Climate change could affect plant-pollinator interactions
Climate change is expected to extinct species by habitat loss and reducing survival and reproduction of species. But also disturbing interactions between species could cause extinction. Pollinators and plants have a close relationship and, therefore, may be susceptible for such a disturbance. Abundance and species richness of bumblebees has declined by intensification of agriculture. Several measures, as flowering field margins, are used to mitigate the effects of intense agriculture on the pollinator communities.
A British researcher team now simulated the effects of global warming on the benefits of these flowering field margins (doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0015). They tested two mixes for flowering field margins increasing the mean annual temperature (+2, +4 and +6°C) and doubling the atmospheric CO2. Under these conditions the flowering strips still provided enough resources for foraging bumblebees, but the period with available resources was considerably shortened. In early spring and in late summer the flowering strips did not provide enough pollen and nectar for building up the colonies or for successful hibernation of young queens. The authors propose to add early and late flowering species in the mixes for field margins to mitigate the effects of global warming on bumblebees.