Differences in species responses to climate in the Living Collections

The diversity of trees from around the world in the Living Collections provides an ideal opportunity to compare species responses to climate.


The Morton Arboretum’s Living Collections contain trees from across the world growing in a common environment.  This opportunity allows researchers to more easily compare species’ responses to climate without the myriad of confounding factors such as differences in weather or geology that would arise from comparing trees in their in situ habitats.  We are tracking a number of tree responses including the timing of flowering, leaf out, and tree growth here to describe functional, geographic, and phylogentic patterns in climate sensitivity.  Much of our data are being collected by volunteers and contributed to large citizen-science networks, including the USA National Phenology Network. Cooperating with these open-data networks allows us to more easily compare observations at the Arboretum with those of the same species across the country as well as extending the impact of our work by sharing those results freely with scientists and other interested parties alike.

Funding Sources

The Morton Arboretum

Project Status