July 14, 2008

In the field with butterfly lovers, Severson Dells Nature Center, Rockford, Illinois. Photo by Sally Agnew.

A compliant Tawny Emperor poses for identification (it came on its own). Photo by Sally Agnew.

Regal Fritillary, one of hundreds in an Illinois milkweed meadow. Photo by Jim Wiker.

With Jim Wiker, the immensely helpful co-author of The Skippers of Illinois and reigning authority on the handsome and fascinating, root-boring moths in the genus Papeipema; and Don Miller, education director of the superb Severson Dells Nature Center, great naturalist, and generally good guy. These fellas showed Bob a fine time in the Midwest, assisted by plenty of mosquitoes, chiggers, and ticks. Photo by Sally Agnew.


 

The Xerces Society • 628 NE Broadway Ste 200, Portland OR 97232 USA • tel 855.232.6639 • fax 503.233.6794 • info@xerces.org
site mapcontactgivecontact the webmaster
The Xerces Society » News

Bumblebees in severe and rapid decline from climate change — study

Malavika Vyawahare, ClimateWire

The heat is beginning to sting for bumblebees. As the Earth warms, they are being driven out of their habitats in North America and Europe, according to a new study published in Science.

“They have disappeared from places they used to be found,” said Jeremy Kerr, an ecologist and one of the lead authors of the paper. “If these species are losing range at the rate at which we are observing here, that cannot go on for long before many of these species go extinct.”

By studying the distribution of 67 bumblebee species on the two continents over a 110-year period the authors concluded that human-induced climate change was a “significant cause of rapid declines in bumblebee populations.” The results are a grim reminder that not all species are adapting to climate change, experts said.

Warming temperatures are forcing bumblebees to retreat from the southern boundaries of their range while being unable to settle in regions farther north, the research found, effectively trapping them in what the authors called a “climate vise.”

Read more at EENews.net.


A ‘Climate Vise’ is Squeezing Bumble Bees’ Range

Brian Kahn, Climate Central

If you’ve hiked through a meadow in bloom in Europe or North America, you’ve probably heard the buzz and seen the lazy meanderings of bumble bees from flower to flower. Yet what was once a common sight on the southern end of their range is becoming rare or nonexistent.

According to new research published in the journal Science, climate change could be intimately tied with the plight of the prolific pollinator. But unlike other species that are shifting northward in response to warming temperatures, the majority of bumble bees species included in the new study are failing to expand their range. Because they can occupy a niche as early and late season pollinators, farmers, forests and flowers could all suffer from their disappearance.

“They’ve run up against a wall,” Jeremy Kerr, a biologist at the University of Ottawa, said. “They just aren’t colonizing new areas and finding new locations. Bumblebees are caught in a climate vise.”

Kerr led the new research, which analyzed a massive dataset of 423,000 observations of bumble bees across North America and Europe stretching back to the start of the 20th century. The results show that despite 4.5°F of warming that has made the northern end of their range more habitable, bees are failing to follow the heat even as they are disappearing on the southern fringes at an alarming clip.

Read more at ClimateCentral.org


Bumblebees being crushed by climate change

Cally Carswell, ScienceMag.org

As the climate changes, plants and animals are on the move. So far, many are redistributing in a similar pattern: As habitat that was once too cold warms up, species are expanding their ranges toward the poles, whereas boundaries closer to the equator have remained more static.

Bumblebees, however, appear to be a disturbing exception, according to a study in Science today. A comprehensive look at dozens of species, it finds that many North American and European bumblebees are failing to “track” warming by colonizing new habitats north of their historic range. Simultaneously, they are disappearing from the southern portions of their range.

“Climate change is crushing [bumblebee] species in a vice,” says ecologist Jeremy Kerr of the University of Ottawa in Canada, the study’s lead author. The findings underscore the importance of conserving the habitat the insects currently persist in, says Rich Hatfield, a biologist with the Xerces Society for Insect Conservation in Portland, Oregon, who was not involved in the study. Where bumblebees vanish, the wild plants and crops they pollinate could also suffer.

Read more at ScienceMag.org.