Climate change has narrowed the range where bumblebees are found in North America and Europe in recent decades, according to a study published Thursday.
The paper, published in the journal Science, suggests that warming temperatures have caused bumblebee populations to retreat from the southern limits of their travels by as much as 190 miles since the 1970s.
Logic would suggest that the northern reaches of their home turf would shift to higher latitudes by a corresponding distance. But that has not happened, leading researchers to think that the more northern habitats may be less hospitable to them.
“Bumblebee species across Europe and North America are declining at continental scales,” Jeremy T. Kerr a conservation biologist at the University of Ottawa in Canada who was the lead author of the report, said at a news conference. “And our data suggest that climate change plays a leading, or perhaps the leading, role in this trend.”