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ECN-based study of carabid beetle trends features in BBC’s Countryfile

Dave Brooks, a research scientist at Rothamsted Research, appeared recently in an episode BBC Countryfile, talking about carabid beetles, climate change and land management.
ECN-based study of carabid beetle trends features in BBC’s Countryfile

Dave Brooks (left) talking to Tom Heap on Countryfile

He explained findings from ECN’s long-term monitoring of carabid beetles at our terrestrial sites. Brooks led an analysis of ECN data, which revealed an overall decline in carabid beetle abundance at sites across the UK, but with inconsistencies in the trends between regions and habitats.

Carabid beetles are important component of ecosystems, and are beneficial to farmers because they help control pests and weeds. Brooks explained to Countryfile viewers that pressures such as increasing habitat fragmentation could make it harder for some carabid beetle species to cope with changes in climate.

Carabid beetleRecently, Gabor Pozsgai and Nick Littlewood of the James Hutton Institute (JHI) have explored the issue of declining carabid abundances further, focussing specifically on the JHI’s ECN Glensaugh and Sourhope sites. The time of year when some species were most active varied from year to year depending on prevailing conditions, while peak activity of other species remained more fixed. The authors found that those species with a higher capacity to vary their phenology (or life cycle timing) were less prone to decline.

Brooks featured in a segment of the programme in which presenter Tom Heap looked for proof that climate change is already having a significant impact on the British countryside.

Dave Brooks was filmed at North Wyke, an ECN site and research farm operated by Rothamsted Research. Countryfile is broadcast weekly on national television.

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[Images: screenshots from BBC iPlayer]