|Wednesday What’s New: Rocky Mountain Wildflowers|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Monday, 20 June 2011|
In a study published in the current issue of the Journal of Ecology, scientists looked at the impacts of a shorter growing season for wildflowers in the Rocky Mountains on the ecosystem and pollinators in particular.
The early-season climate is becoming warmer and drier in the high altitudes of the southern Rocky Mountains, which results in warmer temperatures mid-summer. These warmer and drier conditions in turn affect moisture availability that is critical to flowering timing in sub-alpine meadows, says David Inouye of the University of Maryland and one of the principal researchers in the study.
Such changes in seasonal flower availability across large areas, or in individual habitats and that feed on pollen and nectar according to Inouye and results in a mid-season decline in number of wildflowers in bloom. This could have serious consequences for entire pollinator populations that include bees, hummingbirds and other insects that need a pollen and nectar supply throughout the growing season to allow the queen bee to produce a colony.
Source: Where Have All the Flowers Gone? High-Mountain Wildflower Season Reduced, Affecting Pollinators Like Bees, Hummingbirds