YOCCOZ Nigel's profile
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YOCCOZ Nigel

  • Arctic and Marine Biology, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
  • Biodiversity, Biological invasions, Climate change, Demography, Food webs, Population ecology, Species distributions, Statistical ecology
  • recommender

Recommendations:  0

Reviews:  2

Areas of expertise
My background is in statistical ecology (multivariate analyses, statistical modelling, study design, use and misuse of statistical methods and concepts), and my interests in ecology range from demography to ecosystem dynamics. How are life history traits of "fast" vs "slow" species shaped by environmental variability? How do seasonality influence trophic interactions and food web dynamics? How does climate change affects different trophic levels and ecosystem dynamics? I am particularly interested in species, communities and ecosystems of cold regions (arctic and alpine), which are characterized by strong seasonality, large environmental variability and strong climate signals.

Reviews:  2

24 May 2023
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Evolutionary determinants of reproductive seasonality: a theoretical approach

When does seasonal reproduction evolve?

Recommended by based on reviews by Francois-Xavier Dechaume-Moncharmont, Nigel Yoccoz and 1 anonymous reviewer

Have you ever wondered why some species breed seasonally while others do not? You might think it is all down to lattitude and the harshness of winters but it turns out it is quite a bit more complicated than that. A consequence of this is that climate change may result in the evolution of the degree of seasonal reproduction, with some species perhaps becoming less seasonal and others more so even in the same habitat. 

Burtschell et al. (2023) investigated how various factors influence seasonal breeding by building an individual-based model of a baboon population from which they calculated the degree of seasonality for the fittest reproductive strategy. They then altered key aspects of their model to examine how these changes impacted the degree of seasonality in the reproductive strategy. What they found is fascinating. 

The degree of seasonality in reproductive strategy is expected to increase with increased seasonality in the environment, decreased food availability, increased energy expenditure, and how predictable resource availability is. Interestingly, neither female cycle length nor extrinsic infant mortality influenced the degree of seasonality in reproduction.

What this means in reality for seasonal species is more challenging to understand. Some environments appear to be becoming more seasonal yet less predictable, and some species appear to be altering their daily energy budgets in response to changing climate in quite complex ways. As with pretty much everything in biology, Burtschell et al.'s work reveals much nuance and complexity, and that predicting how species might alter their reproductive timing is fraught with challenges.

The paper is very well written. With a simpler model it may have proven possible to achieve analytical solutions, but this is a very minor gripe. The reviewers were positive about the paper, and I have little doubt it will be well-cited. 

REFERENCES

Burtschell L, Dezeure J, Huchard E, Godelle B (2023) Evolutionary determinants of reproductive seasonality: a theoretical approach. bioRxiv, 2022.08.22.504761, ver. 2 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.08.22.504761

24 Jan 2023
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Four decades of phenology in an alpine amphibian: trends, stasis, and climatic drivers

Alpine ecology and their dynamics under climate change

Recommended by based on reviews by Nigel Yoccoz and 1 anonymous reviewer

​​Research about the effects of climate change on ecological communities has been abundant in the last decades. In particular, studies about the effects of climate change on mountain ecosystems have been key for understanding and communicating the consequences of this global phenomenon. Alpine regions show higher increases in warming in comparison to low-altitude ecosystems and this trend is likely to continue. This warming has caused reduced snowfall and/or changes in the duration of snow cover. For example, Notarnicola (2020) reported that 78% of the world’s mountain areas have experienced a snow cover decline since 2000. In the same vein, snow cover has decreased by 10% compared with snow coverage in the late 1960s (Walther et al., 2002) and snow cover duration has decreased at a rate of 5 days/decade (Choi et al., 2010). These changes have impacted the dynamics of high-altitude plant and animal populations. Some impacts are changes in the hibernation of animals, the length of the growing season for plants and the soil microbial composition (Chávez et al. 2021).

Lenzi et al. (2023), give us an excellent study using long-term data on alpine amphibian populations. Authors show how climate change has impacted the reproductive phenology of Bufo bufo, especially the breeding season starts 30 days earlier than ~40 years ago. This earlier breeding is associated with the increasing temperatures and reduced snow cover in these alpine ecosystems. However, these changes did not occur in a linear trend but a marked acceleration was observed until mid-1990s with a later stabilization. Authors associated these nonlinear changes with complex interactions between the global trend of seasonal temperatures and site-specific conditions. 

Beyond the earlier breeding season, changes in phenology can have important impacts on the long-term viability of alpine populations. Complex interactions could involve positive and negative effects like harder environmental conditions for propagules, faster development of juveniles, or changes in predation pressure. This study opens new research opportunities and questions like the urgent assessment of the global impact of climate change on animal fitness. This study provides key information for the conservation of these populations.

References

Chávez RO, Briceño VF, Lastra JA, Harris-Pascal D, Estay SA (2021) Snow Cover and Snow Persistence Changes in the Mocho-Choshuenco Volcano (Southern Chile) Derived From 35 Years of Landsat Satellite Images. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.643850

Choi G, Robinson DA, Kang S (2010) Changing Northern Hemisphere Snow Seasons. Journal of Climate, 23, 5305–5310. https://doi.org/10.1175/2010JCLI3644.1

Lenzi O, Grossenbacher K, Zumbach S, Lüscher B, Althaus S, Schmocker D, Recher H, Thoma M, Ozgul A, Schmidt BR (2022) Four decades of phenology in an alpine amphibian: trends, stasis, and climatic drivers.bioRxiv, 2022.08.16.503739, ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.08.16.503739

Notarnicola C (2020) Hotspots of snow cover changes in global mountain regions over 2000–2018. Remote Sensing of Environment, 243, 111781. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2020.111781

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YOCCOZ Nigel

  • Arctic and Marine Biology, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
  • Biodiversity, Biological invasions, Climate change, Demography, Food webs, Population ecology, Species distributions, Statistical ecology
  • recommender

Recommendations:  0

Reviews:  2

Areas of expertise
My background is in statistical ecology (multivariate analyses, statistical modelling, study design, use and misuse of statistical methods and concepts), and my interests in ecology range from demography to ecosystem dynamics. How are life history traits of "fast" vs "slow" species shaped by environmental variability? How do seasonality influence trophic interactions and food web dynamics? How does climate change affects different trophic levels and ecosystem dynamics? I am particularly interested in species, communities and ecosystems of cold regions (arctic and alpine), which are characterized by strong seasonality, large environmental variability and strong climate signals.