Bees and flowers seem inseparable harbingers of spring, but what happens when pollinators emerge later than their sources of nectar and pollen? Reporting on the first community-wide assessment of 67 bee species of the Colorado Rockies, ecologists Michael Stemkovski of Utah State University and Rebecca Irwin of North Carolina State University say “phenological mismatch,” changing timing of life cycles between bees and flowers, caused by climate change, has the potential to disrupt a mutually beneficial relationship.
“We analysed time-series abundance data collected at 18 sites around the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) in the Elk Mountains of western Colorado during a nine-year, National Science Foundation-funded bee monitoring project,” says Stemkovski, doctoral student in USU’s Department of Biology and the USU Ecology Center. MORE
Header image: A black-banded miner bee on Rocky Mountain goldenrod near Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. USU ecologists were part of an NSF-funded, multi-institution study of temporal mismatch in pollinator-plant systems. Credit: David Inouye, RMBL.