Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Springtime blooms seen earlier now than in the past

27.07.2004


Taking something of a back-to-the-future approach, biologists from Boston University have looked into the past to find that flowering plants growing today blossom more than a week earlier than a century ago. Their findings, being presented at the Society for Conservation Biology’s annual meeting in New York City July 30 – August 2, show that among the plants studied in Boston’s Arnold Arboretum, flowering times have moved forward over the decades, with the plants flowering eight days earlier on average from 1980 to 2002 than they did from 1900 to 1920.



What has influenced this rush to flower? Primarily temperature, says Richard Primack, a BU biology professor and head of the research team. Since 1885, Boston’s mean annual temperature has increased 1.5 degrees Celsius or nearly 3 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Primack’s team, this increase in mean temperature, especially in the months February through May, has influenced the shift in flowering times.

In addition to its scientific insights, the study may provide a model for public participation in climate change research. The relatively low-tech, data-from-the-community protocol used by the team might open such studies to participation by botanical gardens, zoos, museums, or even individuals who, over the years, have carefully collected and tended records on how biological organisms respond to their environment.


"It’s an untapped resource that could have widespread applications," says Abraham Miller-Rushing, a graduate student on the BU research team. "There’s always a pressure to find out what’s happened in the past so as to better understand what’s happening today. This is a new and different way to find out what’s happened."

Assisted by BU undergraduates Carolyn Imbres and Daniel Primack and by Peter Del Tredici, a senior research scientist at the Arboretum, the researchers combed herbarium records dating back to 1885 to determine when plants had flowered in the past. They focused on records for 229 plants, all of which are still alive and blooming in the Arboretum.

By comparing current flowering dates of the woody plants selected with their past flowering dates recorded in the Arboretum’s herbarium, the researchers found a significant trend toward earlier flowering. On average, they found the plants flowered eight days earlier during the period 1980 to 2002 than they did 100 years ago.

The data also showed the plants’ flowering times were quite sensitive to relatively small shifts in temperature, advancing 3.9 days per 1 C of temperature change. The team’s analyses showed the plants were most responsive to temperature changes in the months before and during flowering -- February through May. In general, throughout the past century, the warming temperatures were found to have caused the Arboretum’s plants to flower about five days earlier.

Changes to Boston’s temperature, however, did not explain completely the trend toward earlier flowering over time. According to the team, the results suggest that more localized effects, such as the size and age of the plants and conditions in and around the Arboretum, including warming caused by roads and buildings, probably contributed another three days to the observed earlier flowering times over the years.

The researchers conclude that it is viable to use existing collections from herbaria, museums, or other such institutions around the world to measure regional effects of climate change on phenological events. Analyses of such data could allow scientists to clarify the extent and character of the variation in natural responses local species have to climate change. Such analyses also could help improve predictions of the effects that future climate change might have on biological communities.

Ann Marie Menting | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>