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CR 34:93-98 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/cr034093

Vertebrate phenology at similar latitudes: temperature responses differ between Poland and the United Kingdom

Tim Sparks1,*, Piotr Tryjanowski2, Arnold Cooke3, Humphrey Crick4, Stanislaw Kuzniak2

1Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Monks Wood, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE28 2LS, UK
2Department of Behavioural Ecology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznan, Poland
313 Biggin Lane, Ramsey, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE26 1NB, UK
4British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Nunnery Lane, Thetford, Norfolk IP24 2PU, UK

ABSTRACT: We examined the phenology of 2 amphibians (common frog Rana temporaria, common toad Bufo bufo) and one resident bird species (blackbird Turdus merula) at locations in Poland and in the UK on similar latitudes. The timing of phenology was earlier in the UK than in Poland, presumably as a consequence of a warmer maritime environment. This was further confirmed by the earlier frog spawn phenology in the warmer west of the UK than in the east. In the amphibians, the response to temperature was significantly greater in the UK than in Poland, although for the resident bird species the greater response in the UK did not achieve significance. These results suggest that species are adapted to local conditions. However if such adaptive strategies are not able to evolve rapidly to match rapidly changing climatic conditions, then severe disruption to the least flexible elements in any system may result.

KEY WORDS: Rana temporaria · Bufo bufo · Turdus merula · Temperature response rate · Climate change · Egg-laying · Spawning

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