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The conservation of native insect pollinators is hampered by a lack of information about environmental factors influencing pollinator communities.

This study investigated how insect pollinator communities, composed of bees, butterflies and moths, and flies, are influenced by spatial and temporal aspects of the environment in sagebrush steppe ecosystems in southeastern Oregon. Scientists captured 27,310 insects from 36 insect pollinator families: six bee families, 27 butterfly and moth families, and three fly families. They found that insect communities varied due to habitat diversity over relatively short distances, and species abundance, diversity and timing of emergence was positively associated with minimum ground surface temperatures during the active season, from May to October. Emergence timing was positively correlated with warming days and percent humidity, regardless of elevation. All pollinator groups varied in abundance throughout their active season. Researchers also found that non-bee pollinators may provide important pollination during the warmest time of the year.

Rohde, A.T., Pilliod, D.S., 2021, Spatiotemporal dynamics of insect pollinator communities in sagebrush steppe associated with weather and vegetation: Global Ecology and Conservation, e01691, p. 1-16.

Image credit: Xerces Society/Rich Hatfield

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