Dunnell, Kelsey , Travers, Steven .
Early flowering of plants in the Northern Great Plains linked to increasing spring temperatures over 100 years.
Climate change is associated with phenological shifts in an increasing number of taxa worldwide. Plants growing in alpine regions and northern latitudes that traditionally have short growing seasons are shifting to earlier phenophase initiation disrupting evolved species relationships. We compared the first flowering times of over 100 species of plants in the Northern Red River Valley region of North Dakota and Minnesota in spring 2007, 2008, and 2009 to first flowering times of the same species nearly a hundred years earlier based on archived data. We wanted first to determine if plant flowering times had shifted earlier over the century, to better understand potential ecological consequences of climate change. By merging climate variable data from the same time period it was also possible to correlate first flowering dates with climate variables for that specific year.
We found that first flowering times had shifted earlier than was previously recorded. Analyses of correlations among climate variables and phenological shifts yielded insight into mechanisms initiating flowering in this plant community. We conclude that the lengthening growing season in the Northern Red River Valley as a result of climate change has resulted in significant shifts in the timing of plant life cycles with potentially important ecological consequences.
Log in to add this item to your schedule
Northern Plains Phenological Observations
1 - North Dakota State University, Biological Sciences, NDSU Dept. 2715, 218 Stevens Hall, P.O. Box 6050, Fargo, ND, 58108-6050, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for BSA Sections
Location: Wasatch B/Cliff Lodge - Level C
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2009
Time: 2:00 PM