Winners and losers: Climate change and the changing fates of Asian honeybee species
James C Makinson, James C. Makinson
School of Biological & Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London; School of Biological & Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London
Human induced climate change is a key threatening process for many species and ecosystems throughout the world, but the effects of climate change are not uniform across all species. While many organisms are facing extinction, some are poised to thrive in the new and drastically altered world we are providing them. The genus Apis is the perfect system to study the effect of climate change on the future range of closely related species. We focussed on 5 of the 12 currently recognised honeybee species; the red dwarf honeybee (Apis florea), the black dwarf honeybee (Apis andreniformis), the giant Asian honeybee (Apis florea), the Himalayan giant honeybee (Apis laboriosa) and the Asian hive bee (Apis cerana). We used the Maxent software package and the SDS Toolbox for ArcGIS to plot maps of the current ranges, and global suitable habitat for each of the 5 honeybee species. We then created maps of the potential future ranges of the 5 species in 2070 under the RCP 6 global warming scenario. We found that both giant honeybee species (A. dorsata and A. laboriosa) are facing range retractions under future climate conditions. The black dwarf honeybee (A. andreniformis) if facing a complete disappearance of suitable climate conditions throughout the vast majority of it’s range. We propose that this species is likely to be of extreme conservation concern within the next 50 year. In contrast, both the red dwarf honeybee (A. florea) and the Asian hive bee (A. cerana) can be expected to see massive range expansions under the climate change scenario modelled. Both species are currently invasive in different regions of the world. A. florea is spreading throughout Africa and the Middle East, while A. cerana is currently spreading through far north Queensland in Australia. Both these species will see the greatest increase in suitable range in the areas of their current range expansions, which has important implications for potential future management plans in these areas.