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Breeding by great tits under threat from climate change | Boing Boing

A new research paper from the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford examines the potential impacts of climate change on great tits:
We apply structured population models to a well‐characterised great tit‐caterpillar model system and identify thresholds of temporal asynchrony, beyond which the predator population will rapidly go extinct. Our model suggests that phenotypic plasticity in predator breeding timing initially maintains temporal synchrony in the face of environmental change. However, under projections of climate change, predator plasticity was insufficient to keep pace with prey phenology. Directional evolution then accelerated, but could not prevent mismatch. Once predator phenology lagged behind prey by more than 24 days, rapid extinction was inevitable, in spite of previously stable population dynamics. Our projections suggest that current population stability could be masking a route to population collapse, if high greenhouse gas emissions continue.

According to this research, even a stable population of great tits could ……

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