Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Climate change endangers wild bees in high mountains

04.09.2012
If climate change continues unabated, it is likely to endanger numerous wild bees in high mountains and cooler regions of the globe – with unforeseeable consequences for biodiversity there. This is the conclusion being drawn by scientists from the University of Würzburg’s Biocenter based on their research.
Glaciers are melting, permafrost soils are thawing: global warming is also evident in high mountains. And, obviously, the higher temperatures there will have an impact on plants and animals, such as wild bees, the main pollinators of both wild and cultivated plants.

How do different climatic conditions affect the diversity of wild bee species? Which traits of these bees are vital to their survival in alternative climates? This was the subject of the research conducted by Würzburg biologists Bernhard Hoiß, Jochen Krauss, and Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter at Berchtesgaden National Park. “The National Park is perfect for this because you find major differences in altitude there in a confined space and, therefore, major differences in climate as well,” explains Hoiß.

Wild bees at Berchtesgaden National Park

At heights of 600 to 2000 meters, the Würzburg researchers accounted for a total of 87 species of wild bee. Just 19 of these are classified as bumblebees.
The species richness and population numbers are around two to three times greater in the warm, lower-lying areas than in the meadows higher up.

The following traits are common to the communities of species that live in colder conditions: organization into social insect colonies, building of underground nests, larger bodies and a greater altitudinal distribution. The majority of species in higher locations are only spread over a small area and have adjusted to alpine and cool habitats.

Competitive ability decreases as altitude increases

These evolutionary adjustments to adverse climatic conditions in mountainous regions are at the sacrifice of competitiveness. This means that if species with similar needs but less tolerance to the cold were to infiltrate the habitat of “high mountain specialists”, these would be at a disadvantage because, for example, their flowers would now be used as a source of food by other bees as well.

“Their reduced competitive ability could spell disaster for the specialists if the more dominant, heat-loving species conquer alpine habitats as the climate becomes warmer,” says Bernhard Hoiß. This would put the survival of wild bees that specialize in high altitudes in jeopardy. The same effect is expected for regions at high latitudes, such as northern Scandinavia.

Describing the impact on the plant world

How will the forecast depletion of wild bees affect pollination and, with this, the diverse plant communities in the regions concerned? This is the next question the Würzburg biologists are looking to answer. They have already conducted their first experiments relating to this at Berchtesgaden National Park.

These findings were compiled as part of the FORKAST research project. The project is being funded by the Bavarian State Ministry of Sciences, Research and the Arts within the framework of the “Climate Program Bavaria 2020”.

“Altitude acts as an environmental filter on phylogenetic composition, traits and diversity in bee communities”, Bernhard Hoiss, Jochen Krauss, Simon G. Potts, Stuart Roberts, and Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, Proc. R. Soc. B (2012) 00, 1–10, doi:10.1098/rspb.2012.1581

Contact
Bernhard Hoiß, Department of Zoology III (Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology), Biocenter at the University of Würzburg, T +49 (0)931 31-82394, bernhard.hoiss@uni-wuerzburg.de

Gunnar Bartsch | Uni Würzburg
Further information:
http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>