Bee population up after last Ice Age: Study

Sydney, June 1 (IANS) Contrary to previous beliefs, the population size of a bee specie has increased dramatically during the global warming following the last Ice Age, finds a study.

The Australian small carpenter bee — found in sub-tropical, coastal and desert areas in Australia — has flourished in the period of global warming following the last Ice Age some 18,000 years ago.

“You see a rapid increase in population size from about 18,000 years ago just as the climate began warming up after the last Ice Age,” says lead author Rebecca Dew from the Flinders University of South Australia.

Previous studies have showed that bees — major pollinators and critical for many plants, ecosystems, and agricultural crops — from diverse habitats respond strongly to climate change.

“Different climate, different environment but the bees have responded in the same way at around the same time,” Dew said in the paper published in the Journal of Hymenoptera Research.

For the study, the team modelled its past responses to climate change with the help of DNA sequences.

“It is really interesting that you see very similar patterns in bees around the world,” Dew noted.

However, some studies showed that some rare and ancient tropical bees require cool climate and, as a result, are already restricted to the highest mountain peaks. For these species, climate warming could spell their eventual extinction.



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