USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

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Acer rubrum phenological event dates in Greenville, South Carolina

While the exact cause of global climate change is unclear, the weight of global warming can be felt to a greater extent in large cities compared to rural areas. Wanting to further illuminate why this may be, many scientists have begun to investigate climate shift by observing the phenological events of a variety of trees and plants due to their responsiveness to signals from the environment. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of urbanization on phenophase occurrence dates in Acer rubrum (more commonly named red maples). In order to test the significance of urbanization, we compared the phenological event dates of A. rubrum from the urban site of downtown Greenville to the suburban site of Furman University. Data for this research was collected once a week for three weeks between the dates of 3/13/13 and 3/27/13. The phenophases observed and recorded during this study were budding, emerging flowers, flowering, and full flowers. This investigation found no difference between the phenophase occurrence dates of A. rubrum at the two sites; therefore urbanization had no effect in our analysis. While this study may have been unsuccessful due to a combination of reasons including confounding variables, the perspectives of researchers, and lack of resources, other research similar to this one have shown differences in phenophase of the same species in the two different environments. Although all of the causes of urbanization have not been discovered, it is important that further research is done to observe the effects of urbanization because it may help illuminate human causation in global climate change.
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Flowering Plants
Vegetative development
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