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Title: Bee phenology is predicted by climatic variation and functional traits

Climate change is shifting the environmental cues that determine the phenology of interacting species. Plant–pollinator systems may be susceptible to temporal mismatch if bees and flowering plants differ in their phenological responses to warming temperatures. While the cues that trigger flowering are well‐understood, little is known about what determines bee phenology. Using generalised additive models, we analyzed time‐series data representing 67 bee species collected over 9 years in the Colorado Rocky Mountains to perform the first community‐wide quantification of the drivers of bee phenology. Bee emergence was sensitive to climatic variation, advancing with earlier snowmelt timing, whereas later phenophases were best explained by functional traits including overwintering stage and nest location. Comparison of these findings to a long‐term flower study showed that bee phenology is less sensitive than flower phenology to climatic variation, indicating potential for reduced synchrony of flowers and pollinators under climate change.

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Journal Name:
Ecology Letters
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 1589-1598
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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