Date: February 20, 2017
Source: Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum
Since 1980, populations of warm-dwelling species in Germany have increased. The trend is particularly strong among warm-dwelling terrestrial species, as shown by the most comprehensive study across ecosystems in this regard to date. The most obvious increases occurred among warm-dwelling birds, butterflies, beetles, soil organisms and lichens according to the study published recently in the scientific journal "Nature Ecology & Evolution" led by Senckenberg scientists. Thus, it appears possible that rising temperatures due to the climate change have had a widespread impact on the population trends of animals in the past 30 years.
Since 1980, the average annual temperature in the study areas in Germany increased by approx. 0.3 degrees Celsius per decade. "This may sound harmless, but it has a serious impact on nature. Long-term temperature changes have long-term effects on the population size of plant and animal species. Nearly half of the populations of various species showed a significant increase or decrease since 1980. The direction of change of each species is influenced by whether it prefers warm or cool temperatures. This link is very obvious in mobile species such as birds and butterflies but also in slow growing species such as lichens" says Dr. Diana Bowler of the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre.