Research Topic

Experimental Manipulations to Predict Future Plant Phenology

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About this Research Topic

Plant phenology is one of the most reliable bio-indicators of ongoing global warming. Shifting phenological events due to climate change, such as earlier leaf-out and flowering and delayed leaf coloring, have been reported over the past few decades, and substantially affect plant fitness and distribution, ...

Plant phenology is one of the most reliable bio-indicators of ongoing global warming. Shifting phenological events due to climate change, such as earlier leaf-out and flowering and delayed leaf coloring, have been reported over the past few decades, and substantially affect plant fitness and distribution, plant-animal interactions, as well as regional and hemispheric-scale carbon, water and energy balance. Experimental studies have been used for phenological research to improve our understanding of its underlying physiological processes.

There have been many studies on the response of phenology to experimental warming, however, there are limitations to many of these past phenological experiments. There is a need for more information on how phenology responds to multiple interacting climate variables, besides warmer air temperature. For example, soil properties, soil temperature, snow depth, precipitation, and light intensity and length have not yet been well manipulated in experimental studies. In addition, most current phenological studies focus on deciduous trees and grasslands, and on leaf and flowering phenological events - such as bud break, leaf-out and senescence on deciduous broadleaf trees, and first and full flowering on grasslands - whereas studies that focus on other phenological events such as onset and end of wood growth, winter dormancy release, underground root phenology, and studies that focus on arctic and alpine plants, and tropical and subtropical trees are very limited. In addition, the internal correlations among phenological events have received less attention, but are crucial to a comprehensive understanding of the response of ecosystems to the ongoing climate change.

This Research Topic aims to showcase innovative research in plant phenology to address outstanding research questions and challenges in the phenological response to the ongoing climate change, specifically focusing on experimental studies. Therefore, Reviews, Perspectives, and Original Research contributions emphasizing plant phenological responses to climate change are welcome. Studies focusing on phenological changes in response to multiple abiotic drivers, or under extreme climate change, are particularly encouraged.

The contributions may address one of the following aspects:
- Mechanistic understanding of plant phenological responses to climate warming, especially extreme climate.
- Identification of the drivers of phenological events, especially interactive effects among abiotic cues, including temperature, moisture, photoperiod, precipitation, etc.
- Phenological responses of arctic and alpine plants, boreal, tropical or sub-tropical trees to climate change.
- Cryptic phenological responses to the climate change manipulations, such as wood and root phenology. and dormancy onset and release.
- Correlations between phenological events, such as above- and below-ground phenological events, as well as internal correlations between leaf phenological events.
- Impact of phenology on biotic interactions (trade-offs between leaf-out timing and frost risk, or competition for resources such as nutrients, water, and light).
- Modeling phenology changes under future climate change conditions.


Keywords: Plant phenology, Climate change, Mechanistic understanding, Ecological modeling


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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