Ecological Networks are more Sensitive to Plant than to Animal Extinction under Climate Change

by Leta Ames

There is a growing need for climate change models that can accurately represent not only the effects on individual species, but also the interactions and compounding effects within ecosystems. These interactions between species form different “mutualistic networks”. Schleuning et al. (2016) modeled the impact of individual species’ responses to climate change in plant-animal mutualistic networks. Specifically, climatic tolerance of 295 plant species, in eight pollinator networks and five seed-disperser networks in unique areas of central Europe were used to understand the relationship between sensitivity to climate change, climatic niche breadth, and biotic specializations. Continue reading

Mass-flowering Crops Positively Affect Wild Bee Brood Numbers

 

by Lia Metzger

The expansion of mass-flowering crops has been linked to the loss of biodiversity of farmlands because they escape into natural and semi-natural habitats. However, these mass-flowering crops have a higher density of flowers than non-crop species, and thus produce more food resources with more access to nectar and pollen, so they may enhance the abundance of wild foraging bees. Holzschuh et al. (2013) investigated how oilseed rape, a mass-flowering crop, affects the abundance of the solitary and polylectic Red Mason Bee Osmia bicornis, a generalist bee species that nests in both natural and semi-natural habitats. Using data from 67 sites in Germany, they compared the abundance of Osmia bicornic in grasslands adjacent to oilseed rape fields and isolated from oilseed rape fields and vice versa. Artificial nests were assessed for Continue reading