Indicator Specification

Animal phenology

Indicator Specification
  Indicator codes: CLIM 025
Published 08 Sep 2008 Last modified 03 Feb 2017
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Changes in egg-laying dates (1980-2004) of the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)

Update planned for November 2012

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)
  • No published assessments


Justification for indicator selection

Climate warming affects the life cycles of many animal species, particularly those such as butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies that are sensitive to temperature. Milder springs are allowing earlier onset of breeding and extra generations to emerge during the year. Furthermore, populations may explode if the young are not exposed to normal predation pressures.  Conversely, populations may crash if the emergence of vulnerable young is not in synchrony with their food source or if shorter hibernation times lead to declines in body condition -- as evidenced in the lower survival rates of some amphibians (Reading, 2007).
Insect pests are likely to become more abundant as temperatures increase (Cannon, 1998). As the impacts of climate change on ecosystems favour generalists, and as warmer temperatures increase insect survival and reproduction rates, more frequent, severe and unpredictable pest outbreaks may occur (McKinney and Lockwood, 1999). In temperate regions, milder winters are allowing increased rates of winter survival (Bale et al., 2002) and it has been estimated that, with a 2 °C temperature increase, some insects could undergo up to five additional life cycles per season (Yamamura and Kiritani, 1998).

Scientific references

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

  • Changes in egg-laying dates (1980-2004) of the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)



Policy context and targets

Context description

In April 2009 the European Commission presented a White Paper on the framework for adaptation policies and measures to reduce the European Union's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The aim is to increase the resilience to climate change of health, property and the productive functions of land, inter alia by improving the management of water resources and ecosystems. More knowledge is needed on climate impact and vulnerability but a considerable amount of information and research already exists which can be shared better through a proposed Clearing House Mechanism. The White Paper stresses the need to mainstream adaptation into existing and new EU policies. A number of Member States have already taken action and several have prepared national adaptation plans. The EU is also developing actions to enhance and finance adaptation in developing countries as part of a new post-2012 global climate agreement expected in Copenhagen (Dec. 2009). For more information see:


No targets have been specified

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified


Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

External data references

Data sources in latest figures



Methodology uncertainty

Data sets uncertainty

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Hans-Martin Füssel


European Environment Agency (EEA)


Indicator code
CLIM 025
Version id: 1


DPSIR: Impact
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)


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