Plants' annual growing season has lengthened, exposing them to frost more often at a time when they are particularly sensitive. That can be detrimental to their activity and lead to substantial crop yield losses.
CREAF and the companies Altran and Starlab have led the design of RitmeNatura.cat, a citizen observatory that encourages members of the public to ‘adopt’ a plant, record the changes it undergoes and provide data that can be used to study the effects of climate change.
Climate experts, botanists, geographers and ecologists from CREAF and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) will train citizens to monitor seasonal changes which can be observed in nature. This way citizens will be able to help the scientists study the effects of climate change on animals and plants. Flower emergence, the dropping of leaves, or the arrival of certain birds will be some of the changes to be studied. Once trained, citizens will be able to contribute to European and Spanish phenology observation networks.
A study led by a CREAF-CSIC researcher has outlined a new methodology for describing changes in the life cycle of plants caused by planetary warmingwith higher precision. Daytime, rather than nocturnal temperatures determine phenological changes. The increase in temperatures, leading to an earlier spring, alters the global functioning of ecosystems.