1. Signs of spring: dandelions are blossoming.

    Investigation

    Goal

    Study the dandelion timelines in different regions- from the beginning of blossoming, to the mass blossoming of dandelions, and finally the mass fruiting and seeds flying stages of the dandelion. Make a map of isophenes* of blossoming and fruiting dandelions in different regions.

    *Isophene is a line on the map connecting the points of coincidence of natural phenomena.

    Research question

    1. Timelines of the blossoming and fruiting of dandelions are usually determined by common climatic conditions, but they can vary noticeably depending on the micro-climate (for example, they could vary from the city to the countryside).
    2. Timelines of the blossoming and fruiting of dandelions can show deviations from the average calculated from long-term observations. And this can perhaps testify to climate changes.

    Equipment

    Camera or cell-phone camera.

    Why use data from multiple participants?

    An isophene (a line on a map or chart connecting places within a region at which a particular biological phenomenon- such as the flowering of a given plant- occurs at one time) can be drawn only after collecting a large set of data from participants from different regions.

    Investigation Protocol

    1. Find places where dandelions grow; the jagged shape of their leaves makes them easy to recognize. Maybe you can remember where dandelions blossomed in large amounts last year.
    2. Every day on your way to school and back, or while taking a walk, pass by selected locations and watch carefully for the appearance of the first flowers. It is important that your route is exactly the same every day. The time of day is also important for observations because the dandelion's flowers close at night. This means that in the early morning they can still be closed or in the evening they may be already closed. Dandelions also close before the rain.
    3. Take a picture of dandelion flowers as soon as you see them. Take note of the air temperature on that day (based on meteorological data).
    4. Fill in the Report Form answering all the questions for each observed phenological phase:
        • The beginning of the blossoming (first flowers have appeared, the majority are still in buds);
        • Mass blossoming (the majority of flowers have opened);
        • Mass ripening and seeds flying.
    5. During your observations of dandelion blossoming discuss it with other participants of the project, read the project blog, and comment on other investigator ideas.

    Safety tips

    To avoid harming the environment or yourself when conducting our projects, please observe some simple rules:

    • while photographing plants do not tear off their flowers or leaves;
    • choose plants growing near public paths and not on others’ private property.

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    • Project was published on:April 9, 2014
    Report Form Before filling in the Report Form, please read the Investigation Protocol