DataSheet_2_Chilling and Forcing From Cut Twigs—How to Simplify Phenological Experiments for Citizen Science.csv
Low-cost phenological experiments with cut twigs are increasingly used to study bud development in response to spring warming and photoperiod. However, a broader variety of species needs to be tackled and in particular the influence of insufficient winter chilling deserves more attention. Therefore, we investigated if and how chilling requirements can be efficiently investigated by cut twigs and how this low-tech approach could be successfully implemented as a citizen science or school project. We conducted an experiment on bud burst and leaf development of Corylus avellana L. twigs, with natural chilling outdoors on a shrub (S) and another chilling treatment as cut twigs in containers (C), and subsequent forcing indoors. Subsampling of the number of cutting dates and number of twigs was used to infer minimum required sample sizes. Apart from insufficiently chilled twigs, ~80% of the twigs (both S and C) reached leaf out. For multiple definitions of chilling and forcing, a negative exponential relationship was revealed between chilling and amount of forcing needed to reach certain developmental stages. At least 5 out of 15 cutting dates or alternatively half of the 10 twig repetitions, but especially those mirroring low chilling conditions, were needed to describe the chilling-forcing relationship with some degree of robustness. In addition, for cutting dates with long chilling, i.e., from January onwards, freshly cut twigs (S) required significantly more forcing to reach bud burst than twigs from containers (C), although the effect was small. In general, chilling conditions of mature shrubs were well captured by cut twigs, therefore opening the possibility of chilling through refrigeration. We conclude that experimental protocols as outlined here are feasible for citizen scientists, school projects, and science education, and would have the potential to advance the research field if carried out on a large scale. We provide an easy-to-use Shiny simulation app to enable citizen scientists to build up a bud development model based on their own experimental data and then simulate future phenological development with winter and/or spring warming. This may encourage them to further study other aspects of climate change and the impacts of climate change.