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Global shifts in the phenological synchrony of species interactions over recent decades

Heather Kharouba et al. write:

Phenological responses to climate change (e.g., earlier leaf-out or egg hatch date) are now well documented and clearly linked to rising temperatures in recent decades. Such shifts in the phenologies of interacting species may lead to shifts in their synchrony, with cascading community and ecosystem consequences . . . We compared phenological shifts among pairwise species interactions (e.g., predator–prey) using published long-term time-series data of phenological events from aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems across four continents since 1951 to de- termine whether recent climate change has led to overall shifts in synchrony. We show that the relative timing of key life cycle events of interacting species has changed significantly over the past 35 years. Further, by comparing the period before major climate change (pre-1980s) and after, we show that estimated changes in phenology and synchrony are greater in recent decades.

But:

However, there has been no consistent trend in the direc- tion of these changes. . . . the next challenges are to improve our ability to predict the direction of change and understand the full consequences for communities and ecosystems.

And here’s a published comment from Andreas Linden.

One Comment

  1. Anoneuoid says:

    the next challenges are to improve our ability to predict the direction of change and understand the full consequences for communities and ecosystems

    One of these challenges sounds much more ambitious than the other.

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