[Tweeters] Alabama research group needs help with citizen science project

Chazz Hesselein chazz at hesselein.com
Mon Apr 1 17:40:09 PDT 2013

Dear Tweeters,

An acquaintance from Alabama has put out this call for help with his
research project. Please contact him if you would like to participate
or for further details.


Chazz Hesselein
Formerly of Mobile, AL

Here's his note:

With modern global warming and climate change, everything seems to be
earlier and earlier each year. Wildflowers are blooming earlier.
Butterflies are
emerging earlier. Bird migration is beginning earlier. Even the Christmas
shopping season starts earlier with advertisers getting geared up in
right after Labor Day. Now, Daylight Savings Time is joining the trend
with the
recent move towards an early start date in March.

Scientists have thoroughly documented numerous examples that clearly
the phenological effects of global warming on biological phenomenon beyond a
shadow of a doubt. What is not known is the impact of our man-made
meddling with
nature's clocks.

Several researchers are starting to explore the role that daylight
savings time
has on organisms. Dr. Polly Chisme at Frankfurt University has recently
that the earlier start of daylight savings time has an unintended
consequence on
the phenology and timing of plant flowering. With an extra hour of daylight,
plants that require a specific photoperiod to induce flowering are now
approximately 2 weeks earlier.

While the effects on plants are better known, little research has been
done on
bird migration and time change. I am currently working with several
other of our
state's academics on a journal article to be submitted to Science that will
explore the impact of daylight savings time on bird migration in Alabama. We
suspect that the early start of daylight savings may have a negative
impact on
bird populations, particularly with hummingbirds where their arrival is
timed to
coincide with the blooming of nectar-producing species. However, other bird
species may be similarly impacted.

Here's where we need your help. We ask that you note not only the day
that you
observe a particular species arrive, but also their specific time of
This data will be valuable in helping us tease out any potential effects
of the
early start to daylight savings time. If you can enter the times in eBird
under the notes for each species we will be able to capture the data
from there.
Of course you can always send me a note via e-mail with your data too. That
works fine as well.

Many thanks for your help with this endeavor. Looking forward to seeing
everyone's data!

Good Birding,

Howard Horne
Mobile, AL

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