Extreme events are more likely to affect the breeding success of lesser kestrels than average climate change

  • Articles in SCI Journals
  • Dec, 2020

Marcelino, J., Silva, J.P., Gameiro, J., Silva, A., Rego, F.C., Moreira, F. & Catry, I. (2020) Extreme events are more likely to affect the breeding success of lesser kestrels than average climate change.

Scientific Reports, 10, 7207. DOI:10.1038/s41598-020-64087-0 (IF2020 4,379; Q1 Multidisciplinary Sciences)
Summary:

Climate change is predicted to severely impact interactions between prey, predators and habitats. In Southern Europe, within the Mediterranean climate, herbaceous vegetation achieves its maximum growth in middle spring followed by a three-month dry summer, limiting prey availability for insectivorous birds. Lesser kestrels (Falco naumanni) breed in a time-window that matches the nestling-rearing period with the peak abundance of grasshoppers and forecasted climate change may impact reproductive success through changes in prey availability and abundance. We used Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) as a surrogate of habitat quality and prey availability to investigate the impacts of forecasted climate change and extreme climatic events on lesser kestrel breeding performance. First, using 14 years of data from 15 colonies in Southwestern Iberia, we linked fledging success and climatic variables with NDVI, and secondly, based on these relationships and according to climatic scenarios for 2050 and 2070, forecasted NDVI and fledging success. Finally, we evaluated how fledging success was influenced by drought events since 2004. Despite predicting a decrease in vegetation greenness in lesser kestrel foraging areas during spring, we found no impacts of predicted gradual rise in temperature and decline in precipitation on their fledging success. Notwithstanding, we found a decrease of 12% in offspring survival associated with drought events, suggesting that a higher frequency of droughts might, in the future, jeopardize the recent recovery of the European population. Here, we show that extreme events, such as droughts, can have more significant impacts on species than gradual climatic changes, especially in regions like the Mediterranean Basin, a biodiversity and climate change hotspot.


https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-64087-0citeas

Team

  • Extreme events are more likely to affect the breeding success of lesser kestrels than average climate change João Gameiro Tropical and Mediterranean Biodiversity - TMB