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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #376289

Research Project: Sustainable Crop Production and Wildland Preservation through the Management, Systematics, and Conservation of a Diversity of Bees

Location: Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research

Title: Bee phenology is predicted by climatic variation and functional traits

item STEMKOVSKI, MICHAEL - Utah State University
item PEARSE, WILLIAM - Utah State University
item GRIFFIN, SEAN - North Carolina State University
item PARDEE, GABRIELLA - North Carolina State University
item GIBBS, JASON - University Of Manitoba
item Griswold, Terry
item NEFF, JACK - Non ARS Employee
item ORAM, RYAN - Royal Saskatchewan Museum
item RIGHTMYER, MOLLY - San Diego Natural History Museum
item SHEFFIELD, CORY - Royal Saskatchewan Museum
item WRIGHT, KAREN - Texas A&M University
item INOUYE, BRIAN - Florida State University
item IRWIN, REBECCA - North Carolina State University

Submitted to: Ecology Letters
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/14/2020
Publication Date: 8/19/2020
Citation: Stemkovski, M., Pearse, W.D., Griffin, S.R., Pardee, G.L., Gibbs, J., Griswold, T.L., Neff, J., Oram, R., Rightmyer, M.G., Sheffield, C., Wright, K., Inouye, B.D., Irwin, R.E. 2020. Bee phenology is predicted by climatic variation and functional traits. Ecology Letters. 23(11):1589-1598.

Interpretive Summary: Climate change is changing the timing of activity of animals and plants. It is possible that animals and plants that interact, and depend on each other to be active at the same season, may shift activity in different ways. Sixty-seven bee species in the Colorado Rocky Mountains were studied for nine years to see if there were changes in the timing of their activity and what might be the causes. Bee emergence was sensitive to the timing of snowmelt. Bee activity also depended on whether they overwintered as adults or larvae and whether they nested in the ground or in above ground cavities.

Technical Abstract: Climate change is shifting the environmental cues that determine the phenology of interacting species. Plant-pollinator systems may be susceptible to temporal mismatch if bees and flowering plants differ in their phenological responses to warming temperatures. While the cues that trigger flowering are well understood, little is known about what determines bee phenology. We used a novel statistical approach on time-series data representing 67 bee species collected over nine years in the Colorado Rocky Mountains to perform the first community-wide quantification of the drivers of bee phenology. Bee emergence was sensitive to climatic variation, primarily snowmelt timing, while later phenophases were best explained by functional traits including overwintering stage and nest location. Comparison of these findings to a long-term flower study indicating potential for reduced synchrony of flowers and pollinators under climate change.