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Glob Chang Biol. 2013 May;19(5):1518-25. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12130. Epub 2013 Feb 5.

Detecting nonlinear response of spring phenology to climate change by Bayesian analysis.

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Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


The impact of climate change on the advancement of plant phenological events has been heavily studied in the last decade. Although the majority of spring plant phenological events have been trending earlier, this is not universally true. Recent work has suggested that species that are not advancing in their spring phenological behavior are responding more to lack of winter chill than increased spring heat. One way to test this hypothesis is by evaluating the behavior of a species known to have a moderate to high chilling requirement and examining how it is responding to increased warming. This study used a 60-year data set for timing of leaf-out and male flowering of walnut (Juglans regia) cultivar 'Payne' to examine this issue. The spring phenological behavior of 'Payne' walnut differed depending on bud type. The vegetative buds, which have a higher chilling requirement, trended toward earlier leaf-out until about 1994, when they shifted to later leaf-out. The date of male bud pollen shedding advanced over the course of the whole record. Our findings suggest that many species which have exhibited earlier bud break are responding to warmer spring temperatures, but may shift into responding more to winter temperatures (lack of adequate chilling) as warming continues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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