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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2019 Apr 26. doi: 10.1111/nyas.14104. [Epub ahead of print]

Effects of climate change on alpine plants and their pollinators.

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Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Crested Butte, Colorado.


Alpine environments are among the habitats most strongly affected by climate change, and consequently their unique plants and pollinators are faced with the challenge of adapting or going extinct. Changes in temperature and precipitation affect snowpack and snowmelt, resulting in changes in the growing season in this environment where plant growth and pollinator activity are constrained to the snow-free season, which can vary significantly across the landscape if there is significant topographic complexity. As in other ecosystems, the resulting changes in phenology are not uniform among species, creating the potential for altered and new interspecific interactions. New plant and animal species are arriving as lower altitude species move up with warming temperatures, introducing new competitors and generating changes in plant-pollinator interactions. Repeating historical surveys, taking advantage of museum collections, and using new technology will facilitate our understanding of how plants and pollinators are responding to the changing alpine environment.


alpine; climate change; phenology; pollination; pollinator


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