Recent natural variability in global warming weakened phenological mismatch and selection on seasonal timing in great tits (Parus major)



Climate change has led to phenological shifts in many species, but with large variation in magnitude among species and trophic levels. The poster child example of the resulting phenological mismatches between the phenology of predators and their prey is the great tit (Parus major), where this mismatch led to directional selection for earlier seasonal breeding. Natural climate variability can obscure the impacts of climate change over certain periods, weakening phenological mismatching and selection. Here, we show that selection on seasonal timing indeed weakened significantly over the past two decades as increases in late spring temperatures have slowed down. Consequently, there has been no further advancement in the date of peak caterpillar food abundance, while great tit phenology has continued to advance, thereby weakening the phenological mismatch. We thus show that the relationships between temperature, phenologies of prey and predator, and selection on predator phenology are robust, also in times of a slowdown of warming. Using projected temperatures from a large ensemble of climate simulations that take natural climate variability into account, we show that prey phenology is again projected to advance faster than great tit phenology in the coming decades, and therefore that long-term global warming will intensify phenological mismatches.
Datum van beschikbaarheid26 nov. 2021

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