Article ID: CBB311382906

Wild Laboratories of Climate Change: Plants, Phenology, and Global Warming, 1955–1980 (2021)

unapi

Phenologists track the seasonal behavior of plants and animals in response to climatic change. During the second half of the twentieth century, phenologists developed a large-scale project to monitor the flowering time of the common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) across the United States. By the 1960s, this approach offered a potential plant-based indicator of anthropogenic climate change, a biological signal amidst the emerging narrative of increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. As a tangible representation of changes in climate—warmer temperatures lead to earlier blooming—phenology proved highly legible to scientists, politicians, and laypeople. Yet, as phenology gained broader repute in the 1960s, both in agricultural stations and as a component program of the International Biological Program (IBP), it struggled to align itself epistemically with the regnant disciplinary assumptions of mid-century ecology. Operating in the hinterlands between laboratory and field, biology and meteorology, ecological theory and agronomy practice, phenologists challenged prevailing notions of the model organism and what it meant to study biology in the field. Rebranding the discipline as a component of ecosystem modeling, scientists successfully brought phenology within the purview of mainstream ecology. In so doing, however, they obscured its climate-relevant meteorological character and stymied the development of a biological narrative of climate change.

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Article R. Ashton Macfarlane (2021) Correction to: Wild Laboratories of Climate Change: Plants, Phenology, and Global Warming, 1955–1980. Journal of the History of Biology (pp. 341-342). unapi

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https://data.isiscb.org/isis/citation/CBB311382906/

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Authors & Contributors
Marin, Noemi
Ulrich Päßler
Brooten, Gary
Lidwell-Durnin, John
Verderame, Michael
Giacomelli, Joseph Nereo
Journals
Social Studies of Science
Journal of the History of Biology
Osmanli Bilimi Arastirmalari: Studies in Ottoman Science
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Nature
International Journal of African Historical Studies
Publishers
Florida Atlantic University
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of New Mexico Press
Concepts
Plants
Plant geography; flora
Climate change
Field work
Anthropogenic global warming
Botany
People
Charles Deering
Berlandier, Jean Luis
Revelle, Roger
Ray, John
Martyn, John
Knight, Thomas Andrew
Time Periods
20th century, late
19th century
21st century
20th century, early
18th century
Gilded Age (1870s-1900)
Places
Great Britain
Cape of Good Hope (South Africa)
Anatolia (Turkey)
Arizona (U.S.)
South America
United States
Institutions
International Biological Program
Royal Botanical Society, London
International Geophysical Year (IGY)
Carnegie Institution of Washington
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