Ongoing research projects using the Nature's Calendar data

If you'd like to use Nature's Calendar data for research please get in contact.

Potential climate change impacts and phenological mismatch between select plants and pollinators in a woodland ecosystem.

Name: Bradley Neal

Organisation: The Open University

Research type: BSc Environmental Science

How the Nature’s Calendar data is being used: 

Climate change is likely to have an impact on natural cycles, one of which could potentially be the important relationship between pollinator activity and flowering time. This has led to the hypothesis that flowers are blooming before insects have emerged, resulting in a reduced service from pollinating insects which may impact reproductive success for either mutualistic partner. Nature’s calendar data, in conjunction with observations in the field, will be used to analyse any change in first flowering time and insect first-sighting over the past 10 years, and if any change might correlate with changing temperatures and shifting seasons.

Speckled wood (Pete Holmes)

Bluebell (Judith Garforth)

"Patches in the endless forest": the remote perception of monuments in the Early Neolithic of the British Isles.

Name: Al Oswald

Organisation: University of York

Research type: PhD

How the Nature’s Calendar data is being used: Almost 6,000 years ago, the earliest surviving monuments in North-West Europe seem mostly to have been constructed in small clearings in a largely forested landscape. It has often been assumed that these monuments were carefully sited so as to be visible from lower-lying settlements located in larger clearings, but trees standing 20 - 40m high must actually have hidden the monuments from view. The clearings themselves, however, may have been visible from considerable distances under some circumstances, for example as people herded their cattle along watercourses to and from remote summer pastures. Data from Nature's Calendar allows the likely timings of these journeys to be estimated, as well as indicating when key woodland resources would have become available.


Rowan tinting

Rowan (Andrew Godfrey)

Beech tinting

Beech (Graham Pickavance)

How do microbial decomposer communities differ between ancient, mature, and newly planted woodlands?

Name: Justin Byrne

Organisation: Newcastle University

Research type: PhD

How the Nature’s Calendar data is being used: I will be collecting leaves from a number of broadleaf species as they fall. Knowing when leaf fall occurs in my area for each species is essential to planning my fieldwork.

(Jane Corey/WTML)

(Philip Formby/WTML)

The Role of Photoperiod Sensitivity in Delaying Phenological Advancement 

Name: Karen Zeng

Organisation: University of New South Wales

Research type: Honours in Ecology 

How the Nature’s Calendar data is being used: Have you ever wondered how spring flowers know when to emerge? As well as sensing the temperature, plants can tell the time of year by the changing length of the day. While most plants use a combination of both temperature and day length, some plants rely solely on day-length to determine important events such as flowering. These plants might be more susceptible to climate change, as they do not change their flowering time to adapt to the earlier spring and summer like the other plants.

To test whether this theory is true, I will be using flowering time data from Nature’s Calendar to determine how quickly different species are reacting to climate change.

Colt's foot flower

Colt's-foot flower (

Wood anemone flower

Wood anemone flower (

Lesser celandine

Lesser celandine (

The impact of UK Spring temperatures on aspects of the natural world

Name: Francesca Bratt

Organisation: The University of Reading

Research Type: MMet Meteorology and Climate

How the Natures Calendar is being used: Species of tree, scrub, flower, insect, and bird, will be analysed to identify changes in timing of their phenological events recorded by Natures Calendar, in response to year-to-year changes in UK spring temperatures.

Comma butterfly

Comma (

Lilac shrub

Lilac (Kate Lewthwaite/WTML)

Cuckoo sitting in a bare tree

Cuckoo (

Analysing spatial and temporal trends in 8 UK species in relation to climatic data (mainly temperature).

Name: Zoe Howell

Organisation: University of Aberdeen

Research type: MSc in Environmental Science

How the Nature's Calendar data is being used: The phenological events recorded by Nature's Calendar for 8 species being investigated (snowdrop, bluebell, rowan, elder, hawthorn, horse chestnut, sessile oak and pendunculate oak) will be statistically analysed, using regression and correlation models, against externally sourced climatic data.

Snowdrops (David Rodway/WTML)

Bluebell (Michelle Blackburn/WTML)

Rowan (Judith Garforth/WTML)

Elder (Pete Holmes/WTML)

A 20 year analysis of a great tit population at Treswell Wood, Retford, Nottinghamshire.

Name: Alex Wilson

Organisation: University of Leicester

Research type: MSc in Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

How the Nature's Calendar data is being used: oak budburst records will be used to understand the food availability of the great tit population.

Great tit (Laurie Campbell/WTML)

Oak budburst (Judith Garforth/WTML)

What is the effect of environmental factors on the phenology of selected species?

Name: Liselotte Rambonnet & Ellen Cieraad

Organisation: CML Leiden University, Netherlands

Research type: MSc

How the Nature's Calendar data is being used: The effect of light at night, temperature and clouds on budburst and first leaf of silver birch, beech, pedunculate oak and horse chestnut, and first flowering of wood anemone, lesser celandine, bluebell and snowdrop will be investigated.

Pedunculate oak first leaf (Kylie Harrison Mellor/WTML)

Horse chestnut first leaf (Kylie Harrison Mellor/WTML)

Beech first leaf (Michelle Davies/WTML)

Title: Climate change impacts on hazel dormice in the UK.

Name: Rachel Findlay-Robinson

Organisation: University of Cumbria

Research Type: PhD

How the Nature’s Calendar data is being used:

Hazel dormice cannot digest large amounts of cellulose, so their diet largely relies on a sequence of buds, flowers and fruits. The data from Nature’s Calendar will be used to find out if climate change is causing changes in the timing of the production of flowers and fruits in key hazel dormouse food plants, and if so, whether these changes are likely to be beneficial or detrimental to dormouse populations.


Hazel nuts, WTML


Dormouse, Web Uploader/WTML


Acorns, WTML

Title: Understanding the impacts of deer in British woodlands

Name: Kayleigh Winch

Organisation: Bournemouth University

Research Type: Evidence Review

How the Nature’s Calendar data is being used:

There are many impacts on woodlands across Great Britain, including tree diseases and invasive species. It is important to tease apart these impacts and identify gaps in knowledge for future research. As flower phenology will likely be impacted by both deer and climate change, the data on bluebell first flowering will be used to identify hotspots for these impacts and through analysis with other datasets help to identify likely causes behind any changes.  


Bluebells, WTML/M Blackburn


Deer in a woodland, Philip Henson

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