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Birds and Climate Change - California Academy of Sciences


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How will climate change affect different species? Will organisms be able to adapt quickly enough to survive in a rapidly changing environment?

 

Researchers at the University of Oxford are attempting to predict this with small, short-lived birds like the great tit (Parus major). In a study published this week in PLoS Biology, the scientists discovered that great tits living in a forest near Oxford have been able to survive and adapt to a 1°C temperature increase over the past 50 years.

 

After analyzing those 50-plus years of data collected on the birds in their habitats, the authors studied when the birds lay their eggs relative to spring temperatures, as well as how the birds have tracked the shifts in peak caterpillar numbers caused by the changes in temperature. They found that the birds are now laying their eggs an average of two weeks earlier than they did 50 years ago, primarily as a result of phenotypic plasticity.

 

Read more: http://www.calacademy.org/sciencetoday/birds-and-climate-change/5511530/

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