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Abstract Detail

Biodiversity Informatics & Herbarium Digitization

Williams, Tanisha [1], Schlichting, Carl [1], Holsinger, Kent [1].

Predicting Plant Responses to Climate Change in a Biodiversity Hotspot.

Climate change is affecting species composition and diversity across the globe. Phenological changes could provide the most sensitive and best indicators of changes in climate, yet there are relatively few long-term phenological data available to analyze such patterns. Herbarium specimens are a valuable resource for understanding how species have responded to climate change in the historic past, and past responses are likely to be a good indicator of how they will respond in the future. Recent studies in Europe, Japan, and North America have shown changes in phenological events in response to varying climate conditions, such as warming temperatures, chilling winters, and photoperiod. Unfortunately, few such studies have been carried out in the southern hemisphere. We examined changes in peak flowering time from 1850-2005 in South Africa in the widespread, diverse genus Pelargonium. We combined records from more than 8,100 herbarium specimens with historical weather data on temperature and precipitation to examine the impact of climate change on flowering phenology. Records from more than 120 Pelargonium species throughout South Africa were analyzed. We combined data from 2,400 weather stations in South Africa with a high-resolution map of current climate to estimate historical climate conditions for each of the 4,600 geographic sites included in our sample. Our analyses examine the extent to which clades or life forms show different patterns of change in phenology. This study is the first to assess large-scale climate and phenological patterns throughout a highly diverse African genus, and it illustrates that herbarium records provide an effective method for detecting effects of climate change on flowering phenology across large geographic scales.

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1 - University of Connecticut, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 75 N. Eagleville Road, U-3043, Storrs, CT, 06269, USA

climate change
flowering times
herbarium specimens
South Africa

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 31, Biodiversity Informatics & Herbarium Digitization I
Location: Fort Worth Ballroom 6/Omni Hotel
Date: Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
Time: 2:45 PM
Number: 31004
Abstract ID:187
Candidate for Awards:None

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