Sunlight and the Seasons Sunlight and the Seasons Sunlight and the Seasons Journey North Home Live Cam Resources Maps Report Your Daylight Hours News
  About Sunlight and the Seasons
Getting Started
Robin in snowstorm North American Bullfrog oirole Crocus

How Seasons Change Ecosystems
Sunlight drives all living systems. Seasonal changes in sunlight affect the entire web of life:

Fall: Energy from the sun decreases. Temperatures drop. Plants die back or go dormant. Less food is available to animals. Some migrate, some hibernate, and others rely on other physical adaptations.

Spring: Energy from the sun increases. Temperatures rise. Plant growth increases. Migratory animals return. Those that eat plants appear first, followed by their predators — and so on up the food chain. Watch the food chain rebuild as the season progresses.

Track Seasonal Change
Observe the natural world closely. Record data, take photos, and make drawings. Look for patterns of seasonal change, and note webs of connections. By studying the timing of seasonal changes, students think like scientists who look for clues about how climate and other factors affect living things.

Share Your Observations
The observations you contribute to Journey North become part of a permanent database. Scientists can use Journey North data to monitor how living things are responding to changes in climate.

Phenology: The Seasonal Timing of Life Cycle Events

The phenology of a dandelion

Phenology is the study of the seasonal timing of life cycle events. You are studying phenology when you record the date a certain plant grows, a tree's leaves emerge, an insect hatches, or a migratory bird appears on its nesting grounds. The dates on which these happen each year are affected by factors such as daylength, temperature, and rainfall.

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Tracking Seasonal Change

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Seasonal Change
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