Direct benefits and indirect costs of warm temperatures for high‐elevation populations of a solitary bee

Title: Direct benefits and indirect costs of warm temperatures for high‐elevation populations of a solitary bee
Authors: Forrest, Jessica R.K.
Chisholm, Sarah P.M.
Date: 2017
Abstract: Warm temperatures are required for insect flight. Consequently, warming could benefit many high‐latitude and high‐altitude insects by increasing opportunities for foraging or oviposition. However, warming can also alter species interactions, including interactions with natural enemies, making the net effect of rising temperatures on population growth rate difficult to predict. We investigated the temperature‐dependence of nesting activity and lifetime reproductive output over 3 yr in subalpine populations of a pollen‐specialist bee, Osmia iridis. Rates of nest provisioning increased with ambient temperatures and with availability of floral resources, as expected. However, warmer conditions did not increase lifetime reproductive output. Lifetime offspring production was best explained by rates of brood parasitism (by the wasp Sapyga), which increased with temperature. Direct observations of bee and parasite activity suggest that although activity of both species is favored by warmer temperatures, bees can be active at lower ambient temperatures, while wasps are active only at higher temperatures. Thus, direct benefits to the bees of warmer temperatures were nullified by indirect costs associated with increased parasite activity. To date, most studies of climate‐change effects on pollinators have focused on changing interactions between pollinators and their floral host‐plants (i.e., bottom‐up processes). Our results suggest that natural enemies (i.e., top‐down forces) can play a key role in pollinator population regulation and should not be overlooked in forecasts of pollinator responses to climate change.
DOI: 10.1002/ecy.1655
CollectionBiologie // Biology