I’d like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the staff of the USA-NPN, to express our support for the Black Lives Matter movement and for the peaceful protests occurring throughout our country. Alongside you, we feel the collective heartbreak and call to action to end the systemic oppression and inequality experienced by the black community. We are moved to deepen and strengthen our efforts to ensure that the benefits of our program are accessible to all. We strive to do better and look forward to talking with you over the coming weeks and months (and beyond) about diversity and equity as it relates to our network.
Like many of you, we have been working from our homes these past few months, adapting and improvising as the Covid 19 crisis spread throughout the globe. Despite this challenge I am amazed by the progress and energy in the phenology community. Continue below to learn about how observers are establishing more new sites than ever before, how you can participate in opportunities to provide feedback to the phenology community (like a phenology mini-workshop and a chance to provide input to EGU phenology), and read about the impressive scientific advances that continue to emerge, shedding light on the role of phenology in improving invasive species management and understanding critical food resources.
Kathy and the USA-NPN team
What's new at the USA National Phenology Network
Phenology data collection in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic
Despite these challenging times we continue to see an interest and commitment to collecting phenology data, sometimes in unexpected ways. While many people are unable to participate in making observations at long-term observation sites located in National and State parks, Botanical gardens, and Arboreta, we are seeing anincrease in the establishment of new sites in accessible lands and in backyards, and an increase in observer activity.
Our education director, LoriAnne Barnett, has shared some tips for phenology program leaders who need to move programs online and continue to engage volunteers. We are so proud of our intrepid Nature's Notebook participants who continue to show up and collect these valuable observations!
How typical was spring this year?
Now that the onset of spring has unfolded across much of the United States, we have a better sense of where the timing has been relatively unusual or typical compared to recent decades.
On the map on the right, you can see how the Spring Leaf Return Interval map shows that in parts of the Southeast and Northwest, this year's spring is the earliest in the 39-year record (dark green). Conversely, in parts of Nevada, Wyoming, and Montana, this year's spring is the latest on record.
Our team is working to better organize our USA-NPN website content, and we need your help! We are looking for volunteers to take 5-10 minutes to complete an online activity to group like-tasks together into categories that will form the basis for our website navigation. You'll be given instructions when you begin. Thanks in advance for helping make our website more intuitive!
We keep our eyes and ears peeled for any publications that use USA-NPN data and resources, but sometimes we miss something! I'm reaching out to remind you how much we appreciate hearing about the work you are doing with USA-NPN observational data, protocols, and maps. To date over 80 publications have used our data since the beginning of our program.
Drop us a line, tell us about your work, and don't forget to share the publication when it comes out so we can add it to our bibliography! Thank you for being a part of our community and demonstrating the value of the network.
What new software tools would you like to see for plant phenological data and research? Are there data resources you wish you could access or use but are not sure how (or that don’t even exist yet)? What frontiers in phenological research could new data and software support?
Join a virtual, 90-minute, mini-workshop to discuss these and other issues on Wednesday, June 17, from 3:00-4:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time. If you cannot attend the virtual workshop you can fill out a brief survey to share your needs with the organizers.
Three important food-producing shrubs in North America include beaked hazelnut (Corylus cornuta), Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium), and salal (Gaultheria shallon). A recent publication in PLOS One examined potential shifts in both the phenology and the distribution of these species.
Prevéy and colleagues looked at the climate variables most important for habitat suitability and the timing of flower production and fruit ripening. They found that suitable habitat is projected to decrease substantially for all three species and that phenology may advance up to 36 days on average by the end of the century, impacting ecological communities that depend on these fruits.
At Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, managers are tackling a highly invasive plant, Verbesina encelioides. Taylor and colleagues recently published a paper in Ecological Solutions and Evidence demonstrating how data collected using Nature's Notebook on the reproductive phenology of this species was useful in managing this protected area.
This study found that it took on average 76 days for plants to go from leaf production to seed drop. This information is now being used to adjust invasive plant control schedules, improving restoration efforts.
In a recent review article published in Applications in Plant Sciences, McDonough Mackenzie and coauthors summarized the immense value of community science collected phenology data as well as low-cost experiments. These sources of data have resulted in novel opportunities to understanding phenological patterns and responses to climate change. The authors also address the limitations and considerations of these data.
A postdoctoral position is available to develop phenological models in support of ongoing efforts to create a continental-scale forecast of mosquito activity. This position is supported through funding from a US Geological Service Powell Center grant.
This project includes (1) developing predictive models of seasonality of mosquito species representative of specific life-history strategies and (2) implementing these models to generate real-time and short-term forecasts of mosquito activity as well as predictions of future changes in seasonal patterns of mosquito activity.
Participants in a phenology session at the recent EGU meeting presented a surveythey compiled to better understand the diversity of our community as well as to collect our main achievements and identify challenges that should be addressed in the next few years.