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Phenology is an area of ecology that investigates the seasonal rhythms of plants and animals.

Plant phenology, including when leaves emerge in the spring and change color in the autumn, is a sensitive indicator of how a changing climate affects ecosystems. Long-term phenological observations, such as those provided by the Harvard Forest canopy web-cams and visual observations of individual trees, are fundamental to our understanding of climate change in forests.

Phenology research at the Harvard Forest is led by John O'Keefe, post-doctoral fellows working with Andrew Richardson, and by teachers and students in the Forest's Schoolyard LTER Program. Phenology is also a focus of the book Witness Tree, written by 2014-2015 Bullard Fellow Lynda Mapes.