Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Butterflies and birds unable to keep pace with climate change in Europe

Date:
January 18, 2012
Source:
Wageningen University and Research Centre
Summary:
Butterflies and birds are no longer able to keep up with climate change. Compared with 20 years ago, butterflies are now 135 kilometers behind the shifting climate zones and birds more than 200 kilometers, according to findings of a new study.

Butterflies and birds are no longer able to keep up with climate change. Compared with twenty years ago, butterflies are now 135 kilometres behind the shifting climate zones and birds more than 200 kilometres. This is one of the findings from a study by European researchers published Jan. 9, 2012 in the journal Nature Climate Change.

A lack of reliable long-term data makes recording the effects of climate change on biodiversity a huge challenge. The data for butterflies and birds, however, is available. This week, an article in Nature Climate Change published by a European research team including a number of Dutch scientists, shows that populations of birds and butterflies are no longer able to keep track of the northward shift in their living environment caused by global warming. A partial explanation can be found in the fact that fragmentation of intensively-used European land is making it very difficult for species to colonize new areas. But the relative abundances of resident species are also proving slow to change. This applies less to butterflies, which have a short lifecycle, than to birds.

The research, in which Dutch Butterfly Conservation [De Vlinderstichting], SOVON Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology [Vogelonderzoek], Statistics Netherlands [CBS] and Wageningen University are taking part, is focusing on changes in the relative abundance of species in the total butterfly and bird community, where previous studies concentrated on individual species. The findings constitute the first evidence that climate change is causing entire groups of animals to accrue a ‘climatic debt’ on a continental scale. Over the last twenty years, this debt has risen to 135 km for butterflies and a staggering 212 km for birds. In other words, butterfly and bird populations have a more northern character than one would expect on the basis of the climate. It is currently difficult to predict the long-term implications. The difference in the shifts between the two groups of species may disturb their interdependence. A good example of this is the pied flycatcher, whose young only hatch after the peak period for caterpillars in warm years.

The researchers have devised a simple method for determining the consequences of climate change for entire groups of species. The unique amount of data is largely due to the efforts of thousands of volunteers in seven countries, who spent more than 1.5 million hours collecting the information.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wageningen University and Research Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Vincent Devictor, Chris van Swaay, Tom Brereton, Lluı´s Brotons, Dan Chamberlain, Janne Heliölä, Sergi Herrando, Romain Julliard, Mikko Kuussaari, Ĺke Lindström, Jiřı´ Reif, David B. Roy, Oliver Schweiger, Josef Settele, Constantı´ Stefanescu, Arco Van Strien, Chris Van Turnhout, Zdeněk Vermouzek, Michiel WallisDeVries, Irma Wynhoff, Frédéric Jiguet. Differences in the climatic debts of birds and butterflies at a continental scale. Nature Climate Change, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1347

Cite This Page:

Wageningen University and Research Centre. "Butterflies and birds unable to keep pace with climate change in Europe." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120118111742.htm>.
Wageningen University and Research Centre. (2012, January 18). Butterflies and birds unable to keep pace with climate change in Europe. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120118111742.htm
Wageningen University and Research Centre. "Butterflies and birds unable to keep pace with climate change in Europe." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120118111742.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) — An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) — Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Climate Adaptation Difficult for Europe's Birds

Jan. 16, 2012 — For the past 20 years, the climate in Europe has been getting warmer. Species of bird and butterfly which thrive in cool temperatures therefore need to move further north. However, they have ... read more
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins