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Assessing continental-scale risks for generalist and specialist pollinating bee species under climate change

Roberts, S., Potts, S. ORCID:, Biesmeijer, K., Kuhlmann, M., Kunin, W. and Ohlemüller, R. (2011) Assessing continental-scale risks for generalist and specialist pollinating bee species under climate change. BioRisk, 6. pp. 1-18. ISSN 1313-2652

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3897/biorisk.6.1325


Increased risks of extinction to populations of animals and plants under changing climate have now been demonstrated for many taxa. This study assesses the extinction risks to species within an important genus of pollinating bees (Colletes: Apidae) by estimating the expected changes in the area and isolation of suitable habitat under predicted climatic condition for 2050. Suitable habitat was defined on the basis of the presence of known forage plants as well as climatic suitability. To investigate whether ecological specialisation was linked to extinction risk we compared three species which were generalist pollen foragers on several plant families with three species which specialised on pollen from a single plant species. Both specialist and generalist species showed an increased risk of extinction with shifting climate, and this was particularly high for the most specialised species (Colletes anchusae and C. wolfi). The forage generalist C. impunctatus, which is associated with Boreo-Alpine environments, is potentially threatened through significant reduction in available climatic niche space. Including the distribution of the principal or sole pollen forage plant, when modelling the distribution of monolectic or narrowly oligolectic species, did not improve the predictive accuracy of our models as the plant species were considerably more widespread than the specialised bees associated with them.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Food Security
Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:31993

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