Data Set Citation:
When using this data, please cite the data package:
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and Wolkovich E. 2012.
NECTAR: Network of Ecological and Climatological Timings Across Regions
nceas.988.17 (
General Information:
Title:NECTAR: Network of Ecological and Climatological Timings Across Regions
The Network of Ecological and Climatological Timings Across Regions (NECTAR) database was designed to bring together species-rich plant phenology with a focus on non-clonal, non-cultivated species observations of natural communities. Towards this goal, in October 2009, we reviewed the literature for ground (not herbarium) observational studies of species phenology, searching ISI for topic: (plant phenolog*) and Topic: (observat*) and Topic: (time-series OR long-term). Combined with personal knowledge, we identified 61 datasets. Of these we gained access to 26 datasets (23 with raw data, 4 with only mean phenological values---derived data) and merged these into a common format for the raw and derived data. Further details regarding NECTAR development can be found in the Supplementary materials here: Wolkovich, E.M., B.I. Cook, J.M. Allen, T.M. Crimmins, J.L. Betancourt, S.E. Travers, S. Pau, J. Regetz, T.J. Davies, N.J.B. Kraft, T.R. Ault, K. Bolmgren, S.J. Mazer, G.J. McCabe, B.J. McGill, C. Parmesan, N. Salamin, M.D. Schwartz, and E.E. Cleland, 2012: Warming experiments underpredict plant phenological responses to climate change. Nature, doi:10.1038/nature11014. AND here: Cook, Benjamin; Wolkovich, Elizabeth; Davies, Jonathan; Ault, Toby; Betancourt, Julio; Allen, Jenica; Bolmgren, Kjell; Cleland, Elsa; Crimmins, Theresa; Kraft, Nathan; Lancaster, Lesley; Mazer, Susan; McCabe, Gregory; McGill, Brian; Parmesan, Camille; Pau, Stephanie; Regetz, James; Salamin, Nicholas; Schwartz, Mark; Travers, Steven. Sensitivity of spring phenology to warming across temporal and spatial climate gradients in two independent databases. Ecosystems, in press.
  • plant phenology
Publication Date:2012-07-04
Data Table, Image, and Other Data Details:
Metadata download: Ecological Metadata Language (EML) File
Data Table:Species list for Harvard Forest data ( View Metadata | Download File download)
Data Table:Luquillo species translation file ( View Metadata | Download File download)
Data Table:NECTAR taxa scrubbing ( View Metadata | Download File download)
Data Table:nectarpheno_raw.csv ( View Metadata | Download File download)
Other Data:mergenectar.R ( View Metadata | Download File download)

Involved Parties

Data Set Creators:
Organization:National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
Individual: Elizabeth Wolkovich
Organization:University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC V6T1Z4 Canada
Email Address:
Data Set Contacts:
Individual: Elizabeth Wolkovich
Organization:University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC V6T1Z4 Canada
Email Address:
Associated Parties:
Individual: Elizabeth Wolkovich
Individual: Benjamin Cook
Individual: James Regetz
Metadata Providers:
Individual: Elizabeth Wolkovich

Data Set Characteristics

Geographic Region:
Geographic Description:Northern hemisphere
Bounding Coordinates:
West:  -107.0000  degrees
East:  20.0000  degrees
North:  9.0000  degrees
South:  67.0000  degrees
Time Period:

Sampling, Processing and Quality Control Methods

Step by Step Procedures
Step 1:  

General disclaimer for all datasets, especially LTER datasets

Please note that we provide information on how we obtained data here without all explicit references to the underlying data usage policies. Data users should consult all data usage notes, expected acknowledgements etc. when obtaining the data! We provide notes on main data collectors/curators and usage statements when possible, but this is not an exhaustive list.

Remember, only you can prevent data fires!

Step 2:  

Obtain dataset: Chinnor (Fitter) data

Fitter data (Chinnor, UK ) available with Fitter & Fitter 2002 Science publication. We downloaded data 20 November 2009 from:;296/5573/1689/DC1

Thanks to R. S. R. Fitter and A. Fitter for posting data with their publication.

Step 3:  

Obtain dataset: Harvard Forest LTER data

We downloaded Harvard Forest LTER 'Phenology of Woody Species' data on 2 May 2010. The following file was used:


Data can be downloaded from Harvard Forest LTER data webportal:

Special thanks to John O'Keefe for posting data.

Step 4:  

Obtain dataset: Hubbard Brook LTER data

We downloaded 'Routine Phenology Measurements' from Hubbard Brook LTER at:

on 30 April 20120, using the file phn.txt. Thanks to Amey Bailey for data collection.

Step 5:  

Obtain dataset: Konza data

We downloaded data for Konza collected by volunteers:

on 30 Nov 2009.

Step 6:  

Obtain dataset: Luquillo LTER data

We downloaded Luquillo LTER 'Phenologies for the Tabonuco Forest trees and shrubs' data including the following files:




on 13 May 2010. Data available through Luquillo Data server:

Thanks to Jess Zimmerman for data.

Step 7:  

Obtain dataset: Niwot LTER data

We downloaded the Niwot Ridge LTER 'Individual plant phenology in nodal plots' data on 2 May 2010 from Niwot LTER datasite:

Using the file: Walker_IndPhenology.txt

Many thanks to Marilyn Walker for collecting data. Please note the required data statement:

Logistical support and/or data were provided by the NSF supported Niwot Ridge Long-Term Ecological Research project and the University of Colorado Mountain Research Station

The user of NWT LTER data agrees to provide proper acknowledgment with each usage of the data. Citation of the name(s) of the investigator(s) responsible for the data set, in addition to the generic statement above, constitute proper acknowledgment. Author(s) (including NWT investigators) of published material that makes use of previously unpublished NWT data agree to provide the NWT data manager with four (4) copies (preferably reprints) of that material for binding as soon as it becomes available. The user of NWT data agrees not to resell or redistribute shared data. The user of these data should be aware that, while efforts have been taken to ensure that these data are of the highest quality, there is no guarantee of perfection for the data contained herein and the possibility of errors exists.

Step 8:  

Obtain datasets: Sevilleta LTER data (core and transects)

We used two different datasets from Sevilleta LTER, first what we called 'sevtrans' is the 'Plant Phenology Transects' and includes:





The other is 'Core Site Phenology' data and includes:


Both datasets use the species file: sev048_1991_meta.dbf and were downloaded on 13 May 2010). Thanks to Kirstin Vanderbilt for data and answering many of our questions. Data were obtained directly from the KNB:

Note the following:

The Data User should acknowledge any institutional support or

specific funding awards referenced in the metadata accompanying this dataset in any

publications where the Data Set contributed significantly to its content.

Acknowledgements should identify the supporting party, the party that received the

support, and any identifying information such as grant numbers. For example:

Data sets were provided by the Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research (LTER)

Program. Significant funding for collection of these data was provided by the National

LTER Home | UNM Sevilleta Field Station Home | Webmail

Home » Information Management Overview

‹ Information Management Overview up Data Collection and Submission

Science Foundation Long Term Ecological Research program (NSF Grant numbers BSR

88-11906, DEB 9411976, DEB 0080529 and DEB 0217774).

5 ) Notification. The Data User will notify the Data Set Contact

Step 9:  

Obtain dataset: Mikesell data

'Mikesell phenological data from Wauseon, Ohio, USA, 1883-1912' data obtained from M. Lechowicz and now publically available at:

Step 10:  

Additional datasets (in progress)

The following datasets are part of NECTAR:

(1) Concord, Massachusetts - 1851 to 2006 (shared courtesy of Richard Primack)

Notes: Please contact Abraham Miller-Rushing ( or Richard Primack ( before using these data.

For supporting information, please see Miller-Rushing and Primack (2008).

The 2003 flowering data is not accurate estimates of first flowering as we were learning the locations of plant species and often found species when they were in full flower or even past full flower.

Cite data as: Miller-Rushing, A.J. and R.B. Primack. 2008. Global warming and flowering times in Thoreau's Concord: a community perspective. Ecology 89: 332-341.

(2) First-flowering dates of plants in the Northern Great Plains (1910-1961 and 2007-2012)

Earlier data published at Ecological Archives (Ecology 90:2332): E090-162-D1 by Steven E. Travers and Kelsey L. Dunnell in 2009.

(3) Data collected by David Inouye in Gothic, Colorado (1975-2009). See:

Inouye, D. W. Effects of climate change on phenology, frost damage, and floral abundance of montane wildflowers. Ecology 89(2), 353–362 (2008).

(4) First flowering dates recorded by farmer Gunnar Johansson between 1934-2006

25 species growing in and around his garden (About half of the species are wild and the other half considered garden plants). The data has been transformed to Julian days and entered by Kjell Bolmgren.

(5) Marsham data (1736-1958). See:

Sparks, T. H. and Carey, P. D. The responses of species to climate over two centuries - an analysis of the Marsham phenological record, 1736-1947. Journal of Ecology 83(2), 321–329 (1995).

(6) Data from Mohonk Lake, New York (1928-2002).

All records listed in Table I were digitized from notecard observations taken by observers at Mohonk Lake over the years. Observations were made along predetermined routes and at specific locations. This methodology helped reduce observer bias or error. Following digitizing, the original notecard records were rechecked and problematic observations were dropped if they clearly exceeded the range of phenological variability of the species in question (the 3-sigma rule). Finally, for this analysis, we also only retained records for which at least 24 observations (years) were available to ensure a reasonable level of significance in our statistical analysis.

See also:

Cook, B. I., Cook, E. R., Huth, P. C., Thompson, J. E., Forster, A., and Smiley, D. Across-taxa phenological dataset from Mohonk Lake, NY and its relationship to climate. International Journal of Climatology 28(10), 1369–1383 (2008).

(7) Data from University of Milwaukee Field Station (2000-2009, courtesy of M. D. Schwartz)

UWMFS location: 43.387 °N, 88.023 °W

Web page:

Event codes:

bb50mdoy is mean day of year among the individuals of that species that 50% of buds on the tree that have broken open, revealing leaves.

l75mdoy is the mean day of year among the individuals of that species that 75% of leaves on the tree are at least 75% of their total size.

l95mdoy is the mean day of year among the individuals of that species that 95% of leaves on the tree are at least 95% of their total size.

See also:

Schwartz, M. D. and Hanes, J. M. Intercomparing multiple measures of the onset of spring in eastern North America. International Journal of Climatology 30(11), 1614–1626 (2010).

(8) Spring flowering records from Washington, DC area.

Data available at:

And additionally extracted from: Abu-Asab, M. S., Peterson, P. M., Shetler, S. G., and Orli, S. S. Earlier plant flowering in spring as a response to global warming in the Washington, DC, area. Biodiversity and Conservation 10(4), 597–612 (2001).

Step 11:  

Taxa scrubbing

Taxon scrubbing of species names occurs with using file: TS_AllTaxa.csv, which was originally an MS Access database file called 'TS_taxonomy_IPNI_1.0.mdb' (unzipped 2006-08-24 16:01) by J. Regetz. Contact J. Regetz for access to this file.

Step 12:  

Merge datasets in R

After obtaining all datasets they can be merged in R using the mergenectar.R file provided. This file should run (outside of taxonomy scrubbing) as long as the structure of the underlying datasets remains unchanged from 2010.

Data Set Usage Rights

no restrictions
Access Control:
Auth System:knb
Allow: [all] uid=nceasadmin,o=NCEAS,dc=ecoinformatics,dc=org
Allow: [all] cn=knb-prod,o=NCEAS,dc=ecoinformatics,dc=org
Allow: [all] cn=esa-moderators,dc=ecoinformatics,dc=org
Allow: [read] [write] uid=wolkovich,o=NCEAS,dc=ecoinformatics,dc=org
Allow: [read] public
Metadata download: Ecological Metadata Language (EML) File