Thursday, May 04, 2006

Getting out of sync in the real world


Due to climate change, plants and animals are loosing synchronization with each other, resulting in remodelling of entire ecosystems, which inevitably leads to some species suffering, sometimes to the point of extinction. Here is the latest story on this phenomenon:

Earlier Spring Starves Migratory Birds:
Trees are blossoming, plants are flowering, and temperatures are warming up. Spring is finally is here and everyone seems happier. Well, except for the pied flycatcher, a small bird that can't schedule its breeding time to cope with the earlier spring season caused by climate change.

The pied flycatcher winters in West Africa then migrates to The Netherlands for spring breeding. Offspring feed on caterpillars.

Because spring is arriving sooner than in the past, the caterpillar population peaks earlier than the flycatcher's arrival, resulting in scarcity of food for the chicks, a new study reports.

This altered timing and resulting food shortage has led to a population decline of 90 percent over the past two decades in areas where the food peaks earlier. However, numbers dropped only about 10 percent in areas where food peaks the latest.
Read the rest...

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