Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Photoperiodism may slow the range shift of species northwards

Date:
April 3, 2012
Source:
MTT Agrifood Research Finland
Summary:
Climate change is predicted to promote species' range shifts and invasions from southern latitudes northwards. However, climate change does not affect the seasonal variation in day length. The length of the day in northern latitudes still depends on the position of the Earth in relation to the Sun. The photoperiodism of species -- in other words, their ability to adapt to seasonal variation in day length and quality of light -- plays an important role when species attempt to expand their distribution range northwards, experts report.

Climate change is predicted to promote species' range shifts and invasions from southern latitudes northwards. However, climate change does not affect the seasonal variation in day length.
Credit: © Miredi / Fotolia

Climate change is predicted to promote species' range shifts and invasions from southern latitudes northwards. However, climate change does not affect the seasonal variation in day length. The length of the day in northern latitudes still depends on the position of Earth in relation to the Sun.

The photoperiodism of species -- in other words, their ability to adapt to seasonal variation in day length and quality of light -- plays an important role when species attempt to expand their distribution range northwards, note the expert group headed by professor Kari Saikkonen at MTT Agrifood Research Finland in their article published in the April edition of the journal Nature Climate Change.

"The models that predict species shifting do not, however, take the effects of photoperiodism into account at all. This is particularly the case with models which predict the effects of climate change on the spread of species," the authors state.

However, the authors write that adaptation to seasonal fluctuations in day length and amount and quality of light can be studied and the photoperiodism of species can be incorporated into existing models that predict the effects of climate change.

The European light climate will slow shifts across the Atlantic

Thanks to the effect of the Gulf Stream, Western Europe enjoys the same climate conditions as North America but at higher latitudes. At the same time, the day length and the quality of light in northern latitudes change radically from summer to winter.

Although Europe and North America are similar areas in terms of their biological and geographical features, the shift of species has been more common from Europe to North America than in the opposite direction.

The authors state that adaptation to seasonal fluctuations in day length and quality of light also plays an important role in changes in the distribution range of species. Therefore, adapting to a new light environment may be one key factor which could limit the spread of species from North America to Europe.

At temperate and cold latitudes, timing of reproduction is as essential for plants as the timing of dormancy, hibernation and migration is to many animals. The shorter the optimum growing period becomes as you move towards the poles, the more important it is to time growth and reproduction correctly.

The orbit, tilt and position of Earth determine the seasonal fluctuations in day length. The photoperiodic signals produced by these changes give plants and animals the cues according to which they coordinate their lifecycle events.

The ability to use photoperiodic cues is inherited

Because photoperiodic life-history traits are inherited, it is necessary to understand their genetic regulation to predict which species are likely to shift across latitudes.

However, very little is known about adaptation to seasonal changes in day length and quality of light. Thus it is unclear how photoperiodism limits the expansion of the distribution range of individual species across latitudes.

Photoperiodism may slow the shift of plants towards the poles. Local species may still retain their competitive position as they have precisely adapted to the local photoperiodic cues, which remain the same despite climate change.

A poleward shift in arable environments as a result of climate change offers opportunities for crop species and the use of crop-production technologies also at higher latitudes. A broader understanding of photoperiodism could also offer valuable viewpoints on plant breeding strategies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by MTT Agrifood Research Finland. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kari Saikkonen, Kari Taulavuori, Terho Hyvφnen, Pedro E. Gundel, Cyd E. Hamilton, Irene Vδnninen, Anne Nissinen, Marjo Helander. Climate change-driven species' range shifts filtered by photoperiodism. Nature Climate Change, 2012; 2 (4): 239 DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1430

Cite This Page:

MTT Agrifood Research Finland. "Photoperiodism may slow the range shift of species northwards." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120403111607.htm>.
MTT Agrifood Research Finland. (2012, April 3). Photoperiodism may slow the range shift of species northwards. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120403111607.htm
MTT Agrifood Research Finland. "Photoperiodism may slow the range shift of species northwards." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120403111607.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath

Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath

AP (July 25, 2014) — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe toured the Cherrystone Family Camping and RV Resort on the Chesapeake Bay today, a day after it was hit by a tornado. The storm claimed two lives and injured dozens of others. (July 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) — Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) — The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) — Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
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:
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