Research reports

Nature’s Calendar records provide scientists with crucial evidence about the effects of climate change on wildlife.

Changes to the timings of natural events can threaten our wildlife, leading to mismatches in food webs and throwing nature out of step in the future. Find out how researchers are using Nature's Calendar data.

If you'd like to use Nature's Calendar data for research, please get in touch. The Nature's Calendar available data document details all the species and events we have records for and an indication of location and timescales also, including historical records. 

Current research

  • Fallen leaves

    Ongoing research projects using the Nature's Calendar data

    Find out about ongoing projects that are currently using Nature's Calendar data.


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Published research

  • Early leaf formation on branch

    State of the UK Climate 2019

    Lorienne Whittle, 04/08/2020

    The latest State of the UK Climate report reveals that 2019 was a year that broke multiple records for temperatures in the UK. The report also includes a phenology section in which Nature’s Calendar records show the impact of the weather and climate four common tree species.

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  • Wood anemones starting to flower

    A comparison of Nature's Calendar with Gilbert White's phenology

    Tim Sparks, Judith Garforth, Lorienne Whittle. British Wildlife, April 2020, 11/05/2020

    A comparison of past and present phenological data is a useful tool to determine changes in the timing of various nature events, such as the first flowering Wood Anemone or the return of Redwings. 


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  • A blue tit with nesting material

    The environmental predictors of spatio-temporal variation in the breeding phenology of a passerine bird

    Shutt et al. 2019. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 15/08/2019

    Warmer springs have seen many of our birds breeding earlier, but scientists still don’t know how they actually decide when to start building nests and laying eggs. Do they respond directly to temperature or do they respond to other aspects of their environment that change in spring like days getting longer, trees coming into leaf or more food becoming available?

    This paper uses Nature's Calendar data to investigate this question, focusing on blue tits. 

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  • Lawn mower on the lawn

    Don’t let the grass grow under your feet.

    Sparks, Boalch and Garforth, 2019. British Wildlife, 06/06/2019

    The Nature’s Calendar team published a paper in the British Wildlife journal discussing the relationship between first and last lawn cutting dates and growing season. 


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  • Meadow foxtail starting to flower

    Temperate airborne grass pollen defined by spatio-temporal shifts in community composition.

    Brennan et al. 2019 Nature Ecology and Evolution, 09/04/2019

    Analysing the flowering time of grass species recorded by Nature's Calendar, scientists were able to track the exposure to their pollen. Grass pollen is associated with both asthma and allergic rhinitis (hay fever), so this important research increases our understanding of these ailments.  



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  • Tritrophic phenological match-mismatch in space and time

    Burgess et al. 2018, 21/06/2018

    Scientists have been studying the effect of earlier springs on feeding relationships in deciduous forests. Concerned about the impact of rising temperatures linked to climate change, they studied the links between oak first leaf, caterpillar activity and bird nesting. The findings have been published in the respected scientific journal, Nature Ecology and Evolution, entitled Tritrophic phenological match-mismatch in space and time.

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  • Cuckoo flowers

    Estimating the ability of plants to plastically track temperature-mediated shifts in the spring phenological optimum

    Tansey et al. 2017

    Scientists at the University of Edinburgh used more than 200,000 Nature’s Calendar records to explore whether plants will continue to leaf or flower at the best time for growth (also known as the optimum phenology), as temperatures rise in the future.

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  • Cuckoo sat in tree

    Can bird abundance declines be detected by citizen science programmes? A case study using Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus

    Sparks et al. 2017

    Using data from Nature's Calendar and another citizen science project, BirdTrack, investigated whether or not declines in a particular species could be detected. 

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  • Great tit with prey

    Phenological sensitivity to climate across taxa and trophic levels

    Thackeray et al. 2016

    For climate changes predicted for the 2050s, the changes in seasonal timing of phenological events are likely to be greatest for primary consumers. This threatens the synchronisation of interactions between trophic levels.

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  • Street light with a tree in the background

    Light pollution is associated with earlier tree budburst across the United Kingdom

    Ffrench-Constant et al. 2016

    Scientists at the University of Exeter used Nature’s Calendar records to examine the relationship between artificial night-time light and the date of budburst in sycamore, beech, oak and ash

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Peacock butterfly

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Have you seen your first butterfly or swallow of the spring? Is it a good year for wild autumn fruits? Take part in Nature's Calendar and help scientists to monitor the effects of climate change on wildlife.

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