The seasonal activity of plants and animals aren't the only things shifting. This summer was marked by a changing world characterized by the Covid-19 pandemic, Western wildfires, and many public and personal losses. Yet the phenology community carries on in collecting data and meticulously documenting the impact of our climate and environment on ecological communities. Your work is critical for demonstrating the value of phenology to science and society.

I invite you all to take a look at our data and resources and see how they might enhance your research. For inspiration, read below to learn about how invasive and native species differ in their phenology, a new R package and method for estimating phenology metrics, and a comparison of phenology metrics in the Western U.S. derived from remote sensing and near-surface observations. Finally, please reach out if you are using and publishing with USA-NPN data so we can highlight your work!
What's new at the USA National Phenology Network
Indigenous Phenology Network
Are you aware that there is an Indigenous Phenology Network (IPN)? The Indigenous Phenology Network is a grassroots organization whose participants are interested in understanding phenology on lands and species of importance to native peoples. This group is open to anyone who is interested to participate and learn.

If you are interested to learn more from the indigenous community, you are invited to join a webinar series entitled "Empowering Tribal Culture, Ecology and Food Systems" that will take place from September 30th to October 28th. The purpose of this webinar series is to support Indigenous communities’ efforts to restore their land, reduce food insecurity, and increase economic opportunity through the production of native plants.

Data and data products
Geoserver Request Builder
There are multiple ways to access the USA-NPN Geospatial data products, including the Geoserver Request Builder. This tool enables you to access and download Accumulated Growing Degree Day or Extended Spring Index raster phenology map products and images as well as climate data and Land Surface Phenology data.

If you wish to create an image of one of the products, use the “WMS” service type. If you wish to download a raster layer for analyzing within Geographic Information System (GIS) software, use the “WCS” service type.

ARSET Phenology data training
The NASA Applied Remote Sensing Training program (ARSET) has recently created a three-part Introductory webinar series entitled "Understanding Phenology with Remote Sensing". These training videos provide an introduction to phenology data, multi-scale integration, and phenology data multi-scale analysis. This is a great opportunity to learn more about data from the USA-NPN, Phenocam, satellite imagery, and more.

Research spotlight
Extended leaf phenology in invasive shrubs
Using data collected through a USA-NPN Nature's Notebook campaign, Maynard-Bean and colleagues examined differences in leaf phenology between native and invasive shrubs in a new paper published in Biological Invasions.

This study found that the leaf phenology period was up to 77 days longer for invasive species compared to native, but that this gap decreased with increasing latitude. This extended leaf phenology could result in a competitive advantage over native species. While pre-season warmth impacted species similarly, invasive and native shrubs had differing responses to dormant chill days.

R package provides phenology estimates
One of the most challenging aspects of utilizing the myriad of phenological dataset that are available is in addressing the limitations of sparse, present-only data. To address this challenge, a new R package called PHENESSE was recently described in a paper by Belitz and colleagues in Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

This package utilizes the mathematical framework for a estimator of phenology based on a Weibull distribution. Using data on flowering and butterfly arrival, the study found a higher performance in mean phenology estimates compared to those at the tails of the seasonal abundance curve.

Phenology comparison in Western U.S.
A recent study in Remote Sensing examined phenological metrics derived from 10 remote sensing datasets in the Western United States. Berman and colleagues looked at the agreement between these metrics and those derived from near-surface observations, including data from both the Phenocam Network and USA-NPN.

This research found that metrics had higher agreement in deciduous forests, shrublands, and grasslands compared to evergreen ecosystems and that phenology metrics had higher agreements than productivity metrics.

Postdoctoral position
A research team affiliated with the USA National Phenology Network seeks a post-doctoral scholar interested in advancing understanding of phenological coherence and seasonal predictability across North America through development of more accurate and diverse models of spring plant growth stages.

To apply send an email to Prof. Mark D. Schwartz with subject line: “Application for phenology modeling postdoc” that includes your CV, list of contacts for three references, and a short cover letter (1 page) highlighting your qualifications and interest in the position. Review of applications will begin October 12, 2020.

Phenology forecasting challenge
The NSF funded Ecological Forecasting Initiative (EFI) Research Coordination Network (EFI-RCN) is hosting a NEON Ecological Forecasting Challenge with the goal to create a community of practice that builds capacity for ecological forecasting by leveraging NEON data products.

The NEON Forecasting Challenges revolve around the five topic areas, one of which is phenology. Stay tuned for upcoming information on rules and instruction to participate in this challenge.

Upcoming meetings
Kathy Gerst
Research Scientist
Data Product Coordinator