Predicting phenology by integrating ecology, evolution and climate science

Global Change Biology
By: , and 



Forecasting how species and ecosystems will respond to climate change has been a major aim of ecology in recent years. Much of this research has focused on phenology – the timing of life‐history events. Phenology has well‐demonstrated links to climate, from genetic to landscape scales; yet our ability to explain and predict variation in phenology across species, habitats and time remains poor. Here, we outline how merging approaches from ecology, climate science and evolutionary biology can advance research on phenological responses to climate variability. Using insight into seasonal and interannual climate variability combined with niche theory and community phylogenetics, we develop a predictive approach for species’ reponses to changing climate. Our approach predicts that species occupying higher latitudes or the early growing season should be most sensitive to climate and have the most phylogenetically conserved phenologies. We further predict that temperate species will respond to climate change by shifting in time, while tropical species will respond by shifting space, or by evolving. Although we focus here on plant phenology, our approach is broadly applicable to ecological research of plant responses to climate variability.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Predicting phenology by integrating ecology, evolution and climate science
Series title Global Change Biology
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02515.x
Volume 17
Issue 12
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Publisher location Hoboken, NJ
Contributing office(s) Branch of Regional Research-Western Region
Description 11 p.
First page 3633
Last page 3643
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details