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A Phenology-focused CURE using Herbarium Specimen Data

Author(s): Katie D. Pearson1, Susan J. Mazer2, Tadeo Ramirez Parada2, Natalie Love2, Jenn M. Yost1

1. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo 2. UC Santa Barbara

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10-week course-based undergraduate research experience in which students conduct novel research on the effects of climate on phenological events (e.g., flowering) of a plant species using publicly available data from an online portal (

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 3.0 - published on 09 Jul 2021 doi:10.25334/A4RQ-YX24 - cite this


Volumes of data on plant diversity are becoming available with the digitization of herbarium specimens. Images of herbarium specimens provide a rich resource that can be harvested for data on plant form and phenology. In this course, students will design and conduct original research that examines the effect of climate on plant phenological events (e.g., flowering) using herbarium specimen data. Students will search for and download herbarium specimen data from the Consortium of California Herbaria online database, CCH2 ( Students will use Excel and R code (through RStudio) to visualize, clean, and analyze the data. Each student will present their research as a scientific report, poster, and/or a lightning talk. Students will be guided through the research process through weekly class lectures, activities, and assignments.

This version includes all course materials (slides, code, assignments, etc.) and a comprehensive Instructor's Guide. An overview of the course and each class session is provided in this guide.

This project made possible by National Science Foundation Award 1802312.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


This version includes a simplified, Student Version of the Phenoclimatic Models code and templates for the paper and the poster. The Instructor's Guide has been edited accordingly.

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