ECN-based study of carabid beetle trends features in BBC’s 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.
Recently, 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.
- Countryfile, 11th May 2014. Available for a limited time on BBC iPlayer
- Read more about the research which Dave spoke about (includes link to the original paper and a simple explanation of the findings and why this research matters)
- Dave Brooks’ personal profile
- North Wyke ECN site
- Rothamsted Research
- Paper by Pozsgai and Littlewood on ground beetle phonological changes
- James Hutton Institute
[Images: screenshots from BBC iPlayer]