I'm excited to share with you that we have recently imported the NEON plant phenology observational data into the National Phenology Database. This has been a long time coming, as we have been collaborating closely with our colleagues at NEON for many years to bring this to fruition. This integrated dataset provides an even more valuable resource for continental scale studies of phenology, bringing together the spatial extensibility of citizen science data with the frequent monitoring and coordinated design of a national observatory.

As we close out 2019, I am blown away by the variation and depth of research and applications that the USA-NPN phenology data is being used for. Since our program began over a decade ago, more than 70 studies have used USA-NPN data to improve understanding of ecological systems. Below I highlight three such recent studies that show the importance of phenology for fire management , predict climate impacts on huckleberry , and demonstrate the effects of urbanization on our natural world.

Thank you for staying connected and for using USA-NPN data and products! I am looking forward to seeing what 2020 will bring from this community.
What's new at the USA National Phenology Network
2.5 million NEON records added to National Phenology Database
The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) uses USA-NPN observational protocols to track plant phenology. In October we ingested over 2.5 million phenology data records collected on more than 5,000 individual plants observed at 78 NEON sites into the USA-NPN's Database.

Advanced Phenology Information System
In October 2019, team members from the NASA funded Advanced Phenology Information System project met in Tucson to discuss outcomes and synthesis. The goal of this project is to develop tools to more readily integrate and analyze phenology data across scales and platforms. This effort has resulted in multiple tools, such as the rNPN library and the Phenosynth application. Stay tuned for more!
Data and data products
Intersect in-situ and gridded data
New features available in the rNPN package allow data analysts to more easily intersect USA-NPN and NEON observational data with USA-NPN gridded data, including the Spring Indices and Accumulated Growing Degree Days , and with phenometrics derived from MODIS 6 remote sensing data . We anticipate this capacity will allow researchers to readily use in-situ data for validation of land surface phenology data and to improve understanding of continental scale patterns and drivers of phenology.

Pollen phenology data
Did you know that USA-NPN's Nature's Notebook observers track the phenology of allergenic plant species? Our new campaign, Pollen Trackers , is a collaboration with researchers at the University of Texas at Austin to collect data on pollen timing in  Juniperus ashei  in Central Texas.

If you are interested in studying the patterns, trends and drivers of pollen phenology, we have created a dataset package just for you! This package includes a summary document and four derived datasets of flowering and pollen release data of relevant taxa.

Upcoming meetings
  • American Geophysical Union. San Francisco, CA, December 9-13, 2019. Be sure to check out the Phenology session B32E and catch the following presentations by USA-NPN staff on Tuesday (poster),Wednesday (oral), and Friday (oral)! I also encourage you to check out sessions U32A and PA44B, organized by our partners from indigenous communities.

Feedback request from the USA-NPN
Do you work with remote sensing data? If so check out the recent Land Surface Phenology products available on the USA-NPN website and let us know what you think! Please reach out  if you would like to see summary maps for additional metrics or if annual anomaly maps would be of interest.

If you are attending AGU next week, you can also provide in person feedback to our Associate Director, Theresa Crimmins, and our IT director, Lee Marsh!

Research spotlight
Flowering phenology and flammability
In an upcoming issue of Ecological Indicator s , Emery and colleagues used USA-NPN flowering data on the widespread California shrub species Adenostoma fasciculatum to investigate the relationship between live fuel moisture and plant phenology.

This study found a strong correlation between these metrics, demonstrating how using plant phenology patterns can be applied to inform fire management decisions at large spatial scales.

Climate change impacts on huckleberry
Huckleberry is an important food resource in the Pacific Northwest of North America. Prevé y and colleagues have recently constructed models to investigate how both the range and the phenology of this species is expected to shift with climate change in an upcoming issue of Agricultural and Forest Meteorology .

The habitat of this species is expected to shrink, with flowering and fruiting predicted to advance substantially over future decades.

Urbanization effects on phenology
Li and colleagues recently used data from the Plant Phenology Portal , which spans both North America and Europe, to investigate how the impacts of urbanization varies across climate gradients.

In the study, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution , population density was used as a metric of urbanization. The authors found that both increasing population size and warmer regional temperatures advanced leaf and flower phenology. However, when human density and regional temperature were examined together, warmer urban areas actually had delayed phenology.

Kathy Gerst
Associate Research Scientist
Data Product Coordinator