2015: Pennsylvania Mountain Mentioned in Science Magazine!

Bee on white flower

2015: Pennsylvania Mountain Mentioned in Science Magazine!

Just published research in the September 2015 Science magazine co-authored by MALT Ambassador Dr. Candace Galen and MALT Pennsylvania Mountain Research Intern Elizabeth Hedrick finds that in two alpine bumble bee species, decreases in tongue length have evolved over 40 years. Researchers have concluded that a shorter tongue has allowed bumblebees to suck nectar from a wider variety of flowers. “Our analyses suggest that reduced flower density at the landscape scale is driving this shift in tongue length,” the authors wrote in the study. “Although populations of long-tongued bees are undergoing widespread decline, shifts in foraging strategies may allow alpine bumblebees to cope with environmental change,” the authors wrote. “We see broader bumblebee foraging niches, immigration by short-tongued bumblebees, and shorter tongue length within resident bee populations as floral resources have dwindled. In remote mountain habitats – largely isolated from habitat destruction, toxins, and pathogens – evolution is helping wild bees keep pace with climate change.”

MALT’s property at Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area is one of the primary research locations where this study was conducted.

Read the article.

Learn about other research at Pennsylvania Mountain.

N. E. Miller-Struttmann, J. C. Geib, J. D. Franklin, P. G. Kevan, R. M. Holdo, D. Ebert-May, A. M. Lynn, J. A. Kettenbach, E. Hedrick, C. Galen.Functional mismatch in a bumble bee pollination mutualism under climate change. Science, 2015; 349 (6255): 1541