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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #381973

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: Reduction in the potential distribution of bumble bees (Apidae: Bombus) in Mesoamerica under different climate change scenarios: conservation implications

Author
item MARTINEZ-LOPEZ, OSCAR - Colegio De La Frontera
item Koch, Jonathan
item MARTINEZ-MORALES, MIGUEL - Colegio De La Frontera
item NAVARRETE-GUTIERREZ, DARIO - Colegio De La Frontera
item ENRIQUEZ, EUNICE - University Of San Carlos Guatemala
item VANDAME, REMY - Colegio De La Frontera

Submitted to: Global Change Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/4/2021
Publication Date: 2/17/2021
Citation: Martinez-Lopez, O., Koch, J., Martinez-Morales, M., Navarrete-Gutierrez, D., Enriquez, E., Vandame, R. 2021. Reduction in the potential distribution of bumble bees (Apidae: Bombus) in Mesoamerica under different climate change scenarios: conservation implications. Global Change Biology. 27(9):1772-1787. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15559.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15559

Interpretive Summary: Bumble bees are an ecologically and economically important group of pollinating insects. However global climate change is predicted to affect bumble bee habitat suitability and geographic distribution. Our study aims to estimate the impact of projected climate change on 18 Mesoamerican bumble bee species using ecological niche models and future climate emission scenarios. Our results suggest that all 18 bumble bee species are predicted to undergo a reduction in their potential distribution and habitat suitability due to projected climate change. Ecological niche models based on low emission scenarios predict a distribution loss ranging from 7% to 67% depending on the species for the year 2050. Furthermore, we discovered that the reduction of bumble bee geographic range shape will be more evident at the margins of their distribution. Depending on the species, the reduction of habitat is predicted to be accompanied by a 100 – 500 m upslope change in altitude and 1 – 581 km shift away from the current geographic center of a species’ distribution. On average, protected natural areas in Mesoamerica cover ~14% of each species’ current potential distribution, and this proportion is predicted to increase to ~23% in the high emission climate change scenarios. Our models predict that climate change will reduce Mesoamerican bumble bee habitat suitability, especially for rare species, by reducing their potential distribution ranges and suitability. The small proportion of current and future potential distribution falling in protected natural areas suggests that such areas will likely have marginal contribution to bumble bee habitat conservation. Our results have the capacity to inform stakeholders in designing effective landscape management for bumble bees, which may include developing restoration plans for montane pine-oak forests habitats and native flowering plants.

Technical Abstract: Bumble bees are an ecologically and economically important group of pollinating insects worldwide. However global climate change is predicted to affect bumble bee ecology including habitat suitability and geographic distribution. Our study aims to estimate the impact of projected climate change on 18 Mesoamerican bumble bee species. We used ecological niche modeling (ENM) using current and future climate emissions scenarios (RCP 4.5, 6.0 & 8.5) and models (CCSM4, HadGEM2-AO, MIROC-ESM-CHEM). Regardless of the scenario and model applied, our results suggest that all 18 bumble bee species are predicted to undergo a reduction in their potential distribution and habitat suitability due to projected climate change. ENMs based on low emission scenarios predict a distribution loss ranging from 7% to 67% depending on the species for the year 2050. Furthermore, we discovered that the reduction of bumble bee geographic range shape will be more evident at the margins of their distribution. Depending on the species, the reduction of suitable habitat is predicted to be accompanied by a 100 – 500 m upslope change in altitude and 1 – 581 km shift away from the current geographic centroid of a species’ distribution. On average, protected natural areas in Mesoamerica cover ~14% of each species’ current potential distribution, and this proportion is predicted to increase to ~23% in the high emission climate change scenarios. Our models predict that climate change will reduce Mesoamerican bumble bee habitat suitability, especially for rare species, by reducing their potential distribution ranges and suitability. The small proportion of current and future potential distribution falling in protected natural areas suggests that such areas will likely have marginal contribution to bumble bee habitat conservation. Our results have the capacity to inform stakeholders in designing effective landscape management for bumble bees, which may include developing restoration plans for montane pine-oak forests habitats and native flowering plants.