Abstract Detail


Wilson, Jillian Elyse [1], DeMarche, Megan [1], Zettlemoyer, Meredith [1].

Estimating phenological sensitivity in contemporary vs. historical datasets: effects of climate resolution and spatial scale.

Phenological sensitivity, or the degree to which a species’ phenology shifts in response to warming, is an important parameter for comparing and predicting species’ responses to climate change. Phenological sensitivity is often measured using herbarium specimens or local studies in natural populations. These approaches differ widely in spatio-temporal scales, yet few studies compare phenological sensitivities quantified from different datasets for a given species. We compared sensitivity of flowering phenology to growing degree days (GDD) of the alpine plant Silene acaulis using two datasets: herbarium specimens and a six-year observational study in Niwot Ridge, Colorado, USA. We investigated differences in phenological sensitivity obtained using variable spatial scales and climate data sources. Herbarium specimens underestimated phenological sensitivity compared to observational data, even when herbarium samples were limited geographically or to nearby weather station data. However, when observational data were paired with broader-scale climate data, as is typically used in herbarium datasets, estimates of phenological sensitivity were more similar. This study highlights the potential for variation in data source, geographic scale, and accuracy of macroclimate data to produce very different estimates of phenological responses to climate change. Accurately predicting phenological shifts would benefit from comparisons between methods that estimate climate variables and phenological sensitivity over a variety of spatio-temporal scales.

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1 - University of Georgia, Plant Biology, University of Georgia, 120 Carlton St, Athens, GA, 30602, United States

climate change
field studies
first flowering day
growing degree days
observational study
phenological shifts
phenological sensitivity
 Silene acaulis
Undergraduate Research.

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PEC002
Abstract ID:83
Candidate for Awards:None

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