A study published Tuesday by scientists from the Flinders University of South Australia found the bee population flourished during a previous period of global warming 18,000 years ago.
The research concludes that modern global warming will likely cause a big increase in the population of bees, which is good news for the planet. The study directly contradicts previous environmentalist claims that global warming will lead to mass death of bees, disrupting global agriculture.
“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,” Rebecca Dew, the study’s lead author and a professor at the university, said in a press statement. “This matches the findings from two previous studies on bees from North America and Fiji. It is really interesting that you see very similar patterns in bees around the world. Different climate, different environment, but the bees have responded in the same way at around the same time.”
The scientists modeled the past responses of bees to global warming with the help of DNA sequences. They found that the population of bees rose for almost 12,000 years after the last ice age before plateauing roughly 6,000 years ago. The scientists state the slow growth of the bee population is likely due to a slower increase in global temperatures.
Rising bee populations are great for many plants, ecosystems and agricultural crops as they are major pollinators. An increasing bee population combined with rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels likely means that global warming will cause an explosion in plant growth. Scientists estimate that rising CO2 levels over the past 33 years was the environmental equivalent to adding a green continent twice the size of mainland U.S.
The research is published in the peer-reviewed open access Journal of Hymenoptera Research.
This is the latest scientific study to show that nature is considerably more resilient to global warming than scientists suspected. Global warming will likely have many positive environmental impacts such as helping Canadian trees recover from a devastating insect infestation, creating more food for fish in the ocean, making life easier for Canadian moose and literally causing deserts to bloom with foliage.
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