Create your own conference schedule! Click here for full instructions

Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Hufft, Rebecca [1], DePrenger-Levin, Michelle [1], Levy, Richard [1], Islam, Melissa [1].

Using herbarium records to assess shifts in phenology in alpine plants and select indicator species for climate change.

Variation in plant response to climate change can help us predict future changes in plant communities that can aid in the development of effective management plans. Phenology is one of the best indicators to observe such plant responses. Combining plant phenology from herbarium records with ongoing monitoring efforts, we can better understand phenological responses as they relate to environmental change over longer periods. We studied herbarium data from Colorado’s alpine region, as alpine areas are predicted to be especially sensitive to climate change. We assessed phenological patterns in relation to temperature and precipitation for 467 species. We found average low temperature, average GDD accumulation, and average precipitation increased over the study period. As temperature and GDD accumulation increased, phenology advanced but as precipitation increased, phenology was postponed. Even with this variability of environmental responses, we still found a significant trend of earlier flowering when all species were analyzed together. Of the species that showed significantly earlier flowering dates, they advanced an average of almost 34 days over the 61 years of the study. When assessing only species monitored in a national program (USA National Phenology Network), we found that these species showed similar trends to the entire dataset, suggesting that choosing species with good historical data to use in ongoing monitoring efforts will improve our understanding of phenological drivers.

Log in to add this item to your schedule

1 - Denver Botanic Gardens, 909 York Street, Denver, CO, 80206, USA

Rocky Mountains
climate change
digitized herbarium data.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 38, Conservation Biology
Location: Sundance 1/Omni Hotel
Date: Wednesday, June 28th, 2017
Time: 2:45 PM
Number: 38006
Abstract ID:149
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright © 2000-2017, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved