Climate Change & Anthropocene Extinction 47: Can species adapt by changing their fitness curves?

As we discussed in our previous article, ecologists use the term ‘fitness curve’ – or the synonymous ‘performance curve’ – to describe a climatological bandwidth within which a species can survive, including an optimum value and a critical minimum and … Continue reading

Climate Change & Anthropocene Extinction 46: Tropical insects vulnerable due to narrow fitness curve

You would think tropical species like warm weather – and what’s the difference between warm and 2 or 3 degrees warmer. Well, they can be picky. A short appendix to our previous article – a bit of supporting theory as … Continue reading

Climate Change & Anthropocene Extinction 45: Massive die-off tropical insects direct result of warming

Climate news does not get worse: new field data show total insect (and other arthropod) biomass in Central American rainforest has declined 10 to 60 times since the 1970s. Meanwhile also insectivores, like lizards, frogs and birds, are rapidly declining … Continue reading

Climate Change & Anthropocene Extinction 43: Expert explains biodiversity graph Royal Society report

It’s the end of the year so a good time to evaluate where we’re standing. Our climate-biodiversity series has progressed to episode 43. If you’ve missed it, we highly recommend you start at part 1, preferably under a Christmas tree … Continue reading

Climate Change & Anthropocene Extinction 42: Do grass-eating Arctic geese suffer a climate mismatch?

Arctic geese like the Barnacle goose that breed on the Russian tundra and winter in the Netherlands need to increase the speed of their return trips, as the tundra spring starts weeks earlier – possibly skipping their fuelling stops on … Continue reading

Climate Change & Anthropocene Extinction 41: Arctic bird shrinks due to mismatch with tundra insects

Many Arctic species are shrinking in size. Say what? Yes, shrinking in size – polar bears included. Is this some clever climate adaptation (as the opposite holds true: larger body sizes are an adaptation to a cold climate), or is … Continue reading

Climate Change & Anthropocene Extinction 40: Warming changes spread of European ash tree dieback

Under very rare circumstances a spatial mismatch caused by climate change can be a good thing. But before you start betting on compensating one ecological disturbance with another that’s possibly even more dangerous, we think perhaps we should discuss another … Continue reading

Climate Change & Anthropocene Extinction 39: Warming also causes spatial mismatch interacting species

Climate change can cause a ‘temporal mismatch’ between interacting species, we learned in our previous article. Here’s a short appendix to that piece, illustrating how simultaneously also a spatial mismatch can develop – further promoting population declines and biodiversity loss, … Continue reading

Climate Change & Anthropocene Extinction 38: European migratory birds offer early climate warning

Migratory birds may seem to be well equipped to cope with the consequences of climate change, because their trait of seasonal migration is of course already an evolutionary adaptation to temperature fluctuations that characterise the seasons of Earth’s temperate climate … Continue reading

Climate Change & Anthropocene Extinction 37: If the sea ice goes, so does the Arctic ecosystem

All life forms that depend on Arctic sea ice will be hurt when that sea ice disappears. And especially when you also depend on other life forms that depend on sea ice. Polar bears are an obvious example (and if … Continue reading