What is Temporal Mismatching?

There are many reasons data that examine the timing of plant phenophases are important. One of these reasons is to provide data to support conservation efforts. Specifically, there are many species that depend on the timing of when plants flower, leaf, and produce fruit for their reproduction and survival.  As temperatures warm due to climate change, shifts in the timing of when plants flower and when pollinators emerge can result in what we call temporal mismatching.

Why is this important?  If a pollinator emerges before its host plant blooms or if a plant blooms before its pollinator emerges, this leaves the pollinator without food or a plant without a way to reproduce.  The interactions between these species are complex, so new research continues to inform how climate change might result in temporal mismatching between plants and pollinators but also other species.  The data you provide through Season Spotter supports this type of research.

 

Town of Washington Nature Trail

Virginia Master Naturalist volunteers install a native plant garden in the Town of Washington., Virginia. Photo: Marie Majarov

There are additional ways you can support the conservation of pollinators in your community by planting a native plant garden.  Native plants provide nectar, pollen, and seeds to other native species that depend on them. Some pollinators, like the monarch, are host dependent so the monarchs’ larvae need milkweed to survive.  Declines in milkweed populations in recent years have led to declines in the monarch population.  So, you can support conservation efforts of the monarch by planting milkweed in your own garden or planting other native plants that support other native pollinators.

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About acrall

I am an interdisciplinary researcher focusing on the development and evaluation of citizen science projects that support natural resource conservation.
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