Researcher David Inouye has been observing flowers in the Rocky Mountains for 39 years. His recent published findings show changes in bloom patterns that provide clues to a shifting global climate. Of the species examined, two thirds have adjusted the timing of their blooms, with over a third of the species reaching peak bloom earlier than in previous years. Some species are blooming earlier, while others are continuing to bloom later. These changes have extended the flowering season by over a month.
Will the bloom pattern continue to change in future years? How will these changes affect birds and insects that help pollinate flowering plants or depend on them for food? Signs of the Seasons volunteers help scientists to answer similar phenology questions in New England by recording their observations. To join this dedicated group, visit How to Get Involved and learn more about collecting data in your own community. Further information on Dr. Inouye’s research is available at ScienceDaily1.
1University of Maryland. “Rocky mountain wildflower season lengthens by more than a month.” ScienceDaily. 17 March 2014. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140317155611.htm.