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Mykaela Tanino-Springsteen Olivia Dewitt

Abstract

Examining the variation in the collection date of herbarium specimens is a common method for studying the phenological effects of climate change on a flowering plant species. We used herbarium data to examine how warming temperatures have affected flowering time in Silene acaulis in the state of Colorado. Silene acaulis is an alpine tundra plant also known by the common name of moss campion. Using ordinal date of collection as a proxy for flowering date and year collected as a proxy for increasing average temperature, a linear regression test found that there was no significant relationship between increasing temperatures and flowering time. Further examination of the herbarium data revealed a pattern of summertime specimen collection for Silene acaulis. As a species that flowers in response to snow melt, the collection pattern indicates that herbarium data is insufficient for assessing the phenological effects of climate change on Silene acaulis. More intensive research on the relationship between snow melt and flowering time are needed to understand the impacts of climate change on Silene acaulis.

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