Autumn Flowering Wingstem’s Seed Set, Floral Display Size and Flowering Time as an Indicator of Climate Change

Michael Alber

Name: Michael David Alber
Major: Biology
Advisors: Dr. Jennifer Ison and Dr. Stephenie Strand
Climate change has led to shifts in the phenology of many species. Many flowering plants have shown significant shifts in flowering times. The effects of climate change on the flowering times of fall flowering plants are understudied and not well understood.In order to better understand the effects of climate change, I studied the phenology of the fall-flowering species Verbesina alternifolia. I recorded the seed set and head number of V. alternifolia that flowered either at early, peak, or late flowering times. A greater seed set at different times throughout flowering can lead to shifts in flowering phenology over time.I found no significant difference in either seed set or floral display size between the different flowering times suggesting that V. alternifolia may not be under a selective pressure to flower either earlier or later. My results also demonstrate the research on spring flowering plants cannot be applied to autumn flowering species. Therefore, more research on autumn-flowering phenology is necessary to understand its patterns and connections to climate change.

Michael will be online to field comments on April 16:
10am-noon EDT (Asia: late evening, PST: 6-8am, Africa/Europe: early evening)

Posted in I.S. Symposium 2021, Independent Study.