Using Herbarium Specimens to Measure the Influence of Climate Change on Phenological Responses of Minnesota Flora
Anthropogenic climate change is affecting biological systems around the world. Phenological responses, such as flowering times and bird migrations, are notably the most detectable responses to climate change. Plants across England and North America have shown to be flowering between a week to a month earlier than they did in the early 20th century. Such phenological responses could expose plants to frost, pollinator mismatch, and shifting competition dynamics. This may lead to changes in distribution of flora including economically important species such as white pine, aspen, sugar maple, and balsam fir. We sought to understand the shifts in reproductive timing of native Minnesota flora in reference to a warming climate. Long term records of flowering times are rare but the University of Minnesota herbarium has a 120-year old collection of native flora. We analyzed 10,875 specimens representing 123 woody plant species.
This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).
Using Herbarium Specimens to Measure the Influence of Climate Change on Phenological Responses of Minnesota Flora.
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