Giving a hoot about owl populations

International Owl Day – who gives a hoot?  Dr Sarah Hoy sure does!  Sarah completed her PhD at the University of Aberdeen, which studied how the demography and dynamics of tawny owls have changed over the last 30 years in response to changing environmental conditions.  She is now a researcher in the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University, working with the … Continue reading Giving a hoot about owl populations

Mild winters have butterflies in a flap

The study of phenology – cyclical patterns of biological events – has long been used to investigate relationships between climate and natural phenomena.  In this way, events such as bird migrations, animal breeding periods and plant flowing can be predicted, knowledge which has numerous economic and conservation applications.  However, climate change can alter these timings, with dramatic consequences for a range of species.  To illustrate … Continue reading Mild winters have butterflies in a flap

Research into extreme weather effects may explain recent butterfly decline

Common Blue butterfly. Photo by Dr Aldina Franco.

This post is a press release from the authors of Journal of Animal Ecology paper “Sensitivity of UK butterflies to local climatic extremes: which life stages are most at risk?” by Osgur McDermott Long et al. Issued by University of East Anglia.


Increasingly frequent extreme weather events could threaten butterfly populations in the UK and could be the cause of recently reported butterfly population crashes, according to research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Researchers investigated the impact of Extreme Climatic Events (ECEs) on butterfly populations. The study shows that the impact can be significantly positive and negative, but questions remain as to whether the benefits outweigh the negative effects.

While it is well known that changes to the mean climate can affect ecosystems, little is known about the impact of short-term extreme climatic events (ECEs) such as heatwaves, heavy rainfall or droughts. Continue reading “Research into extreme weather effects may explain recent butterfly decline”