New research from a team of scientists and their collaborators from Florida State University is helping to connect the climate changes we’re facing and a dramatic decline in bumble bee population all over the planet. The study was published in the famous Ecology Letters journal. The scientists were researching three types of bumble bees species in Rocky Mountains, Colorado. Some of them are facing huge problems, because for them, the changing climate means the lack of good quality flowers to go around.
“Knowing whether climate variation most affects bumble bees directly or indirectly will allow us to better predict how bumble bee populations will cope with continued climate change”
said Jane Ogilvie, the Florida State University postdoctoral researcher who was the study’s lead investigator. The research team found out that the abundances of all of the bee species were affected by indirect effects of climate. Since the global climate and weather conditions change from year to year, the seasonal cycles are not always the same, meaning they shift due to the climate changes facing. In mountain areas like the ones researched snow starts to melt earlier than before and so is the flowering season extended. At first, the extended flowering season could seem like there are more opportunities for all those bees to feed, but the truth is different. The research has shown that, when the snow melts earlier and the flowering season extends, there is a longer period of poor flower availability which in the end results in lack of food for the bees which can later be associated with the population decline.
Declining of the number of living bees has been a cause for alarm among many biologist and scientists. Bees are well known for having annual life cycles, a lot shorter than people, so they quickly show response to any change in the environment they live in. Moreover, bees are very important factor for agricultural productivity and propagation of plant seeds.
The damage inflicted by climate change on global pollinator populations is of particular concern for scientists, as these species are crucial to agricultural productivity and the propagation of natural plant communities.
The team is worried that the research will show the problem is even deeper and more complex than previously thought. The further research will continue, hoping the team will find the cause and the possible solutions to the problem of population decline