Climate change is putting bumblebees under pressure


Researchers at Imperial College London, who studied bumblebees in museums and institutions across the United Kingdom, found that the insects developed asymmetries in their wings when exposed to weather conditions.

Also asymmetry

The study, which looked at 4 species of bumblebees protected since 1900, showed that the asymmetry of their wings – consistent with stress during development – increased in the 20th century.

The research team found that bumblebees exhibited frequent and clear asymmetries during years when climatic conditions were particularly warm and humid.

Drawing lessons for the future

“Our goal is to better understand the responses (of bumblebees) to specific environmental factors, so that we can learn from the past and predict the future,” explained study co-author Andres Arce.

“We hope to be able to predict where and when bumblebees are most at risk so that we can take effective measures,” he added.

“Warmer and wetter conditions are predicted to stress bumblebees, and with climate change making these conditions more frequent, bumblebees are likely to face tough times in the 21st century,” warned study co-author Richard Gill. study

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The study of genetics

In a second study, researchers at the Natural History Museum in London succeeded in sequencing the genome (genetic information) of more than 100 bumblebees, some of which had been preserved for more than 130 years. This means that the order of the different building blocks of DNA is determined.

In doing so, for the first time, methods were applied to insects normally reserved for mammoths and prehistoric humans.

They can now study how these genes have evolved over time and determine whether or not species have adapted to environmental changes.

Insects are the world’s top pollinators: According to the UN, 75% of the top 115 crops depend on animal pollination, including cocoa, coffee, almonds and cherries.

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Ferdinand Woolridge

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