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Warming shortens flowering seasons of tundra plant communities

New publication Janet S. Prevéy, Christian Rixen, Nadja Rüger, Toke T. Høye et al.

2019.03.27 | Peter Schmidt Mikkelsen


Advancing phenology is one of the most visible effects of climate change on plant communities, and has been especially pronounced in temperature-limited tundra ecosystems. However, phenological responses have been shown to differ greatly between species, with some species shifting phenology more than others. We analysed a database of 42,689 tundra plant phenological observations to show that warmer temperatures are leading to a contraction of community-level flowering seasons in tundra ecosystems due to a greater advancement in the flowering times of late-flowering species than early-flowering species. Shorter flowering seasons with a changing climate have the potential to alter trophic interactions in tundra ecosystems. Interestingly, these findings differ from those of warmer ecosystems, where early-flowering species have been found to be more sensitive to temperature change, suggesting that community-level phenological responses to warming can vary greatly between biomes.  

Nature Ecology & Evolution, volume 3, pages45–52 (2019. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-018-0745-6  

Arctic Research Centre