Changing Climate and Phenology Mismatch Ah,the beautiful time of spring.The flowers bloom,The birds sing,the air around us has a charismatic tinge that seems to freshen our mood.Depending on the region where we may reside,the tiny green shoots of the plants rise out of the ground,bears awake from hibernation or cherry trees may bloom into a […]
Changing Climate and Phenology Mismatch
Ah,the beautiful time of spring.The flowers bloom,The birds sing,the air around us has a charismatic tinge that seems to freshen our mood.Depending on the region where we may reside,the tiny green shoots of the plants rise out of the ground,bears awake from hibernation or cherry trees may bloom into a natural bouquet of bright flowers.This is a orderly sequence of natural events that occur.but it seems the impact of the dreadful global warming and climate change is affecting even the routine activities that occur during spring.
In case you are wondering what exactly is this routine or scientifically called “Phenology”,that is being discussed.Well it is there’s an orderly routine of events that seem to occur every year, with various flowers blooming in order,cherry buds bursting into new leaves, or the old lilac by the barn scenting the air.This sequence of natural phenomenon occurring is called phenology.
In times of the year such as the winter,there is little natural biological activity occurring.Most plants and trees remain dormant under the snow,hence so do the insects which are feeding on them as their primary food source.In order as the insects lay dormant,the small animals such as bats and birds are also hibernating.This phase called the winter restricts the growing,breeding and regular activities.This long spell leads to the season of spring being so vibrant,where all plants,animals and insects take advantage of the short window for breeding,mating and so on.
But what triggers these events?Different animals have different signals for embarking on their intimate seasonal activities.Signals that could more accurately determine what causes them are soil temperature,air temperature or water availability.Similarly the surrounding temperature promoted the beginning of the insect activity.The days itself get longer,this itself is a signals for some seasonal activities.Such a some insects which are involved in such a way that if there are only some specific number of daylight hours will it cause reproductive hormones to be produced in some organisms.
As spring comes and most animals mate.Their mating season is the most energy demanding period of most animals.So the phenology of animals and insects breeding and food availability should be just right.Such a caterpillar which hatch need young tender leaves as they are soft and also are full of nutrients in contrast to when they will become hard and not edible.likewise bird breed during the caterpillar availability time for food.These complex set of inter dependent activities are well balanced in nature.But due to the current increasing global warming and increasing levels of pollutions are hindering the activities and tend to have a significant impact on the fragile ecosystem.
Some significant impacts are such as due to the increasing global warming and temperature rise.This causes the caterpillars to be tricked into thinking that spring has arrived and as they hatch due to unnatural causes.They do not have their food source which is young tender leaves and they tend to starve.Comparatively to a few decades ago,due to rise in temperature,the spring is arriving earlier than usual.The birds are migrating earlier and due to this imbalanced activity,the entire fragile ecosystem is at risk.The birds are arriving at a time when spring has not fully come to effect and this causes the availability of insects to be low and this also puts their survivability a a risk.
Time-sensitive relationships, such as migration, breeding and predation, may be disrupted or altered, which may in turn alter the rates of reproduction and survival, leading some populations to decline and others to increase in abundance.Extensive research and study is going on for the sake for restoring balance in the environment.However, finding evidence for disrupted relationships, or lack thereof, and their demographic effects, is difficult because the necessary detailed observational data are rare. Moreover, we do not know how sensitive species will generally be to phenological mismatches when they occur.Hence elevating the need for better research to prevent negative effects.
The critical scales for a phenological match vary according to the species in question. For instance, we would expect that the appropriate spatial scale for studying the potential for resource mismatch in solitary bees, which have relatively small foraging ranges differs substantially from that of hummingbirds and arctic terns, which can migrate long distances. Similarly, the geographic impacts of a change in phenology, such as the timing of leaf-out, will occur at multiple spatial scales. Changes in leaf-out at the scale of a single plant can affect the survival and reproduction of caterpillars , but changes at the scale of hundreds of square kilometers will be more relevant to large mammals that can forage over large areas.
Thus we can see that the climate change does not only affect only changes like changing climate or increasing temperature.But the impact of the industrial activity and everyday ignorance to environmental issues leads to far more deadly impact on the environment.This is not a warning anymore.But is a desperate call for us to wake up from this ignorance and mindless pollution to take care of the environment.For this is the only home we have and we must strive to protect it.