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Abstract Detail


Phenology and Conservation Implications

Calinger , Kellen  [1], Curtis, Peter [2].

Impacts of climate change on state-wide biodiversity: Herbarium specimens suggest shifts in flowering phenology across Ohio.

Phenology, the timing of key life events in plants and animals, can be highly sensitive to climate change. Many plant species have responded to increasing temperature with significant shifts in phenology, including earlier spring flowering. However, differing phenologic responsiveness among species have important implications for future state-wide biodiversity. For instance, earlier blossoming can result in greater risk of frost exposure and pollinator mismatch leading to species decline. Alternatively, responsive species may gain increased early season productivity allowing them to increase in abundance. Despite the potentially significant impacts on biodiversity, few phenological studies include enough species to make predictions of future shifts in abundance based on phenologic responsiveness. To improve our understanding of large-scale, state-wide responses to climate change, we used a novel, herbarium-based method for evaluating shifts in flowering phenology throughout Ohio. To evaluate phenological responses to temperature change across the state, we paired specimens from the Ohio State University Herbarium, dating from 1895, with temperature data from the U.S. Historical Climatology Network. By matching specimens with temperatures specific to their collection dates and locations, we normalized species- phenologic responses across time and location allowing analysis across a 116,000km2 region. The extensive herbarium records allow us to evaluate variation in phenologic responsiveness for a large number of species, facilitating prediction of phenological responsiveness across functional groups. Across Ohio, average spring temperatures have increased 0.9oC since 1895, with local increases of 2oC. Of the 141 species examined, 46% significantly advanced flowering while only 1% showed delays. Phenologic responsiveness varied widely among species, between 12 days advancement of flowering (Carduus nutans) and 5 days delay/oC (Monotropa uniflora), respectively. Further, functional groups differed significantly in phenologic responsiveness based on seasonality of flowering and growth form. Spring and early-summer flowering species had greater responsiveness than late-summer flowering species. Among growth-form groupings,annuals were generally most responsive, followed by herbaceous perennials, and finally woody perennials. With an average spring temperature increase of 3.5oC predicted for eastern North America in the next 90 years by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, flowering time may be advanced by weeks for some species in Ohio forests. If greater phenologic responsiveness to temperature conveys fitness benefits, non-responsive species may be disadvantaged under future warming. Non-random removal of non-responsive species may significantly alter communities and decrease biodiversity throughout Ohio.

Broader Impacts:


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1 - The Ohio State University, Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, 318 W 12th Avenue, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA
2 - Ohio State University, Department Of Ecology, Evolution, And Organismal Biology, 318 W. 12th Ave., COLUMBUS, OH, 43210-1293, USA

Keywords:
phenology
climate change
biodiversity
life history.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: C7
Location: Union C/Hyatt
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Time: 1:45 PM
Number: C7002
Abstract ID:84


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