Phenology is the study of recurring plant and animal life-cycle stages which can be observed across spatial and temporal scales that span orders of magnitude (e.g., organisms to landscapes). The variety of scales at which phenological processes operate is reflected in the range of methods for collecting phenologically relevant data, and the programs focused on these collections. Consideration of the scale at which phenological observations are made, and the platform used for observation, is critical for the interpretation of phenological data and the application of these data to both research questions and land management objectives. However, there is currently little capacity to facilitate access, integration and analysis of cross-scale, multi-platform phenological data. This paper reports on a new suite of software and analysis tools - the “Pheno-Synthesis Software Suite,” or PS3 - to facilitate integration and analysis of phenological and ancillary data, enabling investigation and interpretation of phenological processes at scales ranging from organisms to landscapes and from days to decades. We use PS3 to investigate phenological processes in a semi-aride, mixed shrub-grass ecosystem, and find that the apparent importance of seasonal precipitation to vegetation activity (i.e., “greenness”) is affected by the scale and platform of observation. We end by describing potential applications of PS3 to phenological modeling and forecasting, understanding patterns and drivers of phenological activity in real-world ecosystems, and supporting agricultural and natural resource management and decision-making.
Morisette, Jeffrey T.; Duffy, Katharyn A.; Weltzin, Jake F.; Browning, Dawn M.; Marsh, R. Lee; Friesz, Aaron M.; Zachmann, Luke J.; Enns, Kyle D.; Landau, Vincent A.; Gerst, Katharine L.; Crimmins, Theresa M.; Jones, Katherine D.; Chang, Tony; Miller, Brian W.; Maiersperger, Thomas K.; Richardson, Andrew D. 2021. PS3: The Pheno-Synthesis software suite for integration and analysis of multi-scale, multi-platform phenological data. Ecological Informatics. 65: 101400.