Botanical Gardens as a Global Phenological Observation Network
PhenObs was established in 2017 and is a global network of botanical gardens studying the phenology of herbaceous plant species.
We undertake coordinated, standardized phenological monitoring and measurements of plant functional traits. Because of their diverse collections of plants, botanical gardens represent ideal locations to carry out research across large numbers of species of diverse habitats.
Phenology is the timing of biological events like first flowering. Phenological studies are important because phenology is especially sensitive to climate change.
Many plant species respond to increased temperatures by adapting the timing of life history events. For example in the past 100 years spring phenology has advanced by on average 11 days. This has important implications for biodiversity, biotic interactions and ecosystem services.
What we monitor
Every week observers across the globe record leaf out, flowering, fruiting and senescence for over 100 herbaceous plant species.
We also measure plant traits, which tell us something about how plants interact with their environment like plant height. We record temperature and precipitation in all gardens. The data is compiled and analysed in the working group Plant Biodiversity of the FSU Jena.
Despite half of the plant species on Earth being herbaceous, we know very little about their phenology, as this research has mostly focused on woody species.
PhenObs aims to improve our knowledge of the phenological responses of herbaceous species to the biotic and abiotic environment which will enable us to predict herbaceous phenology from species provenance, climatic requirements, phylogeny and plant traits.
For further information on PhenObs, please visit our webpage