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Timing Changes of Seasons Ripping the Timing of Life Apart, Deep Relationships of the "Engines of Life" are Disassembling Themselves


Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 10 April 2018

 

Climate Change News
Timing Changes of Seasons Ripping the Timing of Life Apart

Deep Relationships of the "Engines of Life" are Disassembling Themselves

Climate change is wreaking havoc on delicate relationship between orchids and bees,
University of Sussex, April 5, 2018.

"The first definitive demonstration of climate change upsetting the vital interdependent relationships between species has been revealed."

"...how rising temperatures since the mid-17th century have wrecked a relationship, which relies on precision timing to succeed, between a rare orchid species and the Buffish Mining-bee which pollinates it."

"It is likely that many other species dependencies are also suffering from climate-induced changes to their life cycles. This study is, we believe, the best documentation we have as yet of such an effect and confirms with hard data the long-held concerns of ecologists. While this is especially bad news for the early spider orchid, the devastating impact of climate change is in all likelihood harming the delicate interdependent relationships of many species."

"The early spider orchid achieves pollination by emitting a scent that imitates that of a female Buffish Mining-bee. The smell fools male bees into attempting to mate (pseudocopulation) with the flower. In doing so, the male bee dislodges pollen masses from the flower. These pollen masses are then transported to different flowers when the bee next attempts pseudocopulation."

"Pollination depends not only on male bees emerging before female bees and before flowering, but also, crucially, on the orchid flowering before female bees emerge."

"...rising temperatures have led to male bee flight, female bee flight and flowering all occurring earlier in the calendar year, but the timings of the three events are not changing at the same rate."

"This is causing an increasing frequency of years in which the sequence of events needed for successful pollination (male bee emergence before orchid flowering before female bee emergence) does not occur."

"For every 1 °C rise in spring temperature, the peak flying dates of male and female bees occur 9.2 and 15.6 days earlier in the year but the orchids' peak flowering advances by just 6.4 days."

"Most critically, however, higher spring temperatures now make female bees likely to achieve peak flying more than a week before peak orchid flowering date."

"...a programme of hand pollination may be the only means to ensure the early spider-orchid remains a presence in the UK."

"As well as posing problems for plants that depend on pollinators being available on particular dates, climate change could threaten many other ecological interdependencies, including birds depending on caterpillars being available as food immediately after hatching and insects needing specific nectar sources."

 

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