2023 journal article
Current and lagged climate affects phenology across diverse taxonomic groups
The timing of life events (phenology) can be influenced by climate. Studies from around the world tell us that climate cues and species' responses can vary greatly. If variation in climate effects on phenology is strong within a single ecosystem, climate change could lead to ecological disruption, but detailed data from diverse taxa within a single ecosystem are rare. We collated first sighting and median activity within a high-elevation environment for plants, insects, birds, mammals and an amphibian across 45 years (1975–2020). We related 10 812 phenological events to climate data to determine the relative importance of climate effects on species’ phenologies. We demonstrate significant variation in climate-phenology linkage across taxa in a single ecosystem. Both current and prior climate predicted changes in phenology. Taxa responded to some cues similarly, such as snowmelt date and spring temperatures; other cues affected phenology differently. For example, prior summer precipitation had no effect on most plants, delayed first activity of some insects, but advanced activity of the amphibian, some mammals, and birds. Comparing phenological responses of taxa at a single location, we find that important cues often differ among taxa, suggesting that changes to climate may disrupt synchrony of timing among taxa.