科学美国人:Earlier Springs May Mean Mistimed Bird Migrations

60秒科学节目(SSS)是科学美国人网站的一套广播栏目,英文名称:Scientific American - 60 Second Science,节目内容以科学报道为主,节目仅一分钟的时间,主要对当今的科学技术新发展作以简明、通俗的介绍,对于科学的发展如何影响人们的生活环境、健康状况及科学技术,提供了大量简明易懂的阐释。

Climate change means springtime's arriving earlier across North America. But the season's onset isn't changing at the same rate across the nation.

"Spring is not advancing as quickly in southern regions as it is in northern regions." Eric Waller, a biogeographer at the U.S. Geological Survey. 

He and his team analyzed more than a hundred years of data on when the first leaves and flowers emerge across North America. And they found that although spring has sprung earlier nearly everywhere, in certain wildlife refuges, the season hits extremely early. 

And that mismatch could be a problem for migratory birds, who might leave their temperate overwintering grounds down south at the usual time, only to find they've arrived up north too late. "Their food resources might be withering and they might not have as much food available to them. And that could affect their reproduction, their breeding."

The analysis is in the journal PLOS ONE. [Eric K. Waller et al., Differential changes in the onset of spring across US National Wildlife Refuges and North American migratory bird flyways] 

The upshot: it may be more difficult than we thought to predict the effects of climate change on migratory birds. But the data might help land managers decide which plots of land to acquire, to augment existing reserves—and in doing so, ensure that even later birds still get the worm.

—Christopher Intagliata

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