Winters are getting warmer, oceans are rising, and now, bumblebees are dying, according to a study on the effect of climate change on one of the world's most efficient pollinators, CBS News reported.
In a study of 66 bumblebee species in North America and Europe published in Science, researchers from the University of Ottawa found that increasing temperatures and precipitation are also increasing the species' risk of extinction. The likelihood of a bumblebee population surviving in a single location has declined by an average of 30% within one human generation, the researchers said.
Peter Soroye, one of the study's authors, tweeted about the research, saying "in 25 years, the likelihood of finding a bee species declined on average by 46% in North America & 17% in Europe."
The team also found climate change impacts the chances of bees colonizing new areas. They discovered the largest bumblebee population declines occurred in places where "climate change was pushing species past what they ever had to tolerate before,” CBS News reported.
The decline of bumblebee populations could also spell trouble for agriculture, CBS News reported. Bumblebees are vital to the world's ecosystem and are known for pollinating wildflowers and "nightshade" produce such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and blueberries, CBS News reported, citing the Honeybee Conservancy.
"We've seen a lot of places where things are going badly, but we've also seen some ‘bright spots,’ where things are going well in spite of climate change,” Soroye tweeted. “By focusing in on these places, maybe we can learn lessons that could be applied to stop declines elsewhere.”
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