Scientists have been studying the effect of earlier springs on feeding relationships in deciduous forests. Concerned about the impact of rising temperatures linked to climate change, they studied the links between oak first leaf, caterpillar activity and bird nesting. The findings have been published in the respected scientific journal, Nature Ecology and Evolution, entitled Tritrophic phenological match-mismatch in space and time.
Collecting the data
Led by researchers from RSPB and the universities of Exeter and Edinburgh, the research team also included the universities of Durham, Sheffield, Glasgow, Oxford, Stirling and Cardiff. They used data from citizen science projects - projects which involve volunteers in the scientific process, in this case collecting environmental data.
This data included records from Nature’s Calendar, our own citizen science project with over 5,000 current recorders nationwide and data going back to 1736. For this research, 10,073 records of oak tree first leafing dates from 1998 to 2016 were used.