Climate variation and regional gradients in population dynamics of two hole-nesting passerines

Bernt Erik Sæther, Steinar Engen, Anders Pape Møller, Erik Matthysen, Frank Adriaensen, Wolfgang Fiedler, Agu Leivits, Marcel M. Lambrechts, Marcel E. Visser, Tycho Anker-Nilssen, Christiaan Both, André A. Dhondt, Robin H. McCleery, John McMeeking, Jamie Potti, Ole Wiggo Røstad, David Thomson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Latitudinal gradients in population dynamics can arise through regional variation in the deterministic components of the population dynamics and the stochastic factors. Here, we demonstrate an increase with latitude in the contribution of a large-scale climate pattern, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), to the fluctuations in size of populations of two European hole-nesting passerine species. However, this influence of climate induced different latitudinal gradients in the population dynamics of the two species. In the great tit the proportion of the variability in the population fluctuations explained by the NAO increased with latitude, showing a larger impact of climate on the population fluctuations of this species at higher latitudes. In contrast, no latitudinal gradient was found in the relative contribution of climate to the variability of the pied flycatcher populations because the total environmental stochasticity increased with latitude. This shows that the population ecological consequences of an expected climate change will depend on how climate affects the environmental stochasticity in the population process. In both species, the effects will be larger in those parts of Europe where large changes in climate are expected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2397-2404
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1531
Publication statusPublished - Nov 22 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate change
  • Density dependence
  • Great tit
  • North Atlantic Oscillation
  • Pied flycatcher
  • Stochastic population dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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