Climate Change Linked to Decline in Bumble Bee Numbers – Research Snipers

Climate Change Linked to Decline in Bumble Bee Numbers

According to a study published in Science, the increase in overall temperatures due to climate change is linked to a drop in the number of Bumble bee in North America and Europe.

The authors of the study have seen how bees have fared over the last century cataloged by museums across North America and Europe. The findings revealed that over 500,000 sightings of 66 bumblebee species was seen in 1901–1974 and 2000–2014. Furthermore, the statistical analysis revealed that in the period from 2000 to 2014 the sightings in North America were down 46% while in Europe the losses were around 17%.

Then the team used the observations and its variations with the local temperature taking variables like land development into account. With this, they were able to predict the local extinction events of species, bumblebees biodiversity and how likely it is that bees can colonize a new area.

A Ph.D. student at the University of Ottawa co-author Peter Soroye said, “Perhaps the most exciting element is that we developed a method to predict extinction risk that works very well for bumblebees and could, in theory, be applied universally to other organisms. With a predictive tool like this, we hope to identify areas where conservation actions would be critical to stopping declines.”

The researchers found out that the decline of bees is related to an increase in average temperature.

Soroye said, “Bumble bees are the best pollinators we have in wild landscapes and the most effective pollinators for crops like tomato, squash, and berries. Our results show that we face a future with many fewer bumblebees and much less diversity, both in the outdoors and on our plates.”

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Entomologist May Berenbaum of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said, “Relative to most other bees, bumblebees are exquisitely adapted to the cold climate and live throughout the world in places that are seasonally cold. They’re effectively sewn into their winter underwear, as it were, so it’s a challenge for them to adjust behaviorally or physiologically to warming temperatures.”

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