What’s going on with the Seasons?

I’m just starting to get my head around the fact that the winter solstice is all of 16 days away and today was prompted to remember that I spotted mating toads in my pond in early November.

I was puzzled, but thought it may be a single freak event of amphibian disorientation.

Today, 5th December in northern hemisphere, in temperate UK, I walk along the south coast and find that dogwhelk, Nucella lapillus, are in breeding overdrive.

Clusters of 30 or more individuals gather on the rocks at Whitsand Bay and the fruit of their efforts, thousands of egg capsules stuck to the rocks, show that they aren’t faking it.

What brings on this out-of-season behaviour?

What will be the fate of tadpoles hatched in November and dogwhelk eggs laid in December?

Will individuals have the energy to breed again in spring?

If successful, will prey species be affected by an overpopulation of predators?

Is this the sign of things to come: two broods instead of one each year?

If there are any marine biologists out there, please help to answer these questions!

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