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Nature's exquisite timing: Using Nature's Notebook to track seasonal and long-term environmental change
Some call it "nature's calendar" --phenology. On November 18, LoriAnne Barnett from the USA National Phenology Network (www.usanpn.org) presented to FODM and friends on phenology, nature's timing. "The study of recurring life cycle events in plants and animals is called phenology," says theNetwork. Some examples:
■ Warblers migrate through an area or raise their young when caterpillars emerge and become a major food source.
■ Migrating red knots time their stopover in Delaware Bay to fatten up for the next leg of their journey when horseshoe crabs come to the shore and lay eggs.
■ Plants pollinated by insects flower when the pollinators are available in the ecosystem.
The Phenology Network encourages people to observe and record events like leaf out, flowering, migrations and egg laying to help researchers better understand how species and ecosystems are responding to global environmental change. Understanding phenology also helps land managers make better decisions.