Revealing and translating phenological patterns and predictions at the national scale
The USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN; www.usanpn.org) is a national-scale science and monitoring initiative focused on phenology – the study of seasonal life-cycle events such as leafing, flowering, reproduction, and migration – as a tool to understand the response of biodiversity to environmental variation and change. USA-NPN provides a hierarchical, national monitoring framework that enables other organizations to leverage the capacity of the Network for their own applications - minimizing investment and duplication of effort - while promoting interoperability. Network participants can leverage: (1) Standardized monitoring protocols that have been broadly vetted, tested and published; (2) A centralized National Phenology Database (NPDb) for maintaining, archiving and replicating data, with standard metadata, terms-of-use, web services, and documentation of QA/QC, plus tools for discovery, visualization and download of raw data and derived data products; and (3) A national in-situ, multi-taxa phenological monitoring system, Nature’s Notebook, which enables participants to observe and record phenology of plants and animals - based on the protocols and information management system (IMS) described above - via either web or mobile applications.
In addition to fostering collaboration and national-scale data use by scientists, the USA-NPN has also worked to integrate and translate phenology information for policy-makers and the public. We will explore the development of phenology indicators in the National Climate Assessment, as an example of how phenological information can be integrated, interpreted and translated as an indicator of the impacts of climate change.