This year, fall in Gambier is less spectacular than it has been in years past. This is due to warmer nightly temperatures in September and early October, according to Assistant Professor of Biology Chris Bickford.
“Temperatures at night set triggers for what’s to come,” he said.
This autumn, many leaves died immediately rather than first transitioning to vibrant colors, a fact Bickford attributes to an unseasonably cool August and unseasonably warm fall nights.
Though he was not sure of central Ohio’s longer-term climatic patterns, Bickford did indicate that climate change has the potential to impact Gambier’s idyllic fall. Specifically, he said it could change carbon uptake and the activities and behaviors of insect communities.
“It affects the leaves,” he said, “but it also has an effect on the whole ecosystem around the leaf, and that can have just as much of an effect on what you are seeing in the changing colors.”