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Climate-driven phenological shifts in emergence dates of British bees

Wyver, C., Potts, S. ORCID:, Edwards, M., Edwards, R., Roberts, S. and Senapathi, D. ORCID: (2023) Climate-driven phenological shifts in emergence dates of British bees. Ecology and Evolution, 13 (7). e10284. ISSN 2045-7758

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/ece3.10284


Climate change has a diverse range of impacts on wild bees, including their phenology, or timing of life history events. Climate-driven phenological shifts can not only impact individuals at species level but also threaten the vital pollination service that wild bees provide to both wild plants and cultivated crops. Despite their involvement in pollination, for most bee species, especially in Great Britain, little is known about phenological shifts. This study makes use of 40 years of presence-only data for 88 species of wild bees to analyse shifts in emergence dates, both over time and in relation to temperature. The analyses reveal widespread advances in emergence dates of British wild bees, at an average rate of 0.40 ± 0.02 days per year since 1980 across all species in the study dataset. Temperature is a key driver of this shift, with an average advance of 6.5 ± 0.2 days per 1°C warming. For both change in emergence dates over time and in relation to temperature, there was significant species-specific variation, with 14 species showing significant advances over time, and 67 showing significant advances in relation to temperature. Traits did not appear to explain variation in individual species’ responses, with overwintering stage, lecty, emergence period and voltinism considered as possible explanatory traits. Pairwise comparisons showed no differences in sensitivity of emergence dates to increasing temperature between trait groups (groups of species which share all four traits) that differed by only one trait. These results highlight not only a direct impact of temperature on the phenology of wild bees themselves but also the species-specific shifts highlight a possible impact on the temporal structure of bee communities and the pollination networks for which the wild bees are so crucial.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:112385
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons Ltd


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