In order to do so, ITEX put
together simple protocols that allow scientists to perform similar
experiments in different Arctic sites. The advantage of performing
similar experiments is that the results can later be compared
The Bylot Island Ecological Studies and Environmental Monitoring
project has been considered as an official
ITEX study site since
1999. Four plant species have been monitored since then: female
and male Arctic Willow (Salix arctica), Purple Saxifrage
(Saxifraga oppositifolia), Northern Wood Rush (Luzula
nivalis) and Mountain Avens (Dryas integrifolia).
Individual plants from these species were marked and their phenological
phases (life stage such as flowering, for example) are monitored
many times each summer. The number of flowers produced per each
plant is also recorded.
Data from the ITEX site gives us information on how plant production,
for example the number of flowers it produces changes from year
to year. Analysis of our weather data can later help us determine
which climate factor is the most responsible for these changes
in plant production. In a broader perspective, understanding Arctic
plant responses to various environmental factors may give an insight
on how these plants are likely to react to climate warming.
First Flowering Date
From 1999 to 2005, the average date of first flowering for the
species monitored in mesic communities was the 29 June for Saxifraga
oppositifolia, 3 July for Salix arctica male, 2
July for Salix arctica female, 4 July for Luzula
nivalis and 11 July for Dryas integrifolia. For
all these species, except for male S. arctica, the date
of first flowering has been advancing since 1999. Over a 7-year
period, the first flowering date has been advancing of 4 days
for D. integrifolia, 6 days for S. oppositifolia,
12 days for S. arctica female and 14 days for L.
Number of Flowers Produced
For most of our species, the average number of flowers produced
annually showed large annual differences.
On average, each D. integrifolia plant produced 8.9
flowers per year. For the other plant species, the average annual
flower production was lower with 2.3 flowers per plant for S.
oppositifolia, 1 for L. nivalis, 0.5 for male S.
arctica and 0.2 for female S. arctica. However,
since 2000-2001, the number of flowers produced by plants of D.
integrifolia, S. oppositifolia and L. nivalis
has been declining.