Like many species, bees and other pollinators are key components of our ecosystem but are also susceptible to a changing climate. Researchers around the Nation are working to assess the impact of climate change on bees and other pollinators.
The most common question is “What’s killing the bees?” – and unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be a simple answer. Research to date suggests that multiple biotic and abiotic factors contribute to colony health and survival (e.g., viruses, mites, microbes, bee genetics, weather, forage quality and availability, management practices, and agrochemical exposure). Although no single factor is responsible for colony losses or Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), honey bee samples from CCD-affected colonies had greater pathogen (e.g., viruses and Nosema) prevalence and abundance compared to unaffected colonies (Cornman et al. 2012; Cox-Foster et al. 2007; Johnson et al. 2009; Steinhauer et al. 2015; vanEngelsdorp et al. 2009).
Students from The University of Montana, Montana Tech, Montana State University and Salish Kootenai College have particpated in environmental and climate change research projects in sites across Montana and the world.
If you'd like to add your research project to the map, please contact Suzi Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a link to the online form.
Through hands-on Citizen Science projects, volunteers partner with researchers to collect scientific data that answers real-world questions.
The Montana Girls STEM Collaborative, an outreach program of Montana NSF EPSCoR, was chosen to participate in Habitat Connections: Birds and Citizen Science, a program of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Citizen scientists learned about the impact of climate change on elk in the Upper Yellowstone River Basin while picking up elk scat samples at the Dome Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Paradise Valley. The project was designed to help Montana State University graduate student Erica Garroutte gather data on how climate change may be affecting the timing of grassland greenup and, in turn, elk foraging patterns.
Using Technology to Research After Class (UTRAC) is a Montana State University, Montana EPSCOR, and Montana Institute on Ecosystems project to engage youth in scientific explorations relating to the water and carbon cycles – in their very own school playgrounds. In this project, youth in Montana will participate in hands-on, inquiry-based activities and data collection in informal educational settings, such as after school programs and summer camps.
Here you will find a variety of free climate related resources including lesson plans, one-page information sheets, videos of science talks, short activities and kits.
Students investigate elk scat (represented by colored candies) to understand the effects of climate change on grassland phenology (the timing of when the grass turns green) and elk migration.
Through an active strategy game, students will experience the frustrations of trying to balance the needs of wildlife conservation, ranchers, home developers, and wildlife conservationists in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. (Teachers could substitute another ecosystem with which they are familiar). Participants will also discuss possible solutions for accommodating all stakeholders.
Honey bees are the primary pollinator of the United States’ food supply, and many Montana beekeepers transport their bees throughout the U.S. to pollinate crops such as almonds. Honey bees live in large family groups called colonies. When these colonies get sick, they can die, or “collapse.” Unfortunately, nearly 30% of colonies collapse each winter in the U.S.
Information about climate and the impacts of climate change on Montana from the US Global Change Research Program, the US Climate Science Program, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and EPA's Climate Change Indicators in the United States.
An assessment of Montana’s climate is currently underway to describe past and future climate trends that affect different sectors of the State’s economy. The Montana Climate Assessment (MCA) project involves university researchers, decision makers, and other stakeholders with the goal of providing timely and relevant information for the citizens of the State. The first assessment, available in 2017, will focus on climate issues that affect agriculture, forests, and water resources in Montana.
Visit the MCA project for more information and updates.
Climate in My Backyard (CLIMB) is an educational outreach program serving K-12 schools and informal educators. These dynamic educational modules are designed to engage and inspire students by connecting them with climate science researchers in Montana and the Rocky Mountain West. Through hands-on experiments and personal interactions with scientists and university students, young people will learn STEM skills such as collecting and sharing data; developing models and making predictions; and communicating and collaborating with other classrooms.
Climate In My Backyard was developed by Montana NSF EPSCoR (the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research), which advances Montana's science and engineering capabilities for discovery, innovation and overall knowledge-based prosperity. Montana NSF EPSCoR’s flagship research program is the Montana Institute on Ecosystems (IoE), a statewide, university system-led effort dedicated to understanding the effects of climate change on sustaining healthy ecosystems and economic growth. MSU Extended University (EU) is the outreach arm of Montana NSF EPSCoR at Montana State University.
For more information about CLIMB please contact:
Director of Outreach
Montana State University Extended University