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New research confirms plight of bumble bees, persistence of other bees in Northeast
Date:3/4/2013

bee species changed in proportion over time, with 29 percent of the species decreasing and 27 percent increasing. Bees that showed the greatest increase are mostly exotic species that were introduced to North America. Few such species were present in the earliest historical samples but they make up an ever-increasing proportion of more recent samples.

"Environmental change affects species differentially, creating 'losers' that decline with increased human activity but also 'winners' that thrive in human-altered environments," said Ignasi Bartomeus, lead author on the paper who conducted this work as a postdoctoral researcher at Rutgers University. "Certain traits can make species more vulnerable."

The scientists found that declining bee species tend to have larger body sizes, restricted diets, and shorter flight seasons.

They also revealed that "southern" bees reaching their northern distributional limits in the Northeast are increasing, a finding that could reflect a response to climate change. The average April temperature increased by more than one degree during the last 40 years in the study region, causing bees and their host plants to emerge earlier in the season.

Ongoing data capture will continue to expand the bee database so that statistical analyses can be applied across a broader geographic area and to a wider range of species, especially those that are rare in collections and potentially of greatest conservation concern.


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Contact: Kendra Snyder
ksnyder@amnh.org
212-496-3419
American Museum of Natural History
Source:Eurekalert  

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