Trends Ecol Evol. 2022 Jun 6:S0169-5347(22)00112-4. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2022.05.001. Online ahead of print.
Earth’s most speciose biomes are in the tropics, yet tropical plant phenology remains poorly understood. Tropical phenological data are comparatively scarce and viewed through the lens of a ‘temperate phenological paradigm’ expecting phenological traits to respond to strong, predictably annual shifts in climate (e.g., between subfreezing and frost-free periods). Digitized herbarium data greatly expand existing phenological data for tropical plants; and circular data, statistics, and models are more appropriate for analyzing tropical (and temperate) phenological datasets. Phylogenetic information, which remains seldom applied in phenological investigations, provides new insights into phenological responses of large groups of related species to climate. Consistent combined use of herbarium data, circular statistical distributions, and robust phylogenies will rapidly advance our understanding of tropical – and temperate – phenology.