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Grad student talk: The effects of early snowmelt and warming on alpine plants

Thursday, November 01, 2018, 12:30PM - 1:30PM


Chiara Forrester


SEEC room S225

Climate warming is accelerating spring snowmelt, with pronounced effects in mountain ecosystems. Early snowmelt results in an extended summer that may increase stressors for plants, such as water limitation and a higher frequency of frost events. Plant phenology, or the timing of biological life stages, has been shown to be highly sensitive to changes in time of snowmelt. These changes in plant phenology may cause changes in plant fitness (e.g., by altering the length of the growing season). Thus, understanding how plant phenology responds to early snowmelt across heterogeneous landscapes will aid us in predicting the effects of climate warming on alpine plant populations. In this talk, I'll go over preliminary results from this past summer, and hope to engage in a discussion with other INSTAAR graduate students about how we can measure small-scale climate change in heterogeneous environments such as the alpine.