David Inouye is leading a collaborative ongoing project on the timing, abundance, and diversity of flowers within permanent plots at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL), in Gothic, Colorado, USA, that began in 1973. Long-time Gothic resident, billy barr, has simultaneously been collecting climate and animal arrival data over the same timeframe. Since 2009, Becky Irwin has lead an effort to also sample the timing, abundance, and diversity of wild bees near the RMBL. The uniquely comprehensive and long study of wildflowers, climate, and animals is allowing us to better understand how wildflower species and the community are responding to climate change and how the interactions between plants and flower-feeding animals are being affected.
To collect the wildflower data, we count flowers of each plant species in the plots approximately every second day during the growing season. A set of 23 2 x 2 m plots have been followed since 1974 (excluding 1978 and 1990), and additional plots have been added through the years (two in 1985, three in 1998, and two in 2004). Data are now collected in a total of 30 plots and up to 135 plant species have been recorded blooming.
Funding for this project has come from the National Science Foundation. We are very happy to share the data with those wanting to use it for teaching or research. More information is at the Open Science Framework project page.