Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1111/1365-2435.13747
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) The PhenObs initiative – A standardised protocol for monitoring phenological responses to climate change using herbaceous plant species in botanical gardens
Author Nordt, B.; Hensen, I.; Bucher, S.F.; Freiberg, M.; Primack, R.B.; Stevens, A.-D.; Bonn, A. ORCID logo ; Wirth, C.; Jakubka, D.; Plos, C.; Sporbert, M.; Römermann, C.
Source Titel Functional Ecology
Year 2021
Department iDiv; ESS
Volume 35
Issue 4
Page From 821
Page To 834
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Data and Software links
Keywords First flowering day; flowering phenology; fruiting phenology; functional traits; growing season length; leaf out; senescence; vegetative phenology
  1. Changes in phenology induced by climate change occur across the globe with important implications for ecosystem functioning and services, species performance and trophic interactions. Much of the work on phenology, especially leaf out and flowering, has been conducted on woody plant species. Less is known about the responses in phenology of herbaceous species induced by global change even though they represent a large and important part of biodiversity worldwide. A globally co‐ordinated research effort is needed in order to understand the drivers and implications of such changes and to predict effects of global change on plant species phenology and related ecosystem processes.
  2. Here, we present the rationale of the PhenObs initiative ‐ botanical gardens as a global phenological observation network. The initiative aims to collect data on plant phenology in botanical gardens which will be used alongside information on plant traits and site conditions to answer questions related to the consequences of global change:

    A.What is the variation in plant phenology in herbaceous species across the growing season and in response to changes in climate?

    B.How can plant phenology be predicted from species’ trait composition, provenance, position and extent of the distribution range and species’ phylogeny?

    C.What are the implications of this variation with respect to species performance and assembly, biotic interactions (e.g. plant‐pollinator interactions) as well as ecosystem processes and services under changing land‐use and climate?

  3. Here, we lay out the development of a straightforward protocol that is appropriate for monitoring phenology across a vast diversity of growth forms of herbaceous species from various habitats and geographic regions.
  4. In order to focus on a key number of stages necessary to capture all aspects of plant species phenology, we analysed associations between 14 phenological stages. These data were derived from a two‐year study on 199 species in four German botanical gardens.
  5. Based on the relationships of the phenological stages, we propose to monitor three vegetative stages (“initial growth”, “leaves unfolding” and “senescence”) and two reproductive stages (“flowers open” and “ripe fruits”) to fully capture herbaceous species phenology.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Nordt, B., Hensen, I., Bucher, S.F., Freiberg, M., Primack, R.B., Stevens, A.-D., Bonn, A., Wirth, C., Jakubka, D., Plos, C., Sporbert, M., Römermann, C. (2021):
The PhenObs initiative – A standardised protocol for monitoring phenological responses to climate change using herbaceous plant species in botanical gardens
Funct. Ecol. 35 (4), 821 - 834 10.1111/1365-2435.13747