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.

Will frog-spawning time keep pace with climate change?

Name: Anett Kiss

Organisation: University of Edinburgh

Research type: BSc Ecology

How the Nature’s Calendar data is being used: 

Global warming has caused many species to advance their breeding phenology. Often species are able to shift their timings flexibly in response to local conditions, but adaptation in response to selection may also contribute. I will use data on common frog (Rana temporaria) spawning date to study the mechanisms (eg. phenotypic plasticity, microevolutionary adaptation) used by frog populations to cope with environmental changes. As a result, I will be able to assess the ability of populations to persist under future projected climate change.

Common frog (John G. Cutler/WTML)

Frog spawn (Christine Martin/WTML)

The impacts of cold early spring weather on UK phenology.

Name: Ellie Wilson

Organisation: University of Reading

Research Type: MSc (Applied Meteorology)

How the Nature’s Calendar Data is being used: Nature's Calendar data will be used alongside the Central England Temperature data provided by the Met Office to investigate how the inter-annual variability in the weather has an effect on UK phenology. Swallows will be a particular focus and the possible external effects that may impact the migration of the species. This will be compared with the resident blue tit, which will be looked at alongside the orange-tip butterfly and cuckoo flower to investigate the food chain that occurs between these. The statistical significance between the temperature during early spring and the first recording of these species will be analysed. The effects that climate change may have on this phenology in the future, particularly as the inter-annual variability of spring weather is expected to become more extreme in the future, will also be considered.

Swallow (Jerome Murray Alamy)

Orange-tip (Katherine Jaiteh)


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.

Autumn leaves (Jane Corey/WTML)

Woodland floor (Philip Formby/WTML)

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)

Plant phenology and climate change: assessing the possible effect of a changing climate on the onset of wild plant species’ first flowering day in the United Kingdom, using Geographical Information Science (provisional title)

Name: N Fox

Organisation: Lund University 

Research type: MSc in Geographical Information Science 

How the Nature’s Calendar data is being used: 

The first flowering day (FFD) data of wild plant species (Hyacinthoides non-scripta (bluebell); Anemone nemorosa (wood anemone); Tussilago farfara (colt's-foot); Alliaria petiolate (garlic mustard); and Cardamine pratensis (cuckooflower)) is being used to investigate how plant phenology is affected by climate change. Scientifically, FFD can be defined as the first day of the year that a flower emerges from a particular species, for example garlic mustard may produce flowers on 12 Apr at a particular location, then the following year it may produce its first flowers on 25 Mar. The differences in first flowering dates (over many years) will be investigated to see if this is simply a chance occurrence or, alternatively, if it is likely to be another cause, such as climate change.


Cuckooflower (Austin Brady)

Garlic mustard (Pete Holmes/WTML)

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