Bumblebees play a crucial role in the pollination of multibillion-dollar crops, contributing to yearly crop yields and increasing diversity in foods available for us to consume.
Bumblebees play a crucial role in the pollination of multibillion-dollar crops, contributing to yearly crop yields and increasing diversity in foods available for us to consume. Bumblebees are especially valuable to agro-industry because these insects tolerate cooler temperatures than other bees. They also use a unique technique called “buzz pollination”, where they vibrate their flight muscles to gather pollen from flowers. Such abilities also make them important contributors in maintaining the diversity and abundance of wild plants, adding to the proper functioning and stability of natural ecosystems.
A new study, led by University of Ottawa researchers Catherine Sirois-Delisle and Jeremy Kerr, shows that the far more dramatic climate changes expected in the coming decades will have even greater impact on these critical pollinators, regardless of climate scenarios or assumptions about how fast bumblebees can move away from the worst affected areas.
“We discovered that bumblebee decline is expected to worsen at unprecedented rates across much of North America in the next 50 years,” explained Catherine Sirois-Delisle, a PhD student in biology at uOttawa.
Indeed, widespread climate-driven bumblebee losses are expected in agricultural areas, where bees are already struggling with habitat loss and exposure to agricultural chemicals, further threatening the fundamental pollination services they provide in these areas.
Continue reading at University of Ottawa.
Image via University of Ottawa.