UC biologist Denis Conover, field service associate professor, has spent countless hours walking the Shaker Trace Wetlands at Miami Whitewater Forest over the last 18 years to survey hundreds of different plant species.
Conover’s results, published in the December issue of Ecological Restoration, reveal that for species that were observed flowering during two distinct multi-year surveys, a significant number of wild plants (39 percent) bloomed earlier from 2005 to 2008 than when he recorded the same species’ blooming times from 1992 to 1996. Forty-five percent of the plants bloomed at the same time, and 16 percent bloomed later.
“I was doing a plant survey to see how the wetlands had changed over the years, and I noticed a lot of the plants were blooming earlier than they had in the previous survey,” said Conover.
The biologist pointed out that the mean annual temperature during the survey periods increased nearly 2 degrees from 53.38 degrees (11.88 C) to 55.27 degrees (12.93 C) in roughly a decade’s time.
“This is a big change for such a short time period,” said Conover. “There is a lot of data coming from all over the world indicating that biological communities are being impacted by warmer temperatures.”
To determine the impact of these changes, Conover said scientists would need to look closely at the complete ecological picture, including the impact on insects and birds that interact with the plants.
“If the right insects aren’t out at the right time, it could affect some of the cross-pollination that goes on,” he said. Or it could affect certain birds that depend on the seeds from those plants. Everything is interrelated. It is hard to say what impact it will have. We could also see things like more invasive species moving in because of the warmer conditions.”
Conover worked closely with UC’s Steve Pelikan, a math professor, who crunched all the data from the surveys. Pelikan said he found both the number of earlier-flowering plants and the temperature change from one survey to the next to be statistically significant.
Conover’s wild-plant research follows a similar pattern of findings from a recent 30-year garden-plant study in southwestern Ohio (McEwan, et al.). Pelikan points out that Conover’s published research is significant because it is one of the first to highlight the earlier flowering phenomena among plants in a natural habitat as opposed to a more-controlled garden setting.
“His is one of the first papers to reach this conclusion when working with native plants in a native setting,” said Pelikan.
Further substantiating the work, Conover has found that his observations also aren’t unique to the Shaker Trace Wetlands. He’s finding similar results as he compares data he collected from a plant survey in 2000 at Oxbow — a wetland at the confluence of the Great Miami and Ohio Rivers that spans southeastern Indiana and southwestern Ohio — to data from today.
He’s also noticed the presence of new invasive species in the Oxbow area such as Callery pear, Japanese stiltgrass and Japanese chaff flower.
Conover is no stranger to biological restoration. He’s been performing plant surveys, invasive plant control research, and other ecological restoration work as a “hobby” for 25 years. In his day job, Conover teaches several different freshman biology courses to hundreds of UC students in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences each year. He started teaching at UC’s old University College in 1990.
Conover earned his bachelor's and master’s degrees in biology at the University of Dayton and his doctorate in biological sciences at UC, specializing in ecological plant physiology.
He submitted additional wetland research this year and expects publication in 2011 with regard to his study of turtles and beavers in wetland environments. His other recent published work includes:Restoring biodiversity by lowering deer numbers at Shawnee Lookout
John Bach | EurekAlert!
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences