Age isn’t just a number: New research shows song sparrows are affected by climate change differently depending on age

Song sparrows are affected by climate change differently depending on age.

Climate change affects many species, but can it affect a particular one as a whole? Two studies from the University of California, Davis, and Point Blue Conservation Science have some interesting theories. Through their research of using the various stages and ages of individuals in a species, they have not only predicted how climate change could affect a species, but also why.

Lead author Kristen Dybala, a postdoctoral scholar in the UC Davis Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology says, “To learn how climate change is expected to affect an individual population, you have to look at demography. If you don’t break it down by these different stages, you get a different understanding that may be misleading, or worse, that’s just wrong.”

In a study published today in the journal Global Change Biology, climate change had opposite projected effects for adult and juvenile song sparrows in central coastal California. While it is evident that adult survival is sensitive to cold winter weather, warmer, drier winters mean less food for juvenile sparrows during the following summer.

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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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