On The Other Hand, Bumble Bees Are In Trouble

If you’d like to freak out about bee declines but find the honey bee losses a bit too tepid, have a look native bumble bee species:

cameronThese graphs, from Cameron et al 2011, show the relative proportion of several species in natural history collections over the past century. Bombus occidentalis, Bombus terricola, and Bombus pennsylvanicus, once extremely common, are now exceedingly rare, leaving a once-rich bumble bee fauna dominated by just a few rather weedy species. The causes of the declines are not known, but they may be related to introduced pathogens and habitat loss.

source: Cameron, S.A., J.D. Lozier, J.P. Strange, J.B. Koch, N. Cordes, L.F. Solter, and T.L. Griswold. 2011. Patterns of widespread decline in North American bumble bees. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 108: 662-667.



3 thoughts on “On The Other Hand, Bumble Bees Are In Trouble”

  1. rather, it looks like 3 pairs of species complement each other in numbers rather accurately makes me doubtful of the data. and then the others some go up some down. i’d need more numbers.

    1. Those aren’t absolute numbers, Barry. Those are relative proportions. So when one species drops out, the other one appears to take over even if its absolute numbers haven’t changed.

  2. As usual, there is little rigorous historical field data suitable for comparison with current observations, not to mention there is little current rigorous data as well, LOL. Population dynamics is just about as complicated determining cause and effect as anything in nature.

    But it is certain that human changes to the landscape and the introduction of species (and esp pathogens) from around the world into new habitats has had major impacts on virtually every biological system on earth. We are all truly one giant “global family”. Just look at plant diseases examples like dutch elm disease, chestnut blight, etc.

    BTW and off topic, Alex you might find this of interest (I think a game changer tech): http://www.technologyreview.com/review/524451/genome-surgery/

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