Phenology as an Indicator of Climate Change
In this subproject, phenology is used to better detect and communicate climate change, to use it for (school) education, and to make predictions about future change under fluctuating environmental conditions.
Why phenology? Primarily, phenological change acts as an ideal bio-indicator that helps to emphasize the effects of climate change and the need for adaptation. Secondly, it has the advantage of being easily disseminated to the public through a variety of channels such as BAYSICS online-tools. Its simple methodology furthermore allows for a smooth integration of phenological data collection and analysis in the school curriculum. The BAYSICS citizen science program builds on existing phenological data and observation methods, expanding them with additional information such as photographic documents. On the basis of long-term observation records, current questions about carry-over effects can be addressed while providing citizen scientists with a classification of their own observations within the spatiotemporal variation of phenological events in Bavaria. An evaluation of herbarium records allows for the inclusion of local historical data in our results. During various phenological experiments still to be developed, students will have the opportunity to work as junior scientists and directly simulate the effects of climate change on plant life.
Overall, the integration of results allows for more accurate modeling of phenological variation under climate change and the development of adaptation strategies, which are communicated to the broad public in an engaging way. Ultimately, BAYSICS citizen science observation and experimentation data will be able to help close existing information gaps about (climatically induced) driving factors of change, and bring to light their effects on associated ecosystem services.