Phenology is the timing of seasonal biological events such as budburst, flowering, bird migration and leaf coloring. It has provided the most compelling evidence that plants and animals are responding to changes in climate across the globe. Minnesota temperatures have risen by ~2 degrees F over the last 50 years and are projected to rise by ~7-9 degrees F by the end of the century. There is a critical need to understand how our natural resources are responding to climate change. Phenology provides an excellent indicator of climate change and can be collected locally.
But, how is phenology changing our plants, birds, insect pests, pollinators, or fish across the State. This lack of knowledge hinders our ability to predict species and interactions that might be vulnerable to climate change. Historical observations of phenology made in Minnesota over the past 100 years coupled with new data from trained observers across the state is helping to identify species and species interactions that may be vulnerable to climate change.
Phenology provides a means to open a dialogue about climate change using phenomena people can observe in their own backyards. This personal connection to place can be more powerful than stories of melting ice caps or disappearing islands. Four historical data sets of the last 50 years will be shared along with opportunities for a network of citizen observers to provide input for local monitoring of phenology sites across the State. The National and State Phenology data and protocols will also be shared.
Carlson, Stephan; Montgomery, Rebecca; Buyarski, Chris.
Looking for a few good citizen scientists: Phenology brings climate change to your own backyard!.
University of Minnesota Extension.
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