Effects of the climate crisis on squirrels



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Effects of the climate crisis on squirrels

The various greenhouse gases play an important role in climate and climate chang (with consequent global warming) since through the greenhouse effect they regulate the flow of energy retained in the earth's atmosphere and contribute to maintaining constant climate parameters by reacting in the phases of warming and climatic cooling.

The predicted scenarios postulate that, as the planet warms, the polar ice caps melt and since the snow has a high albedo, that is, it reflects back to space most of the radiation it receives, the decrease in the polar ice caps will lead to a further increase in temperatures.

Furthermore, the warming of the seas will lead to more evaporation and since water vapor is also a greenhouse gas, it will produce an amplifying effect. Conversely, an increase in cloud cover due to greater evaporation will contribute to the increase in albedo and therefore, theoretically, to global cooling.

Effects of the climate crisis on squirrels The study: Extreme climate event promotes phenological mismatch between se*es in hibernating ground squirrels, published on the Scientific reports, explained: "Hibernating ground squirrels rely on a short active period for breeding and mass accrual, and are thus vulnerable to extreme climate events that affect key periods in their annual cycle.

Here, we document how a heatwave in March 2012 led to a phenological mismatch between se*es in Richardson's ground squirrels. Females emerged from hibernation and commenced breeding earlier in 2012 relative to average female emergence.

Although males had descended testes and pigmented scrota, it appeared that not all males were physiologically prepared to breed since 58.6% of males had non-motile sperm when breeding commenced. Body condition, relative testes size, and the relative size of accessory glands were significant predictors of sperm motility.

Males with non-motile sperm had smaller accessory glands than males with motile sperm. There was no decrease in the number of juveniles that emerged in 2012 or female yearlings recruited in 2013, nor did juveniles emerge later than other years.

t of this heatwave on male ground squirrels emphasizes the importance of assessing the consequences of climate change on the breeding success of hibernating species in both se * es, since the different sensitivity to external cues for emergence led to a mismatch in timing under this event."