This research was funded by the Community Greenways Collaborative, Inc (501c3) and the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program, of the Hawthorne Valley Association (501c3).
Journal of Ecology
Plants -- Genetic markers, Plants -- Evolution, Plant ecology
- Understanding the breadth and complexity of changes in phenology is limited by the availability of long-term historical data sets with broad geographic range.
- We compare a recently discovered historical data set of plant phenology observations collected across the state of New York (1826–1872) to contemporary volunteer-contributed observations (2009–2017) to evaluate changes in plant phenology between time periods. These multi-site, multi-taxa phenology data matched with temperature data uniquely extend historical observations back in time prior to the major atmospheric effects of the Industrial Revolution.
- The majority of the 36 trees, shrubs and forbs that comprised our analysable data set flowered and leafed out earlier in contemporary years than in the early to mid-19th century. This shift is associated with a warming trend in mean January-to-April temperatures, with flowering and leafing advancing on average 3 days/°C earlier. On average, plants flowered 10.5 days earlier and leafed out 19 days earlier in the contemporary period. Urban areas exhibit more advanced phenology than their rural counterparts overall, and insect-pollinated trees show more advanced phenology than wind-pollinated trees and seasonality and growth form explain significant variation in flowering phenology. The greatest rates of temperature sensitivity and change between time periods for flowering are seen in early-season species, particularly trees. Changes in the timing of leaf out are the most advanced for trees and shrubs in urban areas.
- Synthesis. Citizen science observations across two centuries reveal a dramatic, climate-driven shift to earlier leaf out and flowering. The magnitude of advancement varies across settings, species and functional groups, and illustrates how long-term monitoring and citizen science efforts are invaluable for ecological forecasting and discovery.
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Fuccillo Battle, K., Duhon, A., Vispo, C. R., Crimmins, T. M., Rosenstiel, T. N., Armstrong‐Davies, L. L., & de Rivera, C. E. Citizen science across two centuries reveals phenological change among plant species and functional groups in the Northeastern US. Journal of Ecology.