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Phenological responses to multiple environmental drivers under climate change: insights from a long‐term observational study and a manipulative field experiment

Wadgymar, Susana M. ; Ogilvie, Jane E. ; Inouye, David W. ; Weis, Arthur E. ; Anderson, Jill T.

New Phytologist, April 2018, Vol.218(2), pp.517-529 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Phenological responses to multiple environmental drivers under climate change: insights from a long‐term observational study and a manipulative field experiment
  • Author: Wadgymar, Susana M. ; Ogilvie, Jane E. ; Inouye, David W. ; Weis, Arthur E. ; Anderson, Jill T.
  • Description: Climate change has induced pronounced shifts in the reproductive phenology of plants, yet we know little about which environmental factors contribute to interspecific variation in responses and their effects on fitness. We integrate data from a 43 yr record of first flowering for six species in subalpine Colorado meadows with a 3 yr snow manipulation experiment on the perennial forb Boechera stricta (Brassicaceae) from the same site. We analyze shifts in the onset of flowering in relation to environmental drivers known to influence phenology: the timing of snowmelt, the accumulation of growing degree days, and photoperiod. Variation in responses to climate change depended on the sequence in which species flowered, with early‐flowering species reproducing faster, at a lower heat sum, and under increasingly disparate photoperiods relative to later‐flowering species. Early snow‐removal treatments confirm that the timing of snowmelt governs observed trends in flowering phenology of B. stricta and that climate change can reduce the probability of flowering, thereby depressing fitness. Our findings suggest that climate change is decoupling historical combinations of photoperiod and temperature and outpacing phenological changes for our focal species. Accurate predictions of biological responses to climate change require a thorough understanding of the factors driving shifts in phenology.
  • Is Part Of: New Phytologist, April 2018, Vol.218(2), pp.517-529
  • Identifier: ISSN: 0028-646X ; E-ISSN: 1469-8137 ; DOI: 10.1111/nph.15029
  • Subjects: Climate Change ; Flowering Onset ; Growing Degree Days ; Phenology ; Photoperiod ; Snowmelt Date ; Snowpack ; Temperature

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