Pollination occurs when the pollen from one
flower is transferred to another flower, this process allows for the creation
of a seed. Without pollination, the majority of our crops would not be able to
flourish and a subsequent decline in food supplies would undoubtedly occur. Climate
change is affecting pollination on two interconnected levels. Warmer
temperatures are shifting flower phenology and bee phenology at different rates3.

The underlying reason why this occurs is that warmer temperatures are causing
the snow to melt earlier than normal which cause flowers to bloom at an early
rate. Phenology refers to the timing at which animal and plant life cycles
occur. If these cycles are out of sync, there could be a situation where bees
are active but flowers are unavailable. This unsynchronized condition has
previously occurred between the solitary mining bee and the orchid flower. Warmer
temperatures are causing the flight time of the bee to start earlier than the flowering
time of the orchid4. This results in a mismatch between when the
bees are foraging for nectar and the timing at which flowers have pollen and
nectar available. The solitary bee has also been observed to have a smaller body
size as a result of warmer temperatures5. This change in physiology
could mean plant pollination visits are not as effective since less pollen
would be transferred per visit. Currently, studies are focused on the long term
effects of pollination mismatch and understanding the mechanisms behind it.

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