International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 62, Issue 4, pp 513–523 | Cite as

Spatio-temporal flowering patterns in Mediterranean Poaceae. A community study in SW Spain

  • J. Cebrino
  • J. L. García-Castaño
  • E. Domínguez-Vilches
  • C. Galán
Original Paper


This study focused on phenological timing and spatial patterns in 30 Poaceae species flowering in spring in different types of plant cover (scrub, riverbank and pasture). Grass community composition was studied, and the influence of species and plant cover on the start date and duration of flowering was assessed from March to June in both 2014 and 2015. Twenty-nine sampling sites were selected for phenological monitoring using the BBCH scale. Data were subjected to GLMM analyses. Binary discriminant analysis revealed differences in grass community composition as a function of plant cover type; scrub cover comprised a considerably larger number of species than those in riverbank and pasture. Moreover, more species diversity was observed in 2014 than in 2015 with a drier and stressed pre-flowering period. Differences on phenology were also recorded between plant cover types and study years. Species in pasture and riverbank flowered before (113.4 days; 116.1 days) than species in scrub (120.9 days), being these species with shorter flowering length because they are more exposed to the characteristic of the Mediterranean region during the summer. In general, flowering onset occurred later in 2014 (118.2 days) than in 2015 (115.8 days), probably attributable to precipitation occurring during March. On the other hand, spatial autocorrelation within some cover types has been observed, showing spatial patterns exist at a smaller scale. The findings of this study contribute to a better understanding of grass phenology in different environments.


Grasses Plant cover Phenology Spatial patterns Flowering 



This study was partly supported by the project CGL2014-54731-R, “Study on phenological trends in plants of W Mediterranean and its relation to climate change (FENOMED)”, financed by the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación. The authors are also grateful to the Excellence Research Project “Analysis and Dynamic of Airborne Pollen in Andalusia (P10-RNM-5958)”, financed by the Junta de Andalucía, for funding this work.

Compliance with ethical standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


  1. Aboulaich N, Bouziane H, Kadiri M, del Mar-Trigo M, Riadi H, Kazzaz M et al (2009) Pollen production in anemophilous species of the Poaceae family in Tetouan (NW Morocco). Aerobiologia 25(1):27–38. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agencia de Meterología de España (AEMET) (2011) Guía resumida del clima en España (1981–2010). Available: http://wwwaemetes/es/conocermas/publicaciones/detalles/guia_resumida_2010 Accessed Sept 2016 16
  3. Alcázar P, Stach A, Nowak M, Galán C (2009) Comparison of airborne herb pollen types in Córdoba (southwestern Spain) and Poznan (western Poland). Aerobiologia 25(2):55–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. ArcGIS9 (2009) ArcGIS ArcView version 9.3. ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc.), Redlands, p 1Google Scholar
  5. Arturi MF, Pérez CA, Robles ST, Plata L (2010) Plant traits and canopy types: seasonal and local variation in a grazed semi-deciduous temperate woodland. Phytocoenologia 40(4):245–253. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barbieri R, Botarelli L, Salsi A, Zinoni F (1989) Guida alle rilevazioni agrofenologiche ed alla compilazione delle schede di rilevamento per le colture erbacee ed arboree. E.R.S.A, BolognaGoogle Scholar
  7. Bliss LC (1962) Adaptations of arctic and alpine plants to environmental conditions. Arctic 15(2):117–144.  10.14430/arctic3564 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blondel J (2006) The ‘design’ of Mediterranean landscapes: a millennial story of humans and ecological systems during the historic period. Hum Ecol 34(5):713–729. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cebrino J, Galán C, Domínguez-Vilches E (2016) Aerobiological and phenological study of the main Poaceae species in Cordoba City (Spain) and the surrounding hills. Aerobiologia 32(4):595–606. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cerling TE, Levin NE, Quade J, Wynn JG, Fox DL, Kingston JD et al (2010) Comment on the paleoenvironment of Ardipithecus ramidus. Science 328(5982):1105–1105. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chapin FS, Randerson JT, McGuire AD, Foley JA, Field CB (2008) Changing feedbacks in the climate-biosphere system. Front Ecol Environ 6:313–320. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Clary J, Savé R, Biel C, Herralde F (2004) Water relations in competitive interactions of Mediterranean grasses and shrubs. An Appl Biol 144(2):149–155. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. CMA (2007) Mapa de Usos y Coberturas Vegetales del suelo de Andalucía. Consejería Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía, EspañaGoogle Scholar
  14. Cook BI, Wolkovich EM, Parmesan C (2012) Divergent responses to spring and winter warming drive community level flowering trends. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109(23):9000–9005. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dai J, Wang H, Ge Q (2013) The spatial pattern of leaf phenology and its response to climate change in China. Int J Biometeorol 58:521–528. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Devesa JA, Carrión JS (2012) Las plantas con flor: apuntes sobre su origen, clasificación y diversidad. Servicio de Publicaciones, Universidad de Córdoba, EspañaGoogle Scholar
  17. Forrest J, Miller-Rushing AJ (2010) Toward a synthetic understanding of the role of phenology in ecology and evolution. Phil Trans R Soc B: Biol Sci 365(1555):3101–3112. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Frenguelli G, Passalacqua G, Bonini S, Fiocchi A, Incorvaia C, Marcucci F et al (2010) Bridging allergologic and botanical knowledge in seasonal allergy: a role for phenology. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 105(3):223–227. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Galán C, García-Mozo H, Vázquez L, Ruiz-Valenzuela L, Díaz de la Guardia C, Trigo-Pérez M (2005) Heat requirement for the onset of the Olea Europaea L. pollen season in several places of Andalusia region and the effect of the expected future climate change. Int J Biometeorol 49(3):184–188. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Galán C, Alcázar P, Oteros J, García-Mozo H, Aira MJ, Belmonte J et al (2016) Airborne pollen trends in the Iberian Peninsula. Sci Total Environ 550:53–59. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. García de León D, García-Mozo H, Galán C, Alcázar P, Lima M, González-Andújar JL (2015) Disentangling the effects of feedback structure and climate on Poaceae annual airborne pollen fluctuations and the possible consequences of climate change. Sci Total Environ 530:103–109. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. García-Mozo H, Galán C, Jato V, Belmonte J, de la Guardia CD, Fernández D et al (2006) Quercus pollen season dynamics in the Iberian Peninsula: response to meteorological parameters and possible consequences of climate change. Ann Agric Environ Med 13(2):209Google Scholar
  23. García-Mozo H, Galán C, Belmonte J, Bermejo D, Candau P, Díaz de la Guardia C et al (2009) Predicting the start and peak dates of the Poaceae pollen season in Spain using process-based models. Agric For Meteorol 149:256–262. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. García-Mozo H, Mestre A, Galán C (2010) Phenological trends in southern Spain: a response to climate change. Agric For Meteorol 150(4):575–580. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ghitarrini S, Galán C, Frenguelli G, Tedeschini E (2017) Phenological analysis of grasses (Poaceae) as a support for the dissection of their pollen season in Perugia (Central Italy). Aerobiologia 33(3):339–349.
  26. Gibb S, Strimmer K (2015) Differential protein expression and peak selection in mass spectrometry data by binary discriminant analysis.
  27. Gordo O, Sanz JJ (2005) Phenology and climate change: a long-term study in a Mediterranean locality. Oecol 146(3):484–495. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gordo O, Sanz JJ (2010) Impact of climate change on plant phenology in Mediterranean ecosystems. Glob Chang Biol 16(3):1082–1106. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Greenworks PC, West C, Engineers KC (2001) Willamette riverbank design notebook: Portland, Oregon. Bureau of Environmental Services - Portland Development Commission, USAGoogle Scholar
  30. Hartel T, Dorresteijn I, Klein C, Máthé O, Moga CI, Öllerer K et al (2013) Wood-pastures in a traditional rural region of Eastern Europe: characteristics, management and status. Biol Conserv 166:267–275. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Herrera J (1987) Flower and fruit biology in southern Spanish Mediterranean shrublands. Ann Missouri Bot Gard 74:69–78. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jochner S, Ziello C, Böck A, Estrella N, Buters J, Weichenmeier I et al (2012) Spatio-temporal investigation of flowering dates and pollen counts in the topographically complex Zugspitze area on the German–Austrian border. Aerobiologia 28(4):541–556. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kmenta M, Bastl K, Kramer MF, Hewings SJ, Mwange J, Zetter R et al (2016) The grass pollen season 2014 in Vienna: a pilot study combining phenology, aerobiology and symptom data. Sci Total Environ 566:1614–1620. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lee KW, Chen PW, SM Y (2014) Metabolic adaptation to sugar/O2 deficiency for anaerobic germination and seedling growth in rice. Plant Cell Environ 37(10):2234–2244. Google Scholar
  35. León-Ruiz E, Alcázar P, Domínguez-Vilches E, Galán C (2011) Study of Poaceae phenology in a Mediterranean climate. Which species contribute most to airbone pollen counts? Aerobiologia 21(1):37–50. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. León-Ruiz E, García-Mozo H, Domínguez-Vilches E, Galán C (2012) The use of geostatistics in the study of floral phenology of Vulpia geniculata (L) Link. Sci World J 2012(2012):624247. Google Scholar
  37. Meier U (2001) Growth stages of mono- and dicotyledonous plants. BBCH monograph. German Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  38. Menzel A, Sparks TH, Estrella N, Koch E, Aasa A, Ahas R et al (2006) European phenological response to climate change matches the warming pattern. Glob Chang Biol 12(10):1969–1976. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Morellato LPC, Camargo MGG, Gressler E (2013) A review of plant phenology in south and central America. In: Schwartz MD (ed) Phenology: an integrative environmental science. Springer, Netherlands, pp 91–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Naveh Z, Whittaker RH (1980) Structural and floristic diversity of shrublands and woodlands in northern Israel and other Mediterranean areas. Vegetatio 41(3):171–190. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Peñuelas J, Filella I, Comas P (2002) Changed plant and animal life cycles from 1952 to 2000 in the Mediterranean region. Glob Chang Biol 8(6):531–544. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Peñuelas P, Filella I, Zhang X, Llorens L, Ogaya R, Lloret F et al (2004) Complex spatiotemporal phenological shifts as a response to rainfall changes. New Phytol 161:837–846. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Phillips M, Allen E (2015) Changes in above- and below-ground phenological relations across type-converted invaded grasslands in southern California, proposal for Shipley-Skinner Reserve–Riverside County. University of California, USAGoogle Scholar
  44. Plaza MP, Alcázar P, Hernández-Ceballos MA, Galán C (2016) Mismatch in aeroallergens and airborne grass pollen concentrations. Atmos Environ 144:361–369. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Prieto-Baena JC, Hidalgo PJ, Domínguez-Vilches E, Galán C (2003) Pollen production in the Poaceae family. Grana 42(3):153–159. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. QGIS Development Team (2014) QGIS geographic information system. Open Source Geospatial Foundation Project.
  47. R Core Team (2013) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna Google Scholar
  48. Richardson AD, Keenan TF, Migliavacca M, Ryu Y, Sonnentag O, Toomey M (2013) Climate change, phenology, and phenological control of vegetation feedbacks to the climate system. Agric For Meteorol 169:156–173. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sánchez-Mesa JA, Smith M, Emberlin J, Allitt U, Caulton E, Galán C (2003) Characteristics of grass pollen seasons in areas of southern Spain and the United Kingdom. Aerobiologia 19(3–4):243–250. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sánchez-Mesa JA, Galán C, Hervás C (2005) The use of discriminant analysis and neural networks to forecast the severity of the Poaceae pollen season in a region with a typical Mediterranean climate. Int J Biometeorol 49(6):355–362. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Schwartz MD (2013) Introduction. In: Schwartz MD (ed) Phenology: an integrative environmental science. Springer, Netherlands, pp 1–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Spano D, Snyder RL, Cesaraccio C (2013) Mediterranean phenology. In: Schwartz MD (ed) Phenology: an integrative environmental science. Springer, Netherlands, pp 173–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tormo R, Silva I, Gonzalo Á, Moreno A, Pérez R, Fernández S (2011) Phenological records as a complement to aerobiological data. Int J Biometeorol 55(1):51–65. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Volaire F, Norton M (2006) Summer dormancy in perennial temperate grasses. Ann Bot 98:927–933. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Watson L, Dallwitz MJ (1992) The grass genera of the world. CAB International, WallingfordGoogle Scholar
  56. White JF, Bernstein DI (2003) Key pollen allergens in North America. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 9:425–435. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© ISB 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Botany, Ecology and Plant PhysiologyUniversity of CórdobaCórdobaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Plant Biology and EcologyUniversity of SevilleSevilleSpain

Personalised recommendations