The following story on Signs of the Seasons: A New England Phenology Program was published on the NOAA Education and Outreach Facebook page on August 9, 2016.
SOS participants have collected more than 230,000 observations of the program’s 19 indicator species each year since 2011, with 110 different observation sites in Maine and New Hampshire in 2015. Maine scientists used Signs of the Seasons data to re-evaluate a historical model of ocean temperature-mediated reproduction in Ascophyllum nodosum (rockweed), an economically and ecologically valuable seaweed. Data from 10 coastal sites in Maine and New Hampshire indicate that reproduction onset in 2014 and 2015 was more than 30 days earlier than historically recorded; these findings were presented at four conferences in 2015. SOS also expanded its partnership with Maine Audubon in 2015 to collect detailed phenology data on common loon migration and reproduction to better understand climate-related factors in consistently low survival rates of loon chicks in Maine over the past two decades. Other national programs utilize data from SOS observations, such as the National Phenology Network’s Green Wave Campaign, focusing on sugar maple and red maple data.