As the climate warms, many plants are flowering earlier in the year. This can be beneficial, allowing plants to take advantage of warmer spring temperatures. However, it can also have unintended consequences, potentially changing interactions with pollinators, pests, or risking flower damage from unexpected frosts. Plants in alpine environments, already facing a short summer and harsh climate, are especially at risk from climate change. How well can they “track” the conditions they need simply by flowering earlier in the year?
In this talk, we’ll answer this question by exploring how a charismatic alpine flower (Silene acaulis) is responding to climate change in the Rocky Mountains.