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Phenology and Climate Change

Author(s): Jennifer Apple

SUNY Geneseo

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This is an FMN participant modification of the TIEE module "Investigating the footprint of climate change on phenology and ecological interactions in north-central North America," authored by Kellen Calinger in 2014.


The module was implemented at SUNY Geneseo, Department of Biology by Jennifer L. Apple. 

  • Course: BIOL 203 - Principles of Ecology 
  • Course Level: Generally sophomores; biology majors (but minors may take course too)
  • Instructional Setting: Lecture
  • Implementation Timeframe: 1 50-minute class period near the middle of the semester


I changed and shortened the original module substantially so that the activity could fit within a single class session. The students in my class were already collecting their own phenological observations in an effort to contrast the phenology of invasive vs. native understory shrubs, so they were familiar with the general importance of studying phenology. I particularly wanted to use this module to (1) illustrate the potential ecological responses of organisms to climate change, (2) show that different species may have different responses, and (3) practice manipulating, graphing, and analyzing data. I provided two greatly reduced data sets compared to the original that included a file with flowering time and temperature for three focal species (2 natives and and invasive) and another file with average temperature and year. 

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