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1829 Talk: Climate Change & UK Wildlife - Are Trophic Levels Losing Sync?

Friday 31 January, 18.29-18.45, Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

with Emily Hickenbotham, Newcastle University

Climate change is known to be affecting insect populations in Britain, with UK butterflies’ northern distribution extending northwards and evidence of changed phenology already found in UK beetles. While studies such as these have found an effect on one trophic level, there have been relatively few studies looking into impacts of climate change on interactions between trophic levels in the UK. This talk will demonstrate how long-term datasets can give an insight into how synchronicity is changing between trophic levels. Evidence of changes in trophic level synchrony between moths and plants will be presented, based on analysis of a 22-year dataset collected by the UK Environmental Change Network. While ecological systems do have some phenotypic plasticity, which enables them to synchronise with other natural events despite the interannual variation, the addition of environmental change is causing supplementary cues to move outside the range within which this plasticity has evolved.