Extreme weather causes unexpected provision of pollination services

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Climate change is threatening the structural and functional stability of both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. In particular, the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events can result in ecological surprises which makes it difficult to predict the consequences of climate change on biodiversity and thereby on ecosystem services. In a mesocosm experiment, we show how an extreme weather event resulted in unexpected interactions between bumblebees in an agricultural ecosystem and floating algal mats in an aquatic ecosystem – with consequences for bumblebee colony development and pollination services. More specifically, bumblebee colonies grew larger when bees could use algal mats as rafts to access water. In contrast, colonies were lighter and crop yield was higher when bees had no access to water due to the absence of floating algal mats. Bumblebees without access to water spent longer time visiting flowers when the access to water was limited. We hypothesise that by spending longer time collecting nectar, bumblebees also satisfied their water needs, which resulted in increased bee-flower interactions, better pollination and thus higher crop yield. Our findings exemplify how extreme weather events can drive complex and unpredictable responses of organismal behaviour, and that interactions between terrestrial and aquatic environments can be an important factor for the provision of ecosystem services under future climate change.
Period2019 okt. 25
EvenemangstitelAnnual Meeting of the Scandinavian Association of Pollination Ecology
Typ av evenemangKonferens
Konferensnummer33
PlatsHöör, Sverige