From the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA (USF HEALTH) and the whackadoodle department comes this press release that just screams “robust science”. I mean, just look at that poor butterfly in the photo included in the press release, can’t you tell just how “out of whack” it is?
Changing weather patterns throwing ecosystems out of whack
TAMPA, Fla (Feb. 5, 2018)- Day and night will soon align, marking the start of spring. But the timing of nature’s calendar is starting to fall out of sync.
In a study published in Nature Climate Change, a team of researchers from the University of South Florida in Tampa found that animal species are shifting the timing of their seasonal activities, also known as phenology, at different rates in response to changing seasonal temperatures and precipitation patterns.
“As species’ lifecycles grow out of alignment, it can affect the functioning of ecosystems with potential impacts on human food supplies and diseases,” said lead author Jeremy Cohen, PhD, postdoctoral researcher at the University of South Florida Department of Integrative Biology. “We rely on honeybees to pollinate seasonal crops and migratory birds to return in the spring to eat insects that are crop pests and vectors of human diseases. If the timing of these and other seasonal events are off, ecosystems can malfunction with potentially adverse effects on humans.”
Dr. Cohen and his team found that cold-blooded species and those with small body sizes are breeding or aggregating earlier than warm-blooded or large-bodied species in spring. They come to this conclusion after reviewing thousands of records of phenological shifts dating back to the 1950s.
“Our research elucidates the drivers of phenological responses and the traits of organisms that influence their ability to track changing climates,” said co-author Jason Rohr, PhD, professor at the University of South Florida. “We expect these findings to improve our ability to forecast the locations, systems and species that might be at the greatest risk from climate change and ideally mitigate any adverse effects that these changes might have on the services that ecosystems provide to humans.”
A global synthesis of animal phenological responses to climate change
Shifts in phenology are already resulting in disruptions to the timing of migration and breeding, and asynchronies between interacting species1,2,3,4,5. Recent syntheses have concluded that trophic level1, latitude6 and how phenological responses are measured7 are key to determining the strength of phenological responses to climate change. However, researchers still lack a comprehensive framework that can predict responses to climate change globally and across diverse taxa. Here, we synthesize hundreds of published time series of animal phenology from across the planet to show that temperature primarily drives phenological responses at mid-latitudes, with precipitation becoming important at lower latitudes, probably reflecting factors that drive seasonality in each region. Phylogeny and body size are associated with the strength of phenological shifts, suggesting emerging asynchronies between interacting species that differ in body size, such as hosts and parasites and predators and prey. Finally, although there are many compelling biological explanations for spring phenological delays, some examples of delays are associated with short annual records that are prone to sampling error. Our findings arm biologists with predictions concerning which climatic variables and organismal traits drive phenological shifts.
Figures: (captions are theirs, yes, really.)
I notice Yamal has no study done, that a great place to go if you want to just study one animal and call it a proxy for world climate change. Just ask Mann and Briffa.
So in summary, it is a synthesis. “Here, we synthesize hundreds of published time series of animal phenology from across the planet to show that temperature primarily drives phenological responses at mid-latitudes, with precipitation becoming important at lower latitudes, probably reflecting factors that drive seasonality in each region. ”
There’s nothing like synthesized results to “settle the science”. Perhaps the undue worry is synthesized too. Meanwhile, the animals are adapting, just like they always have, while worried scientists go on with their hand-wringing.
And, they reference this horridly messed up paper:
Parmesan, C. & Yohe, G. A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems. Nature 421, 37–42 (2003).
IMHO, Parmesan’s work is garbage, as biologist Jim Steele has told us time and again.
Fortunately, Parmesan has fled to France, where she can complain about the schools there.