News Link: Bees Are Dying Out As Climate change and Pesticides Hit – By MK (Editor)
More than 20,000 species of bee exist throughout the world and they are dying. Use of pesticides and climate changes heavily contributed for this devastation.
Researchers have taken an important first step toward bee conservation by creating the first modern map of bee species represented globally.
Until now, accurate information about the number of bee species and patterns across the globe has been limited. Especially in developing countries where publicly accessible records are slim.
The team’s findings have established an important baseline and best practices for future studies on bees and other understudied invertebrates.
“This is an important first step for that, and in the future we can begin working more on threats to bees. Such as habitat destruction and climate change, and to better incorporate pollination services into ecosystem service analyses.”
To develop their maps, researchers combined data from more than 5.8 million public bee occurrence records with a checklist of the distribution of over 20,000 bee species. Those are accessible online at the biodiversity portal DiscoverLife.org.
Their analyses resulted in a clearer description of the numbers and patterns of bee species distributed in different geographic locations. It revealed higher concentrations of bee diversity in the Northern Hemisphere than in the Southern Hemisphere. More in dry desert and temperate environments than in humid, tropical and forested areas.
Their findings support previous hypotheses that bee diversity follows a bimodal latitudinal gradient.
Meaning higher counts of bee species are found away from the North and South poles and fewer near the equator.
This hypothesis has often been proved false due to lack of sufficient data. But researchers can now say confidently that bees are one of few insect groups that follow this distribution pattern.
An accurate understanding and prioritization of the distribution of bee species can have a major impact on species survival in the future and has the potential to prove crucial for food security and maintaining rural livelihoods, said Orr.
“Climate change poses a large threat to many species. But that’s going to be irrelevant if we don’t protect the habitats species need that are being destroyed now.”
Read more in Environment Segment