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Bees, flowers, and climate change

Each spring I take a look at the snow pack report to see what kind of wildflower year it is going to be. Lots of snow, melting slowly means I can expect a plethora of blooms on the trails that year.

But with the onset of climate change, other factors are disrupting the persistence of wildflowers. Flowers rely on pollinators to reproduce. Bees rely on flowers for food. As the climate changes the times that flowers bloom, flowers may start to bloom when bees are not yet active. That means flowers will not reproduce. It also means bees may not have the food the need to survive. Wherever you are in the world, the decline of pollinators, especially bees, is a concern. Bees pollinate 75% of our agricultural crops.

Scientists at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab in Crested Butte, CO are studying this change in phenology, or, the timing of when natural events occur. In this video produced by the good folks at High Country News, Rebecca Irwin an associate professor of applied ecology at North Carolina State University, talks about her field research and what it means for flowers and pollinators in all the world’s biodiversity hotspots.

Rocky Mountain Biological Lab is located in the beautiful Gothic Valley of Crested Butte, CO – the Wildflower Capital of Colorado. Climate change studies conducted at this field stations are some of the longest running in the world. The Lab has a visitor center, offers tours, limited lodging, and opportunities to get involved in their citizen science programs throughout the April – September season.

Featured Image: Mt. Crested Butte by Christina Selby