrony is generally strongest between species within same feeding guild. In addition, the convergent cross mapping analysis detected causal effects of meteorological factors on most of the free-feeding species while such effects were not observed in the leaf-rolling species. However, there were fewer causal relationships among species. The multivariate S-map analysis showed that meteorological factors tend to affect similar free-feeding species that are synchronous with each other. These results indicate that shared meteorological factors are key drivers of interspecific synchrony among members of the free-feeding guild, but do not play the same role in synchronizing species within the leaf-roller guild.


convergent cross mapping, cross-correlation coefficient, empirical dynamic modeling, Moran effect, multivariate S-map


Kawatsu, Kazutaka; Yamanaka, Takehiko; Pato ka, Jan; Liebhold, Andrew M. 2020. Nonlinear time series analysis unravels underlying mechanisms of interspecific synchrony among foliage feeding forest Lepidoptera species. Population Ecology. 62(1): 5-14.