New paper in Alpine Botany about the phenology of alpine plant species


In a unique field experiment conducted in a typical alpine grassland on siliceous bedrock at 2500 m asl, Maria Vorkauf, Christian K├Ârner, Ansgar Kahmen and Erika Hiltbrunner studied the response of alpine plant species to shifting snowmelt dates and to summer drought. Earlier snowmelt caused earlier flowering in all seven species. Flowering of the highly opportunistic, dominant sedge Carex curvula, responded strongly to thermal sums (degree hours), and these responses were independent from the daylength. In contrast, photoperiod-sensitive species such as Leontodon helveticus accumulated higher thermal sums after earlier snowmelt, and may therefore escape early season frosts.