CR 35:135-146 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/cr00720

Intraspecific consistency and geographic variability in temporal trends of spring migration phenology among European bird species

Diego Rubolini1,*, Anders P. Møller2, Kalle Rainio3, Esa Lehikoinen3

1Dipartimento di Biologia, Università degli Studi di Milano, via Celoria 26, 20133 Milan, Italy
2Laboratoire de Parasitologie Evolutive, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Bât. A, 7ème étage, 7 quai St. Bernard, Case 237, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France
3Department of Biology, University of Turku, 20014 Turku, Finland

ABSTRACT: In the course of the 20th century, migratory birds have shown rapid phenological changes in response to climate change. However, the spatial variability of phenological changes, as well as their intraspecific consistency, remains largely unexplored. Here we analysed 672 estimates of change in first arrival dates of migratory birds and 289 estimates of mean/median arrival dates, based on time series with a minimum duration of 15 yr, collected across Europe from 1960 to 2006. There were highly significant advances in arrival date, significantly more so for first than mean arrival date. Change in arrival dates significantly varied among species, implying that response to climate change is a species-specific feature, and showed substantial phylogenetic effects, since ca. 50% of the variation in the observed trends was attributable to differences among species. The advance in first arrival date was weaker at extreme latitudes and stronger at intermediate latitudes, while geographic variation in mean arrival dates was less pronounced. Both first and mean arrival dates advanced the most for short- compared to long-distance migrants. These findings emphasize the reliability of estimates of phenological trends of avian species, which are therefore suitable to be included in comparative analyses aimed at identifying species-specific traits that favour adaptation to climatic changes. In addition, our results suggest that analyses of factors that have affected phenological responses to climate change should take into account spatial variation in the response, which could be due to spatial differences in the strength of climate change.

KEY WORDS: First arrival date · Long-distance migrants · Median arrival date · Repeatability · Short-distance migrants

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Cite this article as: Rubolini D, Møller AP, Rainio K, Lehikoinen E (2007) Intraspecific consistency and geographic variability in temporal trends of spring migration phenology among European bird species. Clim Res 35:135-146

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