Warming shortens flowering seasons of tundra plant communities

Janet S. Prevéy, Christian Rixen, Nadja Rüger, Toke T. Høye, Anne D. Bjorkman, Isla H. Myers-Smith, Sarah C. Elmendorf, Isabel W. Ashton, Nicoletta Cannone, Chelsea L. Chisholm, Karin Clark, Elisabeth J. Cooper, Bo Elberling, Anna Maria Fosaa, Greg H.R. Henry, Robert D. Hollister, Ingibjörg Svala Jónsdóttir, Kari Klanderud, Christopher W. Kopp, Esther LévesqueMarguerite Mauritz, Ulf Molau, Susan M. Natali, Steven F. Oberbauer, Zoe A. Panchen, Eric Post, Sabine B. Rumpf, Niels Martin Schmidt, Edward Schuur, Philipp R. Semenchuk, Jane G. Smith, Katharine N. Suding, Ørjan Totland, Tiffany Troxler, Susanna Venn, Carl Henrik Wahren, Jeffrey M. Welker, Sonja Wipf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Advancing phenology is one of the most visible effects of climate change on plant communities, and has been especially pronounced in temperature-limited tundra ecosystems. However, phenological responses have been shown to differ greatly between species, with some species shifting phenology more than others. We analysed a database of 42,689 tundra plant phenological observations to show that warmer temperatures are leading to a contraction of community-level flowering seasons in tundra ecosystems due to a greater advancement in the flowering times of late-flowering species than early-flowering species. Shorter flowering seasons with a changing climate have the potential to alter trophic interactions in tundra ecosystems. Interestingly, these findings differ from those of warmer ecosystems, where early-flowering species have been found to be more sensitive to temperature change, suggesting that community-level phenological responses to warming can vary greatly between biomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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