Herbarium sheet of the early spider orchid
Despite global warming accelerating since the 1970s, when early spider orchids in the UK flower still varies with temperature in exactly the same way that it has for the past 150 years. By studying preserved plant specimens known as herbaria, researchers from the Universities of East Anglia, Sussex and Kent have found that orchids consistently flower 6 days earlier for every 1ºC rise in average spring temperature.
“Recent climate change has undoubtedly affected the timing of development and seasonal events in many groups of organisms," Davy continued. “Understanding the effects of recent climate change is a vital step towards predicting the consequences of future change. But only bystudying the responses of individual species will we be able to predict the potentially disruptive effects of accelerating climate change on species interactions," he says.
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