Climate change may be affecting the fruiting times of plants in New England. If so, this would have consequences for the birds that eat fleshy fruit during their time of migration.
For the past year, Amanda Gallinat, Richard Primack and I have been evaluating herbarium specimens for about 60 common native and nonnative invasive species in New England for fruit ripening times. To understand how fruiting times have changed over time due to a warming climate, we have examined these museum specimens, which range in collection dates from the 1850's to present.
In addition to the date the species was collected, each label on a specimen also provides information on the collector and location where the specimen was collected. We are especially interested to know if native species and invasive species are responding to climate change differently across the New England landscape.