University of California, Riverside

Center for Conservation Biology

The 2016 Jane & Richard Block Seminar

Jane Block Conservation Biology Lecturer

Wednesday, April 13, 4:10-5:00 pm

Coffee at 3:40 pm

Genomics Auditorium

UC Riverside



Dr. Susan J.  Mazer

Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Director, California Phenology Project
Dept. of Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology
University of California, Santa Barbara

"The California Phenology Project:
Tracking (and predicting) the effects of climate change on the seasonal cycles of the California flora"


Phenology is the study of the seasonal cycles of plants and animals, including the annual timing of budburst, flowering, and seed dispersal.  Monitoring this timing has become a reliable way of detecting the effects of climate change on the seasonal activity of individual plants, populations, and species.   The California Phenology Project (CPP: is the first statewide effort designed to assess the effects of climate change on the California flora by engaging the public in the monitoring of the phenological status of hundreds of plants in 34 species. Established in 2010, the CPP is a collaboration among seven national parks, the Californian Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit, the University of California (Santa Barbara), and the USA-National Phenology Network. Chaparral, oak woodlands, and forests are represented by Santa Monica Mountains NRA, Golden Gate NRA, John Muir National Historic Site, and Redwood National and State Parks. Montane habitats are represented by Lassen Volcanic National Park (NP) and Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP. Deserts are represented by Joshua Tree NP. CPP participants contribute data to USA-NPN’s database using standardized protocols. To date, >35000 onset dates of budbreak, leaf expansion, flowering, and fruiting phenophases have been recorded from >1100 individual plants at 159 sites. In several species, monitoring plants twice per week has been sufficient to detect the effects of local climatic conditions on the onset dates of flowering or fruiting. The relationships between the timing of phenological events and climate yield preliminary predictions regarding how different species will respond qualitatively to future changes in seasonal temperature and precipitation.  Species-specific responses to changing climatic conditions indicate that precise predictions of the effects on plant phenology of projected changes in California’s climate will require the regular monitoring of a wide range of species.  Good news is that members of the public can achieve this objective with a little bit of training and practice, and a lot of encouragement.

dr mazer


More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Center for Conservation Biology
1435 Boyce Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5494