Phenology refers to the timing of annually recurrent biological events. These events are argued to be one of the most sensitive bioindicators of climate change. Shifts in the timing of plant and animal phenological events have been recorded across the globe. These records have indicated the highly species- and location-specific nature of phenological response, requiring comprehensive local studies to be conducted. For South Africa, phenological records are sparse – we do not benefit from long traditions of naturalists, nor the deliberate phenology gardens planted in the United States and Europe. Research has therefore been slow in emerging. In this talk I cover the studies on phenology and climate change that have been conducted, including apple and pear flowering dates, jacaranda flowering dates, and changes in the timing of the sardine run.

About the Speaker:
Dr. Jennifer Fitchett is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. She completed her PhD split-site through the University of the Witwatersrand and University College London. Her research explores climate change at long (~24,000 years) and short (~50 years) timescales, and the impacts on plants, animals and people, through the subdisciplines of phenology, climatology and tourism and climate change.

Dr. Jennifer M. Fitchett, School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

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