Climate change and earlier flowering linked by UC biologist

University of Cincinnati November 16, 2010, press release:

According to research published today by a University of Cincinnati faculty member, native plants in southwestern Ohio are flowering significantly earlier, a finding he attributes, at least in part, to global warming.

UC biologist Denis Conover, field service associate professor, has spent countless hours walking the Shaker Trace Wetlands at Miami Whitewater Forest over the last 18 years to survey hundreds of different plant species.

Conover’s results, published in the December issue of Ecological Restoration, reveal that for species that were observed flowering during two distinct multi-year surveys, a significant number of wild plants (39%) bloomed earlier from 2005 to 2008 than when he recorded the same species’ blooming times from 1992 to 1996. Forty-five percent of the plants bloomed at the same time, and 16% bloomed later.

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Dry, mesic, or wet meadows — which ecosytem would change the most with dryer climate?

https://i0.wp.com/cervisa.com/gallery/BabyElk.jpg

Juvenile elk near Yellowstone Norris Basin. Photo © John Coate.

Diane Debinski, a researcher from Iowa State University, has been monitoring meadows in the Greater Yellowstone System since the 1990s. Her findings, presented in the journal Ecology, lead her to conclude:

If wet meadows get a little drier, they’re still wet. If dry meadows get a little drier, they are still dry. But the meadows with a medium amount of wetness are the ones that may be changing most.

The flowering plants don’t grow as well and therefore don’t provide as much food to the animals. These types of changes in the plants could affect populations of elk, bison, as well as many other smaller animals, including insects.

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Grist and The Union of Concerned Scientists share the data: Evidence of climate change springs ahead with blooming wildflowers

From June 23, 2010, article from Grist:

Spring certainly seems to arrive earlier these days than it used to. But is it a sure sign of global warming or just natural variability? After decades of careful research on wildflowers, University of Maryland ecologist David Inouye has some definitive — and disturbing — answers. This summer Inouye returns to the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory for the 40th consecutive year to study changes in wildflower populations some 9,500 feet high in the Rocky Mountains near Crested Butte, Colo. His work offers some of the most detailed understanding yet about climate change and its effects on alpine plant and animal species.

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