The observatory is the first of its kind in Spain and CREAF is coordinating the team of scientists behind it. They will be working with volunteers to monitor the evolution of butterfly populations in 54 parks and gardens in Barcelona and Madrid.
“With the urban population set to grow by 56% by 2050, we need to make cities greener to protect biodiversity”4 de May 2018Verónica Couto Antelo
We interviewed Yolanda Melero, holder of a PhD in biology, whose studies have revolved around the behaviour and dynamics of American mink populations. At CREAF she is continuing to investigate how animal populations function, but is now focusing on butterflies to learn about biodiversity-friendly city design.
CREAF researchers signal climate change and changes in land use as the principal causes. The most impacted are specialized species living in very specific habitats and those producing a number of generations in a single year.
A study finds that high temperatures and low rainfall cause a timing mismatch between the flowering period of plants and the time of flight of butterflies. The moments of maximum florescence and butterfly abundance are separated by a mean time of 70 days, increasing in years with marked drought.
According to a study in which CREAF participated, the populations of birds or butterflies living in open habitats have been negatively affected by the loss of field and scrubland habitat. Conversely, species which live in forests have been favored. These variations were related with changes in the Catalonian (and Mediterranean) landscape over the last few decades.
20 years of data accumulated by the Butterfly Monitoring Schemes of the United Kingdom and Catalonia have served to demonstrate that butterflies which live at higher latitudes suffer more ups and downs in population size.