Li Lab

Quantitative Ecology in a Changing World

Plant Phenology

It is well documented that plant phenology, recurring seasonal biological events such as flowering and leaf-out, is changing because of global warming. However, it is relatively understudied how other aspects of environmental changes, such as urbanization, have affected plant phenology. Furthermore, generalities regarding the direction and magnitude of phenological response to environmental changes have not yet emerged because most studies have focused on remote-sensed vegetative phenologies or at local scales with relatively few species.

We are interested in studying general patterns and drivers of changes in plant phenology across large spatial scales, decadal temporal scales, and phylogenetic scales. To achieve this goal, in collaborating with others (Rob Guralnick, Brian Stucky, etc.), we are compiling phenological data from phenological networks, herbarium specimens, and community science platforms such as iNaturalist. We will develop new tools and methods (including deep learning approaches) to integrate different datasets. We will also develop statistical models and computational approaches to better analyze such large datasets. Answers to such questions are critical to understand the effects of global change on plant communities, plant-insect interactions, food web structures, and ecosystem functions.

Selected articles

Methods for Broad-Scale Plant Phenology Assessments Using Citizen Scientists’ Photographs
Barve V. V., Brenskelle L., Li D., Stucky B. J., Barve N. V., Hantak M. M., McLean B. S., Paluh D. J., Oswald J. A., Belitz M. W., Folk R. A., Guralnick R. P.,
The Effect of Urbanization on Plant Phenology Depends on Regional Temperature
Li D., Stucky B. J., Deck J., Baiser B., Guralnick R. P.,