CES in Europe - publications

The EuroCES provides invaluable long-term monitoring of bird populations and their demography. They also provide a unique opportunity for researchers to ask a wide range of questions about how birds respond to environmental change. Some of the most recent scientific papers published using CES data are highlighted below. For a list of all publications click here.

Thermal constraints on body size depend on the population position within the species’ thermal range in temperate songbirds.

Dubos, N., Dehorter, O., & Henry, P.-Y. & Le Viol, I. (2019). Global Ecology and Biogeography 28:96-106 (https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12805)

There is mounting evidence that climate warming can induce morphological changes locally, particularly size reduction. However, the direction of thermal stress may differ between climatic regions. We predicted that morphological response to temperature fluctuations should vary throughout species ranges, depending on the local climate. Hot temperature anomalies are expected to induce size reduction in hot regions where species live close to their upper thermal limit, whereas size stasis (or increase) would be expected in cold regions, where species live close to their lower thermal limit. We tested whether the effect of temperature anomalies on juvenile body size varied along an 11 °C thermal gradient. In warmer springs, juveniles were larger overall at the coldest sites, but this effect decreased toward the hottest sites, becoming negative for two species. Warming should induce body size increases more frequently at the cold edge of species distribution ranges, and rather body size declines at the hot edg. The climate dependency of the effect of weather fluctuations on body size is still under‐acknowledged, and the pattern identified deserves to be investigated over broader climatic gradients and taxonomic coverage. Climate‐driven changes in body size are therefore not uniform across climatic regions and within species ranges.

High intra-specific variation in avian body condition responses to climate limits generalisation across species.

McLean, N; van der Jeugd, H.P.; van de Pol, M. (2018). PLoS ONE 13: e0192401. (https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0192401)

It is generally assumed that populations of a species will have similar responses to climate change, and thereby that a single value of sensitivity will reflect species-specific responses. However, this assumption is rarely systematically tested. High intraspecific variation will have consequences for identifying species- or population-level traits that can predict differences in sensitivity, which in turn can affect the reliability of projections of future climate change impacts. We investigate avian body condition responses to changes in six climatic variables and how consistent and generalisable these responses are both across and within species, using 21 years of data from 46 common passerines across 80 Dutch sites. We show that body condition decreases with warmer spring/early summer temperatures and increases with higher humidity, but other climate variables do not show consistent trends across species. In the future, body condition is projected to decrease by 2050, mainly driven by temperature effects. Strikingly, populations of the same species generally responded just as differently as populations of different species implying that a single species signal is not meaningful. Consequently, species-level traits did not explain interspecific differences in sensitivities, rather population-level traits were more important. The absence of a clear species signal in body condition responses implies that generalisation and identifying species for conservation prioritisation is problematic, which sharply contrasts conclusions of previous studies on the climate sensitivity of phenology.


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