Jason Gibbs part of team finding pollinator biodiversity buffers climate change impacts on apples
Jason Gibbs is part of a team finding that pollinator biodiversity provides useful buffer for climate change impacts on apple phenology and pollination.
In a study published in Ecology Letters, researchers from Rutgers and Cornell along with MSU research associate Jason Gibbs, examined long-term datasets to determine if pollinator biodiversity could buffer plant-pollinator interactions against climate change. A 46-year time-series data set on apple bloom phenology in New York State and an independent data set of wild bee species were used. Specimen-level databasing of historical bee specimens and recent surveys of bee visitations to apple were performed by Gibbs and collaborators at Cornell. The study found that apple bloom and its primary pollinator community of 26 key bee species have shifted their phenologies at similar rates over a 46-year period of climate warming. The variable rates of phenological change observed among the pollinator species likely act to prevent asynchrony in plant-pollinator phenology. A simulation analysis supports the buffering capacity of pollinator diversity by showing that high levels of bee diversity increases and stabilizes phenological synchrony of apple and its pollinators through time.