November 19, 2008


RMP with Benton Basham of Tennessee and Weslaco, TX. Ben is a top birder and butterflier who has been extremely helpful to me. Photo by Jan Dauphin.


My dear friends of almost fifty years, Floyd and June Preston, and major field contributors to our knowledge of the U.S. butterfly fauna. Photo by Ben Basham.


A rare and pristine Gold-spotted Aguna, encountered at the NABA Butterfly Park. Photo by Ben Basham.


A fabulous fig sphinx moth (Pachylia ficus) found as a pupa in Weslaco, photo by Ben Basham.





Pitcher plants photographed at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Field Station by Susan S. Borkin.

Susan Borkin photographed on the bog boardwalk at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Field Station.

Bob Pyle on the Bog boardwalk at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Field Station. Photo by Susan Borkin.
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Swamp metalmark larva photographed at Riveredge Nature Center, Ozaukee County WI by Susan S. Borkin.


Swamp metalmark adult photographed at Riveredge Nature Center, Ozaukee County WI by Susan S. Borkin.

Ann and Scott Swengel looking for karner blue eggs. Photo by Bob Pyle.

Bob Pyle looking for karner blue eggs. Photo by Ann and Scott Swengel.

Karner blue egg.

Bob Pyle and Ann Swengel at the Bauer Brockway Barrens. Photo by Scott Swengel.

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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.