As climate change sets in, plants and bees keep pace

Dec 12, 2011

No laggards, those bees and plants.

As due to climate change encroach winter, bees and plants keep pace.

An analysis of bee collection data over the past 130 years shows that spring arrives about 10 days earlier than in the 1880s, and bees and have kept pace by arriving earlier in lock-step.

The study also found that most of this shift has occurred since 1970, when the change in mean has increased most rapidly, according to Bryan Danforth, Cornell professor of entomology, who co-authored a study published the (Dec. 5, 2011.)

"It's an illustration of how valuable our natural history collections are at Cornell, even if you don't know in advance how these collections might be used," says Danforth. Lead author Ignasi Bartomeus and senior author Rachael Winfree are both entomologists at Rutgers University.

Although the triggers for bee spring emergence are unknown, bees may simply be cued to emerge when temperatures rise above a threshold over a number of days, but "if climate change accelerates the way it is expected to, we don't know if bees will continue to keep up," says Danforth.

Explore further: Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Native bees are better pollinators than honeybees

Oct 25, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- The honeybee has hogged the pollination spotlight for centuries, but native bees are now getting their fair share of buzz: They are two to three times better pollinators than honeybees, are ...

Halictid bees' social behavior studied

Mar 13, 2006

Cornell University scientists say the social behavior of many species of sweat bees evolved simultaneously during a period of global warming.

History of 'cuckoo bees' needs a rewrite, study says

Sep 13, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- The evolutionary history of the bee family Apidae -- which has the largest number of species and includes honeybees -- may need a major revision, according to a new Cornell study published online ...

Researcher identifies 11 new sweat bee species

Nov 15, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- When a scientist discovers a new species, one of hardest tasks is naming it. A Cornell researcher faced this challenge many times over when he discovered 11 new U.S. sweat bee species (subgenus ...

Bees are good informers

Sep 09, 2011

Honeybees can do far more than simply pollinate plants or make honey. The busy creatures also make excellent environmental monitors. This has been demonstrated by Wageningen UR bee researcher Sjef van der Steen. He used ...

Asian bees threaten Australia

Jun 15, 2007

Four swarms of Asian bees found in Cairns, Australia, may pose a serious threat to the country's honey bee population.

Recommended for you

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

10 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Orchid named after UC Riverside researcher

Apr 17, 2014

One day about eight years ago, Katia Silvera, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, and her father were on a field trip in a mountainous area in central Panama when they stumbled ...

In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises

Apr 17, 2014

Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 have discovered little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives. The Brazilian insects, which represent four distinct but re ...

Fear of the cuckoo mafia

Apr 17, 2014

If a restaurant owner fails to pay the protection money demanded of him, he can expect his premises to be trashed. Warnings like these are seldom required, however, as fear of the consequences is enough to ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Nanobanano
1 / 5 (2) Dec 12, 2011
spring arrives about 10 days earlier than in the 1880s


Needs some sort of qualification of how you define "spring", as it is a traditional astronomical classification.

Also, specify region or latitude or something.
Pirouette
3 / 5 (2) Dec 12, 2011
Well, Rutgers is in New Jersey and I THINK Cornell is in Connecticut, not sure about Cornell's location offhand. Both being in the NorthEast, I think it's safe to say the researchers have localized their study to that region. The emergence of Spring flowers in full bloom would naturally trigger the almost simultaneous emergence of bees also, since bees gather pollen to feed the colony and delays are costly for the hive. I believe that bees are attuned naturally to the changes in air temperature and Earth's distance from the Sun. . . .although a sudden cold snap could send them back to the hive quickly. Some of my neighbors are beekeepers. I'll need to ask them what they think of this. Climate warming may be beneficial to bees; they will have that much more time to gather their food from field flowers, and thereby pollinate the flowers to ensure a good crop the year after also.

More news stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...