5.1. The change of plant biodiversity in Hungary
Leading researcher: Dr. Gergely Király
Results: Knowledge of changing adventive flora is important from several point of view. It is enough to think about the problems of invasive species in the agriculture, forestry and in the nature conservation. There is only little information about the spread of selected species and about environmental conditions supporting this process. Climate conditions support the spreading of some species. We collected information about species probably indicating the climate change, and also summarized new field data, literature and herbarium data using the Central European Flora Mapping System.
The selected species represent the most important group of habitats. Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) and black locust tree (Robinia pseudoacacia) are thermophytes, and the climate change also influences on the horizontal and the vertical spread of these species. We examine the South African Senecio inaequidens, the Asian Impatiens glandulifera and the Mediterranean Tribulus terrestris, which are supposed to have positive respond for the climate warming. Lesser known but important topic is the scheduled spread of aquatic neophytes in the temperate zone. We carried out researches on the North American water weeds (Elodea spp.) as indicator species.
Data collection and entry into the chorological were done until December 2009; evaluation of distribution data is the task of the next project period.
5.2. Insects and Fungi
Leading researcher: Dr. Ferenc Lakatos (Faculty of Forestry, Institute of Silviculture and Forest Protection)
Collaborators: Dr. Ilona Szabó, Dr. György Sipos, Katalin Tuba, Szabolcs Sáfián, Bálint Mészáros
The aims of this research period:
At first, our overall objective is the description of the potential directions in biodiversity changes and then the prediction of the possible real trends. The first level of the studies is concerned with the monitoring of species diversities: namely the disappearance of certain species (extinction) and the incoming of the others (invasion). At the second level we would like to evaluate intraspecific diversities. Our further goal is to identify fenological changes, and then to conduct comprehensive analysis of such data with the outcomes of other subthemes (like climate).
Activities and Results:
Our studies involve insects and fungi. Our specific interests are focused on the fungal Phytophthora genus and on the Scolytidae group as the representative of insects.
a. Fungi: collecting Phytophthora samples from previously investigated locations (Hanság, Hévíz and Gemenc), purchasing reagents and developing lab protocols
b. Insects: during this period, due the inactivity of insects, there is no possibility to collect samples. Therefore we are focused on planning the locations for sample collections and on setting up the proper conditions. Lab investigations awaiting correct sample collections. Our preliminary samples are insufficient to do so.
Detailed biodiversity studies require an elaborate knowledge of the related literature (especially on potential invasive species). Writing up data and preparation of a manuscript for a future review paper is ongoing already.
5.3. Population dynamics of amphibian species
Leading researcher: Dr. Dániel Winkler (Faculty of Forestry, Institute of Wildlife Management and Vertebrate Zoology)
Collaborators: Tímea Horváth (MSc Student)
Results: The timing of migration and breeding of most amphibian species is largely driven by environmental factors such as temperature and moisture. The breeding phenology of these species can therefore be directly or indirectly affected by climate change.
In the period of 1987-1990 an amphibian rescue program had been operating (a road with heavy traffic interrupts their migration route from the wintering areas to Lake Fertő). Unsystematic data (species richness, number of individuals) are available while information on amphibian phenology from those years is completely missing. This fact makes the comparison with the future results of migration and breeding phenology studies planned for spring 2010 impossible.
The aim of our research during the first period of the project was to determine the over-wintering soil depth of amphibian species. A total of 6 sample quadrats (1m2) at different distances from the highway road were examined, but field work has been limited due to meteorological circumstances (frozen soil). A total of 23 specimens of Pelophylax kl. esculentus were found, the mean overwintering depth was about 4 cm.
5.4. Population dynamics of the migrating bird species
Leading researcher: Dr. József Gyurácz, Faculty of Natural and Technical Sciences, Institute of Biology
Collaborators: László Bank, Péter Bánhidi (BirdLife Hungary)
Results: The annual amount of the precipitation and annual captures of the first year Great Reed Warblers increased significantly from 1983 to 2008. The mean annual temperature and the annual captures of the first year Sedge Warblers and Reed Warblers did not show significantly positive trend from 1983 to 2008. In the case of Great Reed Warbler positive correlation was found between the annual precipitation and annual captures of the first year birds. There were positive significant linear correlations between water level and the yearly captures of Sedge Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting. There was no significant linear correlation between water surface and the yearly captures of Reed Bunting or between water level or surface and the yearly captures of Grasshopper Warbler. Acrocephalus species were the best indicators of wetland habitat and were very rare or absent in the dry years. Their abundance was regulated mostly by water level and surface. The beginning of the autumn migration was the day when the first passage of very fat birds was captured. The 90 % of the daily captures represented the end of autumn migration.
5.5. Ecological changes in small mammal communities
Leading researcher: Dr. Sándor Kalmár (Faculty of Forestry, Institute of Wildlife Management and Vertebrate Zoology)
Collaborators: Barnabás Ottlecz (Phd Student)
Results: Ecological parameters of small mammal communities are related to the changes of the environment, which can be used as an indicator of investigations on the changes of habitats including climatic, successive and other environmental processes. It was intended to pursue the research field on the small mammal communities and their ecological consequences in the Institute of Wildlife Management and Vertebrate Zoology in last 15 years. The scientific purpose was a comparison of data with the previously obtained data as well as trends using a TÁMOP 4.2.2. Program.
In the first period of the research proposal (September-December 2009), two study area were investigated: 1.) Moson-plain (LAJTA-Project), 2.) North-Hanság. The CMR technique (capture-mark-recapture) was used in the course of the surveys, the trapped animals were received individual marking, that facilitated the manifold utilisation of the data. Both research area were used for trapping small mammals in September and November, containing 5-5 days, respectively. This counts 100 traps/area resulting 500 trap-nights/period.
Among the trapped animals in the Moson-plain the biggest distribution was shown by the Yellow-necked Mouse (Apodemus flavicollis) and Common Vole (Microtus arvalis). Pygmy Field Mouse (Apodemus microps) has been trapped several times in this period. The total sum of the captured animals was 8 species, 109 individuals. In the second area (Hanság), the Striped Field Mouse (Apodemus agrarius) was dominant, which is an interesting data because this species was not known from this region until a couple of years ago.
5.6. Big game species
Leading researcher: Dr. András Náhlik (Faculty of Forestry, Institute of Wildlife Management and Vertebrate Zoology)
Collaborators: Dr. Richárd László, László Dremmel, Tamás Tari (Phd Student)
We investigated the direct effect of climate change on the extent of game damage and its effect on damage through the dynamics of ungulates as well. Taking into account the changing forest stand types and their tree species composition in consequence of the shift of climate zones’ vegetation, we develop a long term forecast for evaluating the occurring and frequency of game damage.
Among ungulates the population dynamics of wild boar shows the most intensive growth in consequence of climate change. This happens because the breading of wild boar occurs very early in the year in February and March or even in December or January. In consequence of that, survival rate of the offspring and growth of wild boar populations is high in mild winters. If compared with large herbivores wild boar shows a stronger r-selection feature and because this its reproduction rate and population growth are higher.
Overabundance of wild boar populations is characteristic for the whole European continent. By eating acorns of oak and mast of beech the species impedes the widespread of close-to-nature forest management practices.
The direct effect of climate change is obvious in consequence of less snow in winter. According our results lack of snow cover increased browsing damage caused by large herbivores in reforestations after clear fell (P= .04).
This happens because if snow covers the herbaceous plants of the forestations and the lower shoots of the saplings, feeding of herbivores won’t be anymore efficient and they will search for more abundant food supply, e.g. shrub cover of old growth forests.
Our preliminary results show that in context with climate change plant diversity of natural regenerations and that of forests with continuous cover will decrease because browsing and grazing.