Background and Aims: Warmer temperatures and altered precipitation patterns are expected to continue to occur as the climate changes. How these changes will impact the flowering phenology of herbaceous perennials in northern forests is poorly understood but could have consequences for forest functioning and species interactions. Here, we examine the flowering phenology responses of five herbaceous perennials to experimental warming and reduced summer rainfall over 3 years. Methods: This study is part of the B4WarmED experiment located at two sites in northern Minnesota, USA. Three levels of warming (ambient, +1.6 °C and +3.1 °C) were crossed with two rainfall manipulations (ambient and 27 % reduced growing season rainfall). Key Results: We observed species-specific responses to the experimental treatments. Warming alone advanced flowering for four species. Most notably, the two autumn blooming species showed the strongest advance of flowering to warming. Reduced rainfall alone advanced flowering for one autumn blooming species and delayed flowering for the other, with no significant impact on the three early blooming species. Only one species, Solidago spp., showed an interactive response to warming and rainfall manipulation by advancing in +1.6 °C warming (regardless of rainfall manipulation) but not advancing in the warmest, driest treatment. Species-specific responses led to changes in temporal overlap between species. Most notably, the two autumn blooming species diverged significantly in their flowering timing. In ambient conditions, these two species flowered within the same week. In the warmest, driest treatment, flowering occurred over a month apart. Conclusions: Herbaceous species may differ in how they respond to future climate conditions. Changes to phenology may lead to fewer resources for insects or a mismatch between plants and pollinators.
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- boreal forest
- climate change
- temperate forest