Long-term changes in breeding phenology at two seabird colonies in the western North Sea

Wanless, Sarah; Frederiksen, Morten; Walton, John; Harris, Mike P.. 2009 Long-term changes in breeding phenology at two seabird colonies in the western North Sea. Ibis, 151 (2). 274-285.

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There is compelling evidence that the breeding phenology of many species has changed substantially in recent decades. However, taxonomic and spatial variation in the direction and rate of change is still not well understood. We explored these issues by analysing a dataset containing information on first egg dates of 10 species of seabird at two major breeding colonies (86 km apart) in the western North Sea over a period of 35 years. Within a species, timing of breeding was positively correlated between the two colonies, suggesting that factors affecting the phenology of these species operated at a regional rather than a colony scale. Comparison of time trends among the species revealed contrasting patterns, with some showing no systematic change, others becoming earlier and others later. The clearest species groupings appeared to be among the terns with arrival and/or first egg dates becoming earlier in Arctic Terns Sterna paradisaea, Common Terns Sterna hirundo and Sandwich Terns Sterna sandvicensis, and among the auks (Common Guillemot Uria aalge, Razorbill Alca torda and Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica) and Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla where the trend was in the opposite direction towards later breeding. This general trend towards later breeding in the latter group of species contrasts with correlational evidence from many other organisms indicating that breeding phenology is advancing in response to climate change.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 1 - Observations, Patterns, and Predictions for Biodiversity > BD - 1.3 - Long-term/large-scale monitoring and experiments ...
CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Ecology & Hydrology Funding Initiative (EHFI)
CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity > CC01A Detection and Attribution of Change in UK and European Ecosystems > CC01.4 Isle of May Long-Term Study
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Watt
UKCEH Fellows
ISSN: 0019-1019
Additional Keywords: Environmental change, laying date, long-term studies, marine birds, NAO, trophic mismatch
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 01 Jun 2009 11:28 +0 (UTC)

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