Phenology is the study of the timing of life cycle events, such as plant flowering and animal migrations. Resource managers and citizen scientists are studying phenological events in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Warmer spring temperatures have also led beetles, moths and butterflies to emerge earlier than in recent years. Similarly, hibernating species like frogs and bears emerge from hibernation earlier in warm springs.
All species don’t respond to warming the same way. When species that depend on one another — such as pollinating insects and plants seeking pollination – don’t respond similarly to changing conditions, populations suffer.
In Japan, the spring-flowering ephemeral Corydalis ambiguaproduces fewer seeds than in previous decades because it now flowers earlier than when bumblebees, its primary pollinators, are active. Similarly, populations of pied flycatchers – long-distance migrating birds that still arrive at their breeding grounds at the regular time – are declining steeply, because populations of caterpillars that the flycatchers eat now peak prior to the birds’ arrival.
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By Lisa Song and Al Shaw, ProPublica As lawmakers consider disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Florence, projects to rebuild North Carolina’s shrunken shorelines are likely to get a healthy chunk of government money. To their advocates, these so-called beach nourishment initiatives are crucial steps in buffering valuable oceanfront properties from storm damage and boosting […]
By Janice Cantieri This article originally appeared in Medill Reports Chicago, December 7, 2016. Republished with permission. In Alexi Correa’s coastal town of Loiza, Puerto Rico, families are raising their furniture on milk crates and building second floors onto their concrete homes to adapt to frequent flooding caused by sea level rise. They are witnessing […]