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Posts Tagged: migration

Not a Good Time to Be a Monarch Caterpillar

A monarch caterpillar munches on   tropical milkweed in Vacaville, Calif. on Friday, Oct. 27. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Migrating monarchs are fluttering daily into our yard in Vacaville, Calif., one by one, two by two, three by three, and four by four, for a little flight fuel. They're sipping nectar from the Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifolia, and tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica. They're on their...

Posted on Monday, October 30, 2017 at 4:22 PM

Are Western Monarchs Heading for Extinction?

A male monarch takes flight on Sept. 12 in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Are western monarch butterflies heading for extinction? A Sept. 7 article in Reuters, headlined "Monarchs in Western United States Risk Extinction, Scientists Say," indicated that "Monarch butterflies west of the Rocky Mountains are teetering on the edge of extinction, with the number wintering in...

Marvels of Migration

A mighty male Monarch on the move. On its way to one of coastal California's overwintering sites, it stops to sip from flight fuel (nectar) from a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Lately we've been fascinated by the migrating Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) heading to coastal California and central Mexico for their overwintering sites. For years we've marveled at the migrating whales passing Point Reyes as we stood glued to our binoculars. And we've expressed awe...

Posted on Monday, November 3, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Welcome Back, Painted Ladies

A female butterfly, a painted lady, nectaring on Spanish lavender on March 8 in the Benicia Community Garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The painted ladies are on move. Butterflies. Scores of painted ladies (Vanessa cardui) are now migrating north from their overwintering sites near the U.S. Mexico border.  On Saturday, March 8 we saw two of them nectaring on Spanish lavender in the Avan Garden, a community garden at...

Posted on Monday, March 10, 2014 at 10:04 PM

How does climate change impact plants?

All bets are off in terms of what will happen with plant species migration and crop production as the climate changes globally.

A common assumption has been that native plants and animals would “move,” or migrate, to higher elevations as temperatures rise, to maintain their “preferred” temperatures, but a new report by Jonathan Greenberg at UC Davis, shows that many California plant species moved downhill over the past 70 years.

According to Greenberg, “While the climate warmed significantly in this period, there was also more precipitation. These wetter conditions are allowing plants to exist in warmer locations than they were previously capable of.”

According to the news release summary:

“Many forecasts say climate change will cause a number of plants and animals to migrate to new ranges or become extinct. That research has largely been based on the assumption that temperature is the dominant driver of species distributions. However, Greenberg said the new study reveals that other factors, such as precipitation, may be more important than temperature in defining the habitable range of these species.

“The findings could have global relevance, because many locations . . . have had increased precipitation in the past century, and global climate models generally predict that trend will continue, the authors said.”

Many studies are showing that climate change is impacting plant and animal species, but because of the overlapping influence of so many factors, including temperature, precipitation, and elevation, and even factors such as increases in smog and carbon dioxide, it is too early to predict precisely how climate change will impact native species . . . and agricultural crop production.

Here are some UC Davis news summaries in just the last year on the impact of climate change on plant and animals species:

  • Plants moved downhill, not up, in warming world – news summary
  • Climate change impact on mountain plants at low elevations – news summary
  • Warmer ocean waters favor aliens over natives – news summary
  • Warming climate means harsher smog – news summary
  • Rising CO2 levels threaten crops – news summary
  • Changes in agriculture needed as world warms – news summary
  • Climate tipping points may give no warning – news summary
  • Butterflies reeling from impact of climate – news summary
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 4:51 PM

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