If you have noticed that leaves seem to be loosing their leaves later in the year, migratory birds staying around for longer, insects persisting into the winter months and flowers appearing much earlier this spring – then you may be witnessing climate change in action. Changes in the timing of phenological (i.e. seasonal biological) events are key indicators of the impact of climate change on organisms in nature, forestry and agriculture
The PhenoClimate project led by Prof Astrid Wingler in UCC’s School of BEES and the ERI with colleagues from School of Geography and the ERI – Dr Fiona Cawkwell, Dr Paul Holloway, Dr Gourav Misra, Rubén de la Torre Cerro and Calum Sweeney - determined the impact of climate change on seasonal life cycle (phenological) events and the consequences for species interactions. For Irish woodlands, an advance of the growing season in spring was identified using satellite remote sensing. Arrival of migratory birds was found to advance too, however, instances in which migratory birds showed asynchrony with insect first flight dates were identified, suggesting that climate change can result in phenological mismatch. This can have predictably detrimental effects on food chains and disrupt carefully balanced ecosystems.
Read the full PhenoClimate report here
Watch the summary video