Flowers blooming earlier now than any time in last 250 years

Climate change is being recognized as one of the most influential drivers of changes in biodiversity. This is particularly evident in the field of phenology, which looks at how climatic changes affecting timing of events in the natural world. Changes in the timing of one part of the ecosystem can have a ripple effect, disrupting other areas. For example, a change in timing of plant flowering can disrupt the creatures that pollinate them. Similarly, changes in timing of plant or insect behaviour can affect the birds that use them as food supplies. New research has been published stitching together nearly 400,000 first flowering records covering 405 species across the UK (Amano et al 2010). They’ve found that British plants are flowering earlier now than at any time in the last 250 years.

There’s a strong correlation between temperature and the date when flowers first open each year. Consequently, much information can be gleaned from looking at flowering dates in the past. Since the mid-1700s, sightings have been made by full-time biologists and part-time enthusiasts. Systematic recording of flowering times began in the UK in 1875 by the Royal Meteorological Society.

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