The study of cyclical changes in the lives of living organisms is called 'phenology'. Tree phenology - the study of the pattern of emergence of leaves, flowers, and fruits - can reveal a lot about the climate. In temperate areas, climate-change-induced advancing and lengthening of the warm ‘growing’ season, has resulted in changes in the timing of leaf-emergence in trees and in the trophic interactions dependent on leaf emergence. In tropical latitudes, a similar understanding of tree phenology is lacking largely because of the absence of consistent long-term and large-scale data.
Citizen science can help bridge this data gap in the understanding of tropical tree phenology while creating an opportunity for citizen scientists to engage more closely with nature. In this talk, I will introduce the SeasonWatch project (https://www.seasonwatch.in/), which aims to quantify the patterns in leafing, flowering, and fruiting of trees from across India.
Nature Conservation Foundation
Geetha Ramaswami is based at the Nature Conservation Foundation. She is a program manager at a country-wide citizen science project called SeasonWatch, where several people (especially school students) watch trees in their neighborhoods and collect information about their seasonality.
Her Ph.D. degree was on an invasive plant – Lantana Camara – where she tried to understand how the environment affects where and how this species spreads and also how indigenous species respond to the presence of this invasive plant.