Monday, August 2, 2010

OPS 1-3: Implementing phenology monitoring on the ground: Expanding participation and improving the quality of citizen science phenology data

Ellen G. Denny, Northeast Regional Phenology Network, Theresa M. Crimmins, USA National Phenology Network, Abraham J. Miller-Rushing, The Wildlife Society and USA National Phenology Network, and Alyssa Rosemartin, USA National Phenological Network.

Background/Question/Methods   Phenology, defined as the study of seasonally recurring biological events, is increasingly recognized as a vital aspect of understanding how ecosystems will respond to climatic change. However, variation among species in the nature of phenological responses to climate change makes it difficult to predict the impacts that phenological shifts will have on key ecosystem functions and interspecific relationships. A coordinated effort to document and interpret these different responses is critical to understanding, adapting to, and managing for potentially dramatic impacts in ecosystems. To address this need, the National Coordinating Office (NCO) of the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) has developed standardized monitoring protocols for ground-based phenology observations of plant and animals, and is encouraging their use by scientists, land managers and citizen scientists across the nation.

Results/Conclusions   The NCO is now working to increase the participation of volunteer phenology observers, and to improve the quality of their monitoring data, by working with regional and local stakeholder groups to develop on-the-ground monitoring programs and observer training tools. This poster will present some strategies and highlight some recent efforts to that end.