Predicting how species will respond to climate change and land use modification is essential for conserving organisms and maintaining ecosystem services. Thermal tolerances have been shown to have strong predictive power, but the potential importance of desiccation tolerances have been less explored in some species. Here, we report measurements of thermal and desiccation tolerances and safety margins across a gradient of urbanization, for three bee species: silky striped sweat bees (Agapostemon sericeus), western honeybees (Apis mellifera), and common eastern bumblebees (Bombus impatiens). We found significant differences in thermal tolerances, measured as critical thermal maximum (CTmax), amongst species. Bumblebees were the least sensitive to warming, with a higher CTmax (53.1 °C) than sweat bees (50.3 °C) and honeybees (49.1 °C). We also found significant differences in desiccation tolerances, measured as critical water content (CWC), between all species. Sweat bees were the least sensitive to desiccation, with the lowest CWC (51.7%), followed by bumblebees (63.7%) and honeybees (74.2%). Moreover, bumblebees and sweat bees were closer to their CTmax in more urbanized locations, while honeybees were closer to their CWC. These results suggest that bees have differential sensitivities to environmental change and managing for diverse bee communities in the face of global change may require mitigating both changes in temperature and water.
Burdine, Justin D. and McCluney, Kevin E., "Differential sensitivity of bees to urbanization-driven changes in body temperature and water content" (2019). Biological Sciences Faculty Publications. 78.