Phenology and Conservation Implications
Schwartz , Mark D .
Assessing climate change impacts with a continental-scale phenological observation network.
The ability to effectively translate knowledge gained through local point-based observations into insights about processes that operate on regional- and continental-scale will be crucial in order to assess the impacts of global climate change on the biosphere. Phenological events (seasonal biological activities such as first leaf emergence or first flower bloom) provide one of the simplest and most readily obtainable measures of the impact of climate change on plant communities. However, it is not sufficient to simply collect lots of data on many species across the continent. Instead, to provide maximum scientific value,a continental-scale phenological network must impose a structure on the phenological data collected that will facilitate comparisons among species and among regions.The USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) is being built on the legacy of agriculture experiment station phenology networks started across North America in the late 1950s. These networks used common or cloned lilacs in order to provide wide spatial coverage and ensure uniform environmental response of the plant materials, which is an essential component of continental-scale networks. USA-NPN will expand the use of clonal plants so that all parts of the country will eventually have a "standardized" plant species "instrument" available for observation.However, lacking in these earlier agricultural networks (and now part of the USA-NPN), are observations on native plant species. These will be used in two ways: 1) through a small set of "calibration species" representing different functional types, and optimized for both broad spatial coverage and overlapping ranges; and 2) providing species for observation that are of local or regional importance. When phenological data from all these sources are collected together, a "phenological connectivity matrix" for the entire nation can be produced. Thus, the structured phenological data collection within the USA-NPN will facilitate a variety of studies that can: 1) examine the interactions and synchronies among species; 2) explore species interrelated responses to the changing environment; and 3) provide opportunities to consider possible adaptive responses to ongoing or expected environmental change.
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USA National Phenology Network
1 - University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Geography, PO Box 413, Milwaukee, WI, 532010413, USA
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Union C/Hyatt
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Time: 3:30 PM