Biodiv Sci


Effect of climate change on the distribution and phenology of plants, insect pollinators, and their interactions


  1. 1. CAS Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2020-05-08 Revised:2020-08-11 Online:2020-09-30 Published:2020-09-30
  • Contact: Hong Wang


The impact of global climate change on ecosystems is a pressing and severe challenge to society. Climate change, with its increase in extreme climate events, has a direct impact on ecosystem productivity and service functions. Recently, research has focused on the effects increasing temperatures have on plant-pollinator. These expanding studies center primarily on two topics. The first is the change in distribution areas of plants and their pollinators including the potential for extirpation of some populations. The second is the change in phenology – that is, the change in timing of plant flowering and pollinator activity. Spatial or temporal changes in plants and pollinators may cause mismatches and potential losses in the plant-pollinator relationships. In addition, it may change functional traits and coupling between plants and their pollinators. This affects the stability of their interactions. Here, we provide a literature review on research progress in this field while addressing analyses of interaction network structure, temporal and spatial changes, and the importance of studying the “rewiring” of interactive relationships and functional traits. Based on our review, we recommend paying greater attention to the following aspects for future research: (1) covering multiple scales of biodiversity, (2) long-term monitoring of plant-pollinator interaction networks, (3) measuring the fitness of important indicator species, (4) recording changes in the functional traits of plants and pollinators along spatial and temporal scales to help rewire and/or restore of their interactions and (5) evaluation and conservation of key plants and their pollinator guilds.

Key words: climate change, plant-pollinating insect, distribution, phenology, mismatch, interaction