People have tracked phenology for centuries and for the most practical reasons: it helped them know when to hunt and fish, when to plant and harvest crops, and when to navigate waterways. Now phenology is being used as a tool to assess climate change and its effects on both natural and modified ecosystems.
How is the timing of events in plant and animal life cycles, like flowering or migration, responding to climate change? And how are those responses, in turn, affecting people and ecosystems?
The USA National Phenology Network (the Network) is working to answer these questions for science and society by promoting a broad understanding of plant and animal phenology and their relationship to environmental change. The Network is a consortium of organizations and individuals that collect, share, and use phenology data, models, and related information to enable scientists, resource managers, and the public to adapt in response to changing climates and environments. In addition, the Network encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to observe and record phenology as a way to discover and explore the nature and pace of our dynamic world.
The National Coordinating Office (NCO) of the Network is a resource center that facilitates and encourages widespread collection, integration, and sharing of phenology data and related information (for example, meteorological and hydrological data). The NCO develops and promotes standardized methods for field data collection and maintains several online user interfaces for data upload and download, as well as data exploration, visualization, and analysis. The NCO also facilitates basic and applied research related to phenology, the development of decision-support tools for resource managers and planners, and the design of educational and outreach materials