Bumblebees could become extinct in a decade due to climate change, scientists warn
Bumblebees run the risk of becoming extinct due to higher global temperatures and "climate chaos," scientists warn in a new study.
Canadian researchers found that in the course of a human generation (25 years), the probability of a bumblebee population surviving has plummeted by almost a third, due to global warming.
If their decline continues at this rate, many species of the bumblebee genus could disappear forever in a few decades.
Bumblebees are agricultural pollinators, which means they carry pollen that leads to the propagation and germination of crops for human consumption such as tomatoes, squash and berries.
But they cannot stand the heat of rising global temperatures and are now disappearing at rates "consistent with mass extinction."
Bombus Temarius, a species of the bumblebee genus, in bloom on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada
"We have known for some time that climate change is related to the growing risk of extinction that animals face worldwide," said study author Peter Soroye, a PhD student in the Department of Biology at the University of Ottawa.
"We have entered the sixth event of mass extinction in the world, the largest and fastest global biodiversity crisis since a meteorite ended the age of dinosaurs."
The scientists used data on 66 different species of bumblebees in North America and Europe that were collected for 115 years, between 1900 and 2015.
They compared where the bees are now with what they used to be historically to see how their populations have changed.
The probability that a population of bumblebees will survive in a given place has decreased by an average of more than 30 percent, they concluded.
They also examined how climate change increases the frequency of really extreme events such as heat waves and droughts, creating a "climate chaos" that can be dangerous for animals.
Species extinctions in Europe and North America are caused by higher and more frequent temperatures.
"We discovered that populations were disappearing in areas where temperatures had become higher," Soroye said.
"Our results show that we face a future with many bumblebee bees and much less diversity, both outdoors and in our dishes."
Bombus lucorum visits a flower in the famous Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, near London
Historical data also allowed the research team to develop a predictive tool to predict the impact of climate change on the risk of a bee species being eliminated.
"We know that this crisis is totally driven by human activities," said Soroye.
"So, to stop this, we needed to develop tools that tell us where and why these extinctions will occur."
To avoid the risk of bumblebees being completely erased in a few decades, the team suggests maintaining habitats that offer shelter and letting bumblebees out of the heat, such as trees, shrubs or hillsides.
The study opens the door to new research areas, establishing a platform to track the extinction levels of other species such as reptiles, birds and mammals.
"Perhaps the most exciting element is that we developed a method to predict the risk of extinction that works very well for bumblebees and that could theoretically be universally applied to other organisms," said Soroye.
"With a predictive tool like this, we hope to identify areas where conservation actions would be critical to stop falls."
Bumblebees are the best pollinators we have in wild landscapes and the most effective pollinators for important crops such as tomatoes, squash and berries.
The scientists at the University of Ottawa previously published an article in 2015 that shows that global temperature increases were beyond the limits of what bumblebee species could tolerate.
"The most obvious question we could ask after that initial work was why this is happening," said Dr. Jeremy Kerr of the University's Department of Biology, which has led to this new research, published in the Sciences.
HOW DID THE PESTICIDES AFFECT THE BEES POPULATION?
The decrease in the number of honey bees and health in recent months caused worldwide concern due to the critical role of insects as an important pollinator.
The health of bees has been closely observed in recent years as the nutritional sources available for honey bees have decreased and pesticide contamination has increased.
In studies with animal models, researchers found that combined exposure to pesticides and poor nutrition decrease the health of bees.
Bees use sugar to feed flights and work inside the nest, but pesticides lower their hemolymph sugar levels (& # 39; bee blood & # 39;) and, therefore, reduce their energy reserves.
When pesticides are combined with a limited supply of food, bees lack the energy to function, causing survival rates to plummet.
. (tagsToTranslate) dailymail (t) sciencetech (t) Climate change and global warming