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Abstract Detail


Chandler, Emma [1], Travers, Steven [2].

The timing of snowmelt and amount of winter precipitation have limited influence on flowering phenology in a tallgrass prairie.

A growing body of work indicates that the timing of flowering of temperate angiosperms is demonstrably affected by shifts in climate since the 1970's. Sensitivity in flowering phenology to changing temperatures has been particularly well-documented. Precipitation patterns are also predicted to change with increasing greenhouse gasses, yet few studies of temperate communities have demonstrated widespread phenological sensitivity to precipitation changes. The exception is relationships between snowpack and early flowering in alpine environments, whereby the timing of flowering herbs has shown strong associations with winter precipitation amounts and the timing of snowmelt. Based on the results of alpine studies, we hypothesized that populations of plants in northern latitudes, characterized by strong seasonality and winter snowfall would similarly demonstrate significant effects of the timing of snowmelt on flowering phenology. We combined a historical data set of first flowering dates in Minnesota tallgrass prairie with climatic data to construct a structural equation model, testing hypotheses on the relationships between winter precipitation and temperature variables and flowering phenology. While temperature had a strong effect on flowering phenology for most species observed, winter precipitation had a significant relationship with only three of nineteen species. The three species affected by snow were later flowering species which is inconsistent with our prediction that winter precipitation affects early flowering phenology. These results further our understanding of the climatic cues that drive flowering phenology and improve our ability to predict how climate change will impact prairie species.

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1 - North Dakota State University, Biological Sciences Department, 1340 Bolley Drive, Stevens Hall , Fargo, ND, 58102, USA
2 - Biological Sciences Dept 2715, 218 Stevens Hall, 1340 Bolley Drive, Fargo, ND, 58102, United States

flowering phenology
Structural Equation Modeling

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: ECO3, Ecology: Climate Change
Location: /
Date: Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Time: 3:15 PM(EDT)
Number: ECO3002
Abstract ID:144
Candidate for Awards:None

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