skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 10:00 PM ET on Friday, December 8 until 2:00 AM ET on Saturday, December 9 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Primack, Richard B."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  2. Abstract The number and diversity of phenological studies has increased rapidly in recent years. Innovative experiments, field studies, citizen science projects, and analyses of newly available historical data are contributing insights that advance our understanding of ecological and evolutionary responses to the environment, particularly climate change. However, many phenological data sets have peculiarities that are not immediately obvious and can lead to mistakes in analyses and interpretation of results. This paper aims to help researchers, especially those new to the field of phenology, understand challenges and practices that are crucial for effective studies. For example, researchers may fail to account for sampling biases in phenological data, struggle to choose or design a volunteer data collection strategy that adequately fits their project’s needs, or combine data sets in inappropriate ways. We describe ten best practices for designing studies of plant and animal phenology, evaluating data quality, and analyzing data. Practices include accounting for common biases in data, using effective citizen or community science methods, and employing appropriate data when investigating phenological mismatches. We present these best practices to help researchers entering the field take full advantage of the wealth of available data and approaches to advance our understanding of phenology and its implications for ecology. 
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 29, 2024
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  4. Abstract Temperate understory plant species are at risk from climate change and anthropogenic threats that include increased deer herbivory, habitat loss, pollinator declines and mismatch, and nutrient pollution. Recent work suggests that spring ephemeral wildflowers may be at additional risk due to phenological mismatch with deciduous canopy trees. The study of this dynamic, commonly referred to as “phenological escape”, and its sensitivity to spring temperature is limited to eastern North America. Here, we use herbarium specimens to show that phenological sensitivity to spring temperature is remarkably conserved for understory wildflowers across North America, Europe, and Asia, but that canopy trees in North America are significantly more sensitive to spring temperature compared to in Asia and Europe. We predict that advancing tree phenology will lead to decreasing spring light windows in North America while spring light windows will be maintained or even increase in Asia and Europe in response to projected climate warming. 
    more » « less
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 7, 2024
  6. abstract Ecologists are increasingly combining historical observations made by naturalists with modern observations to detect the ecological effects of climate change. This use of historical observations raises the following question: How do we know that historical data are appropriate to use to answer current ecological questions? In the present article, we address this question for environmental philosopher Henry David Thoreau, author of Walden. Should we trust his observations? We qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate Thoreau's observations using a three-step framework: We assess the rigor, accuracy, and utility of his observations to investigate changes in plants and animals over time. We conclude that Thoreau was an accurate observer of nature and a reliable scientist. More importantly, we describe how this simple three-step approach could be used to assess the accuracy of other scientists and naturalists. 
    more » « less