Wetland Phenology – Community Science

Photo credit: Catherine Brown

In collaboration with Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Boreal Wetland Centre (Grand Prairie, Alberta), we have launched a ‘Wetland phenology’ Community or Citizen Science project.

Why is it important?

Boreal wetlands are likely to be impacted by changes in climate and by industrial activities. Changes in air temperature and precipitation patterns alongside physical disturbances from machinery for example can all change how wet the system is and can influence the vegetation communities present. It can even cause a shift in vegetation communities depending on the level of disturbance. The Wetland Phenology project will look at green leaf phenology of the vegetation communities found in a restored and an undisturbed site at the Wetland Centre.

You can learn more about the project here: Wetland Phenology project

What you’ll need to participate

What you’ll need: a smartphone that can take pictures.

  1. Locate one of the two phenology signs along the wetland interpretive trail (map coming soon).
  2. Slide your phone into the slot on the sign.
  3. Once your phone is in place, take a picture (or more!).
  4. You can send the photographs to phenologyAB@gmail.com. Please include 1) Name, 2) Date the photo was taken and 3) Time the photo was taken.

Share your photos on social media: We’d love to see your photos! Share the photos you took as part of this project with the tag #phenologyAB

The photos you submit will be used by researchers to analyze the change in growth over the growing season. The method used calculates the green chromatic coordinate, in other words, green = how the vegetation is greening-up or growing over the season. 

Your personal information will be confidential and will not be made public at any time. By submitting your photo, you agree that Ducks Unlimited Canada and Dr. Scott J. Davidson can use the photo for data analysis, publication, and outreach (e.g., website, social media, presentations). 

Results 2022

Comparison of greenness values at the Wetland Centre A (sedge-dominated site) sign between 2021 and 2022

Results of 2022 submissions looking at wetland green leaf phenology over time, indicating that sedge-dominated wetlands are greener than their shrub-dominated counterparts.

Community submissions for 2022 – Sign B

Results 2021

Here are the initial results from our pilot study year, showing the wetland ‘greenness’ over the course of the summer. We can see greenness rapidly increasing from our first photos at the end of June to the start of August, then starts to decrease again towards the autumn period when the vegetation begins to senesce in September and through to October.