Seasons and Life Cycles

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Science  15 May 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5929, pp. 886-887
DOI: 10.1126/science.1171542

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An apparent contradiction has arisen in studies of plant phenological response to climatic warming: Field and satellite data at the community and biome levels indicate a lengthening of the growing season across much of the Northern Hemisphere (16) and—where data exist—in the Southern Hemisphere (5, 7, 8), yet life history observations of individual species suggest that many species often shorten their life cycle in response to warming (912). Here, we pair evolutionary and ecological viewpoints to resolve this conundrum.