We are pleased to share a brand new video about the USA National Phenology Network, created by our friends at University of Arizona's Landmark Stories ! You may remember we released another video earlier this year about Natures Notebook with the goal of inspiring new observers to join us in tracking phenology. Our new video aims to establish new partnerships with researchers and decision-makers in fields such as ecological prediction, invasive species management, human health, and more. We'll be sure to keep you up to date about any new partnerships that develop, especially as they relate to new Nature's Notebook campaigns and other opportunities that you may want to get involved with.

Below, we have several examples of how the data that you collect are being used to learn about climate change impacts on plants, the difference between invasive and native shrub phenology, and more.

Best wishes for the New Year,
What your data are telling us
The impact of urbanization on phenology
Authors of a new study using  Nature's Notebook data found that in cold regions, urbanization leads to earlier leaf-out and flowering in plants. However, in warmer temperate and sub-tropical regions, urbanization delays leafing and flowering. The authors speculate several reasons for this difference, including a lack of winter chilling that some plants require, heat stress, or a greater influence of other aspects of urbanization besides heat. Phenology can serve as the “canary in the coal mine” for climate change impacts on our environment, so keep those  Nature’s Notebook observations coming!

Photo: Paul Beatty

What are Oregon observers finding?
Volunteers with the Local Phenology Program Oregon Season Trackers and others are tracking phenology across Oregon. In this webinar recorded on November 8th, I gave an overview of phenology, USA-NPN, and Nature's Notebook and talked about what we are learning from phenology data collected in Oregon.

Oregon Season Trackers
Photo: Jody Einerson
Phenology of invasive shrubs
Some of you may have been a part of our Shady Invaders campaign which wrapped up last year. The researcher who inspired this campaign, Erynn Maynard-Bean, recently gave a presentation at a local library that was recorded for C-NET's Research Unplugged series. In this presentation, Erynn shares why phenology is important and what she learned from the data that you collected about the difference in phenology between native and invasive shrubs in the eastern US.

What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
New campaign: Pollen Trackers
The start of allergy season is a phenological event that impacts many of us to a great degree. Our new campaign,  Pollen Trackers , seeks observations of flowering and pollen in Ashe's juniper aka mountain cedar,  Juniperus ashei . This campaign is a collaboration with researchers at University of Texas at Austin,  Drs.  Daniel Katz  and  Elizabeth Matsui .

Your observations as part of this campaign submitted over the winter season will help to predict when people are exposed to this highly allergenic pollen, laying the foundation for a regional pollen alert system. We may expand this campaign to other states in future years.

NEON data now available to explore
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. You can explore these data in our Visualization Tool and download them via the Phenology Observation Portal .

Recent happenings in the field
The links between heat, trees, and bugs
Karlee Bradley, an intern with the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), explored the link between accumulated heat, plant phenology, and gypsy moth, an invasive forest pest. Karlee also created an interactive app where you can investigate the relationship between heat accumulation and phenology for NEON sites across the country.

Cascading effects of gypsy month caterpillar increase,
Image: NEON, Battelle
The changing length of spring
Authors of a new article in Geophysical Research Letters , including USA-NPN's own Theresa Crimmins, used temperature data to look at long-term changes in the spring season. The authors analyzed 70 years of accumulated temperature thresholds connected with biological events in plants and animals. In many areas, these thresholds are occurring six to 20 days earlier than they did 70 years ago. The change is inconsistent across regions, with some areas seeing a lengthening in some regions and shortening in others. These changes have potential to disrupt species development and migration behaviors. Theresa joined Arizona's KJZZ's The Show to talk about the findings.

Figure from Crimmins and Crimmins 2019,
Geophysical Research Letters
Climate change impacts on huckleberry
Huckleberry is an important food resource in the American Northwest for both people and animals. In a recent article in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Prevéy and colleagues found by the end of the 21st century, huckleberry may expand to higher altitudes and latitudes and shift earlier by more than a month.

Nature's Notebook Nuggets
What should I record in winter?
In northern states, most plants will not need weekly observations in the middle of winter. However, if your species retains ripe fruit in the winter, you should still report on fruiting phenophases. In southern states, many species may have active flower buds or open flowers that will require normal weekly observations. Get familiar with the seasonal progression of phenophases for your species to predict what’s coming!

More ways to get involved
Threats to medicinal and aromatic plants
A new issue of HerbalGram provides an in-depth look at the threats to medicinal and aromatic plants from climate change. In one article on page 55, USA-NPN's Kathy Gerst discusses how plants can differ in their ability to adapt and what that means for where we will find them in the future.

Climate change impacting acoustics
Here is a new word for you - "biophony" - the biologically-produced sounds in an area, including birds singing, crickets chirping, and leaves rustling. In a new study in Trends in Ecology & Evolution , researchers found that variations in temperature, humidity, wind, and precipitation due to climate change are impacting the biophony. As sound is central for many species' communication, including recognizing offspring and attracting mates, these changes could have cascading impacts on ecosystems.

Sueur et al 2019,
Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Erin Posthumus