Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Biology (Integrative Biology)

Major Professor

Gordon Fox, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Susan Bell, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Arthur Weis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Luanna Prevost, Ph.D.


first flowering, flowering period, flowering time, simulation


Despite growing interest in flowering phenology among ecologists, as reflected by an increase in the number of papers, there is little information on how studies typically measure and describe a plant’s flowering phenology. The focus of this study was the literature on flowering phenology and the approaches researchers have taken to quantify flowering phenology. Initially, a comprehensive description of the breath of literature on flowering phenology was produced. From there, I described the current research on flowering phenology: the year that the studies were published, the locations of the studies, and the particular biomes where the studies were performed. The components of flowering phenology, which define different aspects of a flowering phenology, and research questions were extracted from peer-reviewed literature. Then, the research questions being asked and how those questions related to the components of the flowering phenology that are commonly used were examined. Simulated data of various flowering phenology scenarios was also created to visualize components of flowering phenology. A review of the literature revealed that research on flowering phenology primarily occurred in the United States in forest biomes. It also revealed that there were a small number of components of flowering phenology that were commonly used in the literature, while a large number of components had very limited use. Although the questions researchers asked varied, these research questions focused on a limited number of common biological topics. There was no clear pattern in how studies chose most research question and components of flowering phenology. These results suggest that research on flowering phenology, although increasing in frequency, is not diversifying, a trend that can be seen most clearly in the limited number of biomes that have been studied. However, in order to tease apart the complex relationships seen in this study, future studies would benefit from broadening the scope of the review to include literature from several languages, or even to include a wider range of topics on flowering and fruiting biology.