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Department of Biological Sciences

Dr. Carol Boggs and collaborators published a new study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B

Climate can strongly influence phenology (the timing of life-history events) by speeding up or delaying events such as emergence, peak activity and reproduction. In turn, phenology can influence individual fitness, species interactions, and ecosystem function. While shifts in climate may alter phenology and consequently organismal fitness, understanding how climate change influences phenology is challenging because many potential climate cues are not changing synchronously and phenology itself is multivariate. Studies from around the world demonstrate that climate cues and species' responses can vary greatly, but detailed data from diverse taxa and several climate predictors within a single ecosystem are rare. In their latest study titled "Current and lagged climate affects phenology across diverse taxonomic groups", Dr. Carol Boggs and her collaborators collated first sighting and median activity within a high-elevation environment for plants, insects, birds, mammals and an amphibian across 45 years (1975–2020). Their data demonstrate significant variation in climate-phenology linkage across taxa in a single ecosystem. Taxa responded to some cues similarly, such as snowmelt date and spring temperatures, while other cues affected phenology differently. The authos further found that important cues often differ among taxa at a single location, suggesting that changes to climate may disrupt synchrony of timing among taxa.  An impressive work!

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