The tit, with its vivid colors, is a bird species most characteristic of British gardens. But could lose the battle against climate change, according to a new study.
These birds (Parus major) feed their chicks with tracks available just weeks before his metamorphosis into moths. And the temperature rise is making this transformation occurs earlier.
Will the coal lay eggs before, for the birth of their offspring match the abundance of caterpillars Or may change your preferences and rely on other sources of food
These are complex questions that seek to respond biologists who study called “evolutionary rescue”.
Environmental change and biodiversity loss are occurring at a rate unprecedented in human history and the big question for the experts is: can the plants and animals evolve fast enough to prevent its disappearance
The study of evolution is recent bailout but its relevance is such that the Academy of Sciences of the United Kingdom, the Royal Society, on Monday decided to devote entirely one of most prestigious publications.
One of the studies highlighted by the Royal Society is entitled “Can tits adapt their playing times to climate change “.
“Our results indicate that tits can not advance enough playing time to accompany the changes in the sources of food for their young,” he told BBC Professor Marcel Visser, head of the Department of Animal Ecology Institute of Ecology Holland, Netherlands Institute of Ecology.
This means that it may continue to use this source of high quality food and should be changed to other lower, ie to other insect species. This in turn will reduce the number of offspring they can produce and may increase their risk of extinction. “
The great tits feed their young with caterpillars that are available just a few weeks.”Subsequently, the moth caterpillars and become no longer available to the birds. With increasing temperature, the peak in abundance occurs in food increasingly earlier dates and this modification occurs at twice the rate of change in egg laying birds, “explained Dr. Visser.
“The best way for these birds would adapt genetically to a rate change accompanying the change in their food. But our projections show that is unlikely to happen.”
To do so would, for example, be a case of “microevolution” that those birds with genetic characteristics that enable early commissioning end up prevailing over the other.
Visser and his colleagues focused on the tit because “its biology and ecology have been well studied excepcionalemnte and this enabled us to build models to predict future changes sensitive. Such models, for example, require detailed information on how much energy needed to produce these birds their eggs and this information is available in the case of tit but not other species. “