Warming temperatures drive at least half of the magnitude of long-term trait changes in European birds

Mclean, Nina, Kruuk, Loeske E.B., Van Der Jeugd, Henk P., Leech, David, van Turnhout, Chris A.M., and van de Pol, Martijn (2022) Warming temperatures drive at least half of the magnitude of long-term trait changes in European birds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119 (10). e2105416119.

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Abstract

Many wild populations are experiencing temporal changes in life-history and other phenotypic traits, and these changes are frequently assumed to be driven by climate change rather thannonclimatic drivers. However, this assumption relies on three conditions: that local climate is changing, traits are sensitive to climate variability, and other drivers are not also changing over time. Although many studies acknowledge one or more of these conditions, all three are rarely checked simultaneously. Consequently, the relative contribution of climate change to trait change, and the variation in this contribution across traits and species, remain unclear. We used long-term datasets on 60 bird species in Europe to test the three conditions in laying date, offspring number, and body condition and used a method that quantifies the contribution of warming temperatures to changes in traits relative to other effects. Across species, approximately half of the magnitude of changes in traits could be attributed to rising mean temperature,suggesting that increasing temperatures are likely the single most important contributor to temporal trends and emphasizes the impact that global warming is having on natural populations. There were also substantial nontemperature-related temporal trends (presumably due to other changes such as urbanization), which generally caused trait change in the same direction as warming. Attributing temporal trends solely to warming thus overestimates the impact of warming. Furthermore, contributions from nontemperature drivers explained most of the interspecificvariation in trait changes, raising concerns about comparative studies that attribute differences in temporal trends to species differences in climate-change sensitivity.

Item ID: 73000
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1091-6490
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2022 the Author(s). Published by PNAS. This article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND).
Research Data: https://datadryad.org/stash/dataset/doi:10.5061/dryad.8r882, https://datadryad.org/stash/dataset/doi:10.5061/dryad.zs7h44j56
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2022 01:48
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310307 Population ecology @ 50%
49 MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES > 4905 Statistics > 490501 Applied statistics @ 50%
SEO Codes: 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1905 Understanding climate change > 190507 Global effects of climate change (excl. Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and the South Pacific) (excl. social impacts) @ 100%
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