Spatial and interspecific variability in phenological responses to warming temperatures

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A comprehensive understanding of species phenological responses to global warming will require observations that are both long-term and spatially extensive. Here we present an analysis of the spring phenological response to climate variation of twelve taxa: six plants, three birds, a frog, and two insects. Phenology was monitored using standardized protocols at 176 meteorological stations in Japan and South Korea from 1953 to 2005, and in some cases even longer. We developed a hierarchical Bayesian model to examine the complex interactions of temperature, site effects, and latitude on phenology. Results show species-specific variation in the magnitude and even in the direction of their responses to increasing temperature, which also differ from site-to-site. At most sites the differences in phenology among species are forecast to become greater with warmer temperatures. Our results challenge the assertion that trends in one geographic region can be extrapolated to others, and emphasize the idiosyncratic nature of the species response to global warming. Field studies are needed to determine how these patterns of variation in species response to climate change affect species interactions and the ability to persist in a changing climate. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.




Primack, R. B., Ibáñez, I., Higuchi, H., Lee, S. D., Miller-Rushing, A. J., Wilson, A. M., & Silander, J. A. (2009). Spatial and interspecific variability in phenological responses to warming temperatures. Biological Conservation, 142(11), 2569–2577.

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