Citizen Science: linking the recent rapid advances of plant flowering in Canada with climate variability
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The timing of crucial events in plant life cycles is shifting in response to climate change. We use phenology records from PlantWatch Canada 'Citizen Science' networks to study recent rapid shifts of flowering phenology and its relationship with climate. The average first flower bloom day of 19 Canadian plant species has advanced by about 9 days during 2001-2012. 73% of the rapid and unprecedented first bloom day advances are explained by changes in mean annual national temperature, allowing the reconstruction of historic flower phenology records starting from 1948. The overall trends show that plant flowering in Canada is advancing by about 9 days per °C. This analysis reveals the strongest biological signal yet of climate warming in Canada. This finding has broad implications for niche differentiation among coexisting species, competitive interactions between species, and the asynchrony between plants and the organisms they interact with.
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