European amphibians and birds have been breeding consistently earlier over the past two to three decades1,2. These changes have been attributed to the observed trends in increasing average spring temperatures in Europe3 producing earlier growing seasons4 and increased forage availability. Here we show that variations in breeding of European amphibians and birds are influenced by variations in a natural, large-scale atmospheric phenomenon, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Our results support the proximate cause (that is, increase in spring temperatures) of the altered breeding phenology as suggested previously1,2, but by extending previous analyses as well as integrating data from other bird species, they also suggest that organisms with complex life histories respond to year-to-year variations in their abiotic environment.
Access optionsAccess options
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Beebee, T. J. C. Nature 374, 219–220 (1995).
Crick, H. Q. P., Dudley, C., Glue, D. E. & Thomson, D. L. Nature 388, 526 526 (1997).
Jones, P. D. J. Climatol. 7, 1794–1802 (1994).
Myneni, T., Keelin, C. D., Tucker, C. J., Asrar, G. & Nemani, R. R. Nature 386, 698–702 (1997).
Schlesinger, M. E. & Ramankutty, N. Nature 367, 723–726 (1994).
Hurrell, J. W. Science 269, 676–679 (1995).
Moulin, C., Lambert, C. E., Dulac, F. & Dayan, U. Nature 387, 691–694 (1997).
Royama, T. Analytic Population Dynamics (Chapman & Hall, London, 1992).
Fromentin, J.-M. & Planque, B. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 134, 111–118 (1996).
Yalden, D. W. & Pearce-Higgins, J. W. Bird Study 44, 227–234 (1997).
Holland, P. K. & Yalden, D. W. Bird Study 38, 151–159 (1991).
Lauscher, A. & Lauscher, F. Phänologie Norwegens vol. 4 (Eigenverlag, F. Lauscher, Vienna, 1990).
Jacksic, F. M., Feinsinger, P. & Jimenez, J. E. Conserv. Biol. 10, 252–262 (1994).
Jacksic, F. M., Silva, S. I., Meserve, P. L. & Gutierrez, J. R. Oikos 78, 341–354 (1997).
About this article
The effects of long-distance migration on the evolution of moult strategies in Western-Palearctic passerines
Biological Reviews (2019)
Climate change-based models predict range shifts in the distribution of the only Asian plethodontid salamander: Karsenia koreana
Scientific Reports (2019)
Phenological mismatch in Arctic‐breeding shorebirds: Impact of snowmelt and unpredictable weather conditions on food availability and chick growth
Ecology and Evolution (2019)
The influence of weather and weather variability on mosquito abundance and infection with West Nile virus in Harris County, Texas, USA
Science of The Total Environment (2019)
Journal of Ecology (2019)