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      Drivers of leaf-out phenology and their implications for species invasions: insights from Thoreau's Concord

      1 , 1 , 1
      New Phytologist
      Wiley

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          Abstract

          To elucidate climate-driven changes in leaf-out phenology and their implications for species invasions, we observed and experimentally manipulated leaf out of invasive and native woody plants in Concord, MA, USA. Using observations collected by Henry David Thoreau (1852-1860) and our own observations (2009-2013), we analyzed changes in leaf-out timing and sensitivity to temperature for 43 woody plant species. We experimentally tested winter chilling requirements of 50 species by exposing cut branches to warm indoor temperatures (22°C) during the winter and spring of 2013. Woody species are now leafing out an average of 18 d earlier than they did in the 1850s, and are advancing at a rate of 5 ± 1 d °C(-1) . Functional groups differ significantly in the duration of chilling they require to leaf out: invasive shrubs generally have weaker chilling requirements than native shrubs and leaf out faster in the laboratory and earlier in the field; native trees have the strongest chilling requirements. Our results suggest that invasive shrub species will continue to have a competitive advantage as the climate warms, because native plants are slower to respond to warming spring temperatures and, in the future, may not meet their chilling requirements. © 2013 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2013 New Phytologist Trust.

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          Plant science. Phenology under global warming.

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            Warming experiments underpredict plant phenological responses to climate change.

            Warming experiments are increasingly relied on to estimate plant responses to global climate change. For experiments to provide meaningful predictions of future responses, they should reflect the empirical record of responses to temperature variability and recent warming, including advances in the timing of flowering and leafing. We compared phenology (the timing of recurring life history events) in observational studies and warming experiments spanning four continents and 1,634 plant species using a common measure of temperature sensitivity (change in days per degree Celsius). We show that warming experiments underpredict advances in the timing of flowering and leafing by 8.5-fold and 4.0-fold, respectively, compared with long-term observations. For species that were common to both study types, the experimental results did not match the observational data in sign or magnitude. The observational data also showed that species that flower earliest in the spring have the highest temperature sensitivities, but this trend was not reflected in the experimental data. These significant mismatches seem to be unrelated to the study length or to the degree of manipulated warming in experiments. The discrepancy between experiments and observations, however, could arise from complex interactions among multiple drivers in the observational data, or it could arise from remediable artefacts in the experiments that result in lower irradiance and drier soils, thus dampening the phenological responses to manipulated warming. Our results introduce uncertainty into ecosystem models that are informed solely by experiments and suggest that responses to climate change that are predicted using such models should be re-evaluated.
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              Phylogenetic patterns of species loss in Thoreau's woods are driven by climate change.

              Climate change has led to major changes in the phenology (the timing of seasonal activities, such as flowering) of some species but not others. The extent to which flowering-time response to temperature is shared among closely related species might have important consequences for community-wide patterns of species loss under rapid climate change. Henry David Thoreau initiated a dataset of the Concord, Massachusetts, flora that spans approximately 150 years and provides information on changes in species abundance and flowering time. When these data are analyzed in a phylogenetic context, they indicate that change in abundance is strongly correlated with flowering-time response. Species that do not respond to temperature have decreased greatly in abundance, and include among others anemones and buttercups [Ranunculaceae pro parte (p.p.)], asters and campanulas (Asterales), bluets (Rubiaceae p.p.), bladderworts (Lentibulariaceae), dogwoods (Cornaceae), lilies (Liliales), mints (Lamiaceae p.p.), orchids (Orchidaceae), roses (Rosaceae p.p.), saxifrages (Saxifragales), and violets (Malpighiales). Because flowering-time response traits are shared among closely related species, our findings suggest that climate change has affected and will likely continue to shape the phylogenetically biased pattern of species loss in Thoreau's woods.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New Phytologist
                New Phytol
                Wiley
                0028646X
                April 2014
                April 2014
                December 24 2013
                : 202
                : 1
                : 106-115
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Biology; Boston University; Boston MA 02215 USA
                Article
                10.1111/nph.12647
                24372373
                6e77e3f2-e215-4e79-93f8-ebca2e8453b9
                © 2013

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

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