Bird populations most exposed to climate change are less sensitive to climatic variation

Bailey, Liam D.; van de Pol, Martijn; Adriaensen, Frank; Arct, Aneta; Barba, Emilio; Bellamy, Paul E.; Bonamour, Suzanne; Bouvier, Jean-Charles; Burgess, Malcolm D.; Charmantier, Anne; Cusimano, Camillo; Doligez, Blandine; Drobniak, Szymon M.; Dubiec, Anna; Eens, Marcel; Eeva, Tapio; Ferns, Peter N.; Goodenough, Anne E.; Hartley, Ian R.; Hinsley, Shelley A.; Ivankina, Elena; Juškaitis, Rimvydas; Kempenaers, Bart; Kerimov, Anvar B.; Lavigne, Claire; Leivits, Agu; Mainwaring, Mark C.; Matthysen, Erik; Nilsson, Jan-Åke; Orell, Markku; Rytkönen, Seppo; Senar, Juan Carlos; Sheldon, Ben C.; Sorace, Alberto; Stenning, Martyn J.; Török, János; van Oers, Kees; Vatka, Emma; Vriend, Stefan J.G.; Visser, Marcel E.. 2022 Bird populations most exposed to climate change are less sensitive to climatic variation. Nature Communications, 13, 2112. 10, pp.

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The phenology of many species shows strong sensitivity to climate change; however, with few large scale intra-specific studies it is unclear how such sensitivity varies over a species’ range. We document large intra-specific variation in phenological sensitivity to temperature using laying date information from 67 populations of two co-familial European songbirds, the great tit (Parus major) and blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), covering a large part of their breeding range. Populations inhabiting deciduous habitats showed stronger phenological sensitivity than those in evergreen and mixed habitats. However, populations with higher sensitivity tended to have experienced less rapid change in climate over the past decades, such that populations with high phenological sensitivity will not necessarily exhibit the strongest phenological advancement. Our results show that to effectively assess the impact of climate change on phenology across a species’ range it will be necessary to account for intra-specific variation in phenological sensitivity, climate change exposure, and the ecological characteristics of a population.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: UKCEH Fellows
ISSN: 2041-1723
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: animal behaviour, phenology
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 29 Jun 2022 16:43 +0 (UTC)

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