Reduced Fecundity in Wood Frogs due to Warmer Winters

by Anna Alquitela

From 2006 to 2012, Michael Benard conducted research at a field station in southeastern Michigan where he used drift fences and pitfall traps to capture both adult and metamorphosing wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) at six wetlands (Benard 2014). Benard’s goal was to determine if a relationship exists between date of breeding and winter temperature and precipitation, and between the female reproductive rate (fecundity) and winter temperature and precipitation. Using these data, he was also able to discern if breeding dates affect changes in metamorphosis timing, length of the larval period, weight at metamorphosis, and larval survival. Continue reading

Biodiversity Protects Plant-Pollinator Phenological Synchrony from Climate Change

by Lia Metzger

Biodiversity has been linked to the protection and sustenance of ecosystems against the loss of individual species. Studies have found that climate change, a contributor to the loss of species, has caused significant changes in phenology, mostly in species active in the spring. The biodiversity insurance hypothesis has never been expanded to include phenological synchrony as a possible buffer against the loss of individual species due to climate change. Bartomeus et al. (2013) investigated the phenological changes of wild bee species and of commercial apple crops over 46 years to find if bees and apples had phenological synchrony and if this was related to the richness of pollinator species. Using a contemporary data set, the authors picked pollinators that most frequently visited apple and tested for their phenological complimentarity. Bee and apple data were compared over time to find phenological mismatch and the rate of phenological change for different species with respect to apple bloom. Phenological synchrony was then tested against wild bee biodiversity. Phenological synchrony was found to increase with increasing biodiversity of the bee species and stabilize over time even though the rate of phenological shifting differed between species. Continue reading