A new study conducted by researchers from the Universities of Ottawa and Calgary has shown that global warming is affecting the bumblebees’ habitats making them shrink. Bumblebees in North America and Europe are in danger of disappearance. More details were published in the journal Science.
Scientists have explained that other species can adapt to climate changes to a certain extent and thus expand their habitat, but the changing climate conditions have not allowed bumblebees expand their habitat. The insects have not expanded north as it would normally be expected. Most wildlife species are forced to get closer to the North Pole, but bumblebees are held at the northern most range and at the same time they lose ground in the south very fast.
Professor Laurence Packer from York University is one of the co-authors of the study and an expert on bumblebees. He said that he is most concerned with the different ways in which climate changes affect various species. Packer was surprised with the discovery. He expected the bees to decline but did not expect such a large number of bees to disappear. According to him the fact that the bumblebees are not moving north is really worrying..
The lead author of the study, Jeremy Herr of the University of Ottawa, remarked:
“Picture a vice, now picture the bumble bee habitat in the middle of the vice. As the climate warms, bumblebee species are being crushed as the ‘climate vice’ compresses their geographical ranges. The result is widespread, rapid declines of pollinators across continents, effects that are not due to pesticide use or habitat loss. It looks like it’s just too hot.”
Bumblebees are essential pollinators so they are a very important piece of ecological puzzle. This widespread and quick decline in the bumblebee population will result in shortage of food supply for humans. Another co-author of the study, Paul Galpern, is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Ecology at the Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary. According to him bumblebees play a critical role not only for crops but for all types of plants. They play a critical role in the ecosystem: they help plants produce seeds, fruits thus providing not only food but also habitat for other animals as well.
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