Rapidly Changing Flowering Times Imperil Pollinators

By Jules Bernstein |

Plants are not simply flowering earlier with climate change, as is often reported in the media. Instead, they are responding to the changing climate in more complex ways. The rates at which communities of plants are shifting their flowering times differ greatly in different locations, even when those locations are only a couple hundred meters apart. These complex changes mean that animals that depend on flowers, such as pollinators, have to deal with a new landscape of floral resource availability. Changes in flowering patterns also mean plants of the same species may be less likely to exchange pollen, reducing gene flow.

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