The Effects of Recent Climate Change on Spring Phenology, With a Special Focus on Patterns of Bee Foraging
Date of Award:
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
William D. Pearse
Noelle G. Beckman
Jessica R. K. Forrest
Terry L. Griswold
Robert N. Schaeffer
The date on which plants flower and on which bees begin to pollinate varies year-to-year depending on differences in weather. This seasonal timing is known as phenology, and it is already clear that climate change has pushed the spring phenology of many species earlier by increasing temperatures. This is particularly clear in flowering plants, but studying how and why the phenology of pollinators is shifting is more difficult. Most flowering plants rely on pollinators such as bees for their reproduction, and most bees rely on flowers for their sustenance, so bee and flower phenology has to overlap for the crucial interaction of pollination to happen, and understanding the phenology of both is important to predicting how climate change will affect pollination in the future.
Using new and existing data on bee and flower phenology from the Colorado Rocky Mountains, I examined what drives phenology and developed a mathematical model to relate bee phenology to basic demographic rates. Taking a global view, I also tested whether the phenology of plants, insects, and birds is becoming less predictable due to rising temperatures. In general, this dissertation shows that while the drivers of phenology are complex and interrelated, we can predict their outcomes as climate change progresses.
Stemkovski, Michael, "The Effects of Recent Climate Change on Spring Phenology, With a Special Focus on Patterns of Bee Foraging" (2023). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 8725.
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