The Morton Arboretum’s Living Collections contain trees from across the world growing in a common environment. This allows researchers to more easily compare species’ responses to climate without the myriad of confounding factors such as differences in weather or geology that would arise from comparing trees in their in situ habitats. The goal of this project is to track a number of tree responses including the timing of flowering, leaf out, and tree growth to describe functional, geographic, and phylogenetic patterns in climate sensitivity.
Much of the data are being collected by volunteers and contributed to large citizen-science networks, including the USA National Phenology Network. Cooperating with these open-data networks allows us to more easily compare observations at the Arboretum with those of the same species across the country as well as extending the impact of the work by sharing those results freely with scientists and other interested parties alike.