Phenology

Phenological changes

Both in meteorology and biology it is studied phenology of organisms. This is nothing more than the observation of the evolution of organisms in their life cycle. That is, the variation of its characteristics and life cycle depending on the environmental characteristics that exist at that time. Both the climate and the soil and biotic aspects have to do with the phenology of organisms. Climate change is seriously modifying the phenology of many living things, making it less successful for survival.

In this article we are going to analyze in depth the characteristics of the phenology of living beings and how climate change is affecting their life cycle. Do you want to know how animals and plants live? You just have to keep reading 🙂

Objective of phenology

Plant phenology

Phenology study the dates by which the different phases of plant development begin. In this way, they are recorded in chronological order and observations are made to analyze interactions with other living beings. For example, in the case of butterfly larvae, the time when they become larvae is close to the time when the chicks of some species of birds need their food to grow. Well, that time is essential that it occurs at the same time so that the chicks can grow. If the phenology of the larvae is modified, the chicks will have no food.

Observations are made throughout the year and are recorded to have a reliable memory of the life cycle of the organisms studied. Quantitative data related to plant development is also studied. This refers to comparing the increase in size that the plant in question has experienced, its weight, volume, performance in photosynthesis and chemical composition.

Once all the data has been obtained, you can know the behavior of many organisms depending on the time of year in which we are.

Problems of birds

Phenology in birds

It is important to know phenology in order to build, for example, places where birds can nest and guarantee their reproductive success. There are many species of birds that are in danger of extinction due to the urban expansion of human beings.

Migratory birds have serious trouble making their seasonal trips to other areas with more pleasant temperatures. This is due to the fact that the impacts of the human being make that the birds do not have safe places to rest after their long trip and nest. The young need the necessary care and food that the parents must provide. However, there is an ecological balance that is damaged by humans.

Swallows and their migration

By affecting a specific species, all the species on which they depended in a certain way are affected. If a plant species that a rabbit feeds on dies in an area, rabbit populations will fall, and thus the predatory species that feed on rabbits. This is known as a food chain.

Therefore, the phenology of birds is carefully studied. That is to say, their cycles of reproduction, nesting, courtship, migration, etc.. As we will see later, climate change is seriously affecting the balance of these species and the success of their survival.

Crop phenology and phenological observations

Crop phenology

In cultivation, phenology is also analyzed. It serves to improve crop yield, as it is known the best time to fertilize, water more or less, or prune so that it can grow and develop perfectly. In addition, it is necessary to prevent pests and diseases. There are times of the year when insect pests are most active and reproduce more quickly. Knowing this, prevention techniques can be started when the time of most activity for insects approaches.

The same is true of diseases. In winter, given the more frequent adverse conditions and the rains, there is more humidity. Excess moisture normally leads to diseases in crops.

To improve crop yields, a basic understanding of meteorology is essential. Know about the temperatures, prevailing winds, types of clouds, etc. It can help enormously in the care of crops.

Not only in agriculture, but its derivative industries it is important to have reliable phenological data. For example, you must know the average date on which many of the crops planted bloom, fruit, and mature. These data are essential for correct agricultural and industrial planning.

If the influence of environmental conditions on each phase of crop development is also known, the advance or delay in their manifestation can be predicted.

The phenological observations that are carried out for a long time, allow to draw conclusions in the field of scientific research. Also, it is very useful in agriculture and industry. It greatly favors the knowledge of the probable dates of the different phases of development, the duration of the different sub-periods, the deadlines and the frequency of occurrence of biological phenomena.

Vine phenology

Vineyard states

We are going to name the phases of grapevine phenology to give an example of its usefulness.

  • Winter bud
  • Weeping vine
  • Swollen yolk
  • Green tips
  • The first leaves appear (incipient leaves)
  • Leaf extension
  • First bunches
  • Racemes further apart (they are inflorescences)
  • Flower buds (clusters fully developed)
  • Fall of withered stamens (it is called curdling)
  • Cluster closure (increase in fruit size)
  • Start of veraison (loss of chlorophyll)
  • Ripening
  • Leaf fall

In each of the stages of the vine you can know the operation and development of its parts. It is important to know them in order to avoid some pests and diseases and to optimize their fertilization and irrigation. At each time of the year it requires different care and, therefore, it is necessary to keep them well cared for.

With this information you can learn more about the phenology of organisms.


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