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  1. Life-history traits, which are physical traits or behaviours that affect growth, survivorship and reproduction, could play an important role in how well organisms respond to environmental change. By looking for trait-based responses within groups, we can gain a mechanistic understanding of why environmental change might favour or penalize certain species over others. We monitored the abundance of at least 154 bee species for 8 consecutive years in a subalpine region of the Rocky Mountains to ask whether bees respond differently to changes in abiotic conditions based on their life-history traits. We found that comb-building cavity nesters and larger bodied bees declined in relative abundance with increasing temperatures, while smaller, soil-nesting bees increased. Further, bees with narrower diet breadths increased in relative abundance with decreased rainfall. Finally, reduced snowpack was associated with reduced relative abundance of bees that overwintered as prepupae whereas bees that overwintered as adults increased in relative abundance, suggesting that overwintering conditions might affect body size, lipid content and overwintering survival. Taken together, our results show how climate change may reshape bee pollinator communities, with bees with certain traits increasing in abundance and others declining, potentially leading to novel plant–pollinator interactions and changes in plant reproduction. 
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  2. Abstract

    Phenological distributions are characterized by their central tendency, breadth, and shape, and all three determine the extent to which interacting species overlap in time. Pollination mutualisms rely on temporal co‐occurrence of pollinators and their floral resources, and although much work has been done to characterize the shapes of flower phenological distributions, similar studies that include pollinators are lacking. Here, we provide the first broad assessment of skewness, a component of distribution shape, for a bee community. We compare skewness in bees to that in flowers, relate bee and flower skewness to other properties of their phenology, and quantify the potential consequences of differences in skewness between bees and flowers. Both bee and flower phenologies tend to be right‐skewed, with a more exaggerated asymmetry in bees. Early‐season species tend to be the most skewed, and this relationship is also stronger in bees than in flowers. Based on a simulation experiment, differences in bee and flower skewness could account for up to 14% of pairwise overlap differences. Given the potential for interaction loss, we argue that difference in skewness of interacting species is an underappreciated property of phenological change.

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  3. Abstract

    Advancing spring phenology is a well documented consequence of anthropogenic climate change, but it is not well understood how climate change will affect the variability of phenology year to year. Species' phenological timings reflect the adaptation to a broad suite of abiotic needs (e.g., thermal energy) and biotic interactions (e.g., predation and pollination), and changes in patterns of variability may disrupt those adaptations and interactions. Here, we present a geographically and taxonomically broad analysis of phenological shifts, temperature sensitivity, and changes in interannual variability encompassing nearly 10,000 long‐term phenology time series representing more than 1000 species across much of the Northern Hemisphere. We show that the timings of leaf‐out, flowering, insect first‐occurrence, and bird arrival were the most sensitive to temperature variation and have advanced at the fastest pace for early‐season species in colder and less seasonal regions. We did not find evidence for changing variability in warmer years in any phenophase groups, although leaf‐out and flower phenology have become moderately but significantly less variable over time. Our findings suggest that climate change has not to this point fundamentally altered the patterns of interannual phenological variability.

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  4. Abstract

    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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