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RES PZ_BOMBUS1Study area: field data were collected in the municipalities of Champorcher and Saint Marcel (Valle d'Aosta), the first in a valley with east-west exposition, the second with north-south exposition, in transects identified by an altitudinal gradient (Collin 1620 m, Champlong 2010 m, Pian di Lai 2460 m; Léchère 1510 m, Mulac 1959 m, Petite-Chaux 2440 m) in fields, field-meadows and meadows with the presence of trees along the margins.

Protocol: transects were traversed by two persons for one hour to observe and capture the bumblebees present on botanical species in bloom or those in flight. The specimens captured with a net were collected, together with the flowers on which they had settled, in plastic 50 ml test tubes for subsequent identification in the laboratory.

Results: in the three observation years 2960 individuals were captured, belonging to 33 different species: Bombus alpinus, B. cryptarum, B. hortorum, B. humilis, B. hypnorum, B. inexspectatus, B. jonellus, B. lapidarius, B. lucorum, B. mendax, B. mesomelas, B. monticola, B. mucidus, B. pascuorum, B. pratorum, B. pyrenaeus, B. ruderarius, B. sichelii, B. soroeensis, B. subterraneus, B. terrestris, B. vestalis, B. wurflenii, Psythirus bohemicus, P. campestris, P. flavidus, B. gerstaeckeri, P. maxillosus, P. norvegicus, P. quadri color, P. rupestris, P. sylvestris.

Seven of these (Bombus alpinus, B. barbutellus, B. campestris, B. gerstaeckeri, B. jonellus, B. norvegicus, B. subterraneus, B. gerstaeckeri, and B. jonellus) have not been previously reported in Valle d'Aosta. B. hortorum, B. humilis, B. lapidarius, B. lucorum, B. mesomelas, B. pascuorum, B. pratorum, B. pyrenaeus, B. ruderarius, B. sichelii, B. soroeensis were prevalent, each accounting for more than 40% of the total. Nine species belong to the genus Psythirus, parasites of other species of bumblebees. 1,624 specimens were found in the Valley of Saint Marcel, revealing a greater abundance of bumblebees in this valley.
B. soroeensis with 13.5% was the most widely represented species, essentially at altitudes between 1500 and 2000 m above sea level, followed by B. ruderarius with 11.3% and B. lucorum with 9.9%, both present along the whole altitude gradient, while B. pascuorum with 7.7% was found only at the lower level, and B. alpinus was found only at the higher level.

RES PZ_BOMBUS2

B. lucorum is the species more widely represented and present at all altitudes, but more abundant at the lower level, can be a good indicator of global warming, as a result of which it is likely to become commoner at higher altitudes.

RES PZ_BOMBUS5

The bumblebees visited plants belonging to 30 families with the prevalence of: Onagraceae (22.6%) Fabaceae (18.0%), Asteraceae (15.8%), Boraginaceae (15.8%), Lamiaceae (4.7%) and Campanulaceae (3.9%). Their role is fundamental in the reproduction of entomophilous pollination plants.
Among the plants visited, particular important in the spring are Soldanella alpina and Salix spp. as the primary sources of supply for the queens.
 
Advantages: Bumblebees can be used to assess climate change as some species, because of global warming, tend to rise to higher levels in quest of the ideal climatic conditions. This phenomenon is particularly evident in high-altitude species.
 
Disadvantages: Since bumblebees develop in underground nests and their observation is only possible when they are in the open in search of food, it takes many observations, in suitable weather conditions, to assess the composition and density of populations. Observation requires specific entomological skills that are essential for the identification of species, and identification often has to be performed in the laboratory using a stereoscopic microscope and materials for comparison.

NEWS

Jan 2013

NEW PAPER! "Phenology and carbon dioxide source/sink strength of a subalpine grassland in response to an exceptionally short snow season" was published on Environmental Research Letters

May 2013

Watch PhenoALP presentation video!

Jun 2014

NDVI database now available

Aug 2013

Do you want to start phenological observations in your classes? Here is the experience from Torgnon primary school.

Dec 2013

Midterm Meeting took place: have a look at the contents

Jan 2013

NEW PAPER! "Phenology and carbon dioxide source/sink strength of a subalpine grassland in response to an exceptionally short snow season" was published on Environmental Research Letters

May 2013

Watch PhenoALP presentation video!

Jun 2014

NDVI database now available

Aug 2013

Do you want to start phenological observations in your classes? Here is the experience from Torgnon primary school.

Dec 2013

Midterm Meeting took place: have a look at the contents

Jan 2013

NEW PAPER! "Phenology and carbon dioxide source/sink strength of a subalpine grassland in response to an exceptionally short snow season" was published on Environmental Research Letters

May 2013

Watch PhenoALP presentation video!

Jun 2014

NDVI database now available

Aug 2013

Do you want to start phenological observations in your classes? Here is the experience from Torgnon primary school.

Dec 2013

Midterm Meeting took place: have a look at the contents

Jan 2013

NEW PAPER! "Phenology and carbon dioxide source/sink strength of a subalpine grassland in response to an exceptionally short snow season" was published on Environmental Research Letters

May 2013

Watch PhenoALP presentation video!

Jun 2014

NDVI database now available

Aug 2013

Do you want to start phenological observations in your classes? Here is the experience from Torgnon primary school.

Dec 2013

Midterm Meeting took place: have a look at the contents

Jan 2013

NEW PAPER! "Phenology and carbon dioxide source/sink strength of a subalpine grassland in response to an exceptionally short snow season" was published on Environmental Research Letters

May 2013

Watch PhenoALP presentation video!

Jun 2014

NDVI database now available

Aug 2013

Do you want to start phenological observations in your classes? Here is the experience from Torgnon primary school.

Dec 2013

Midterm Meeting took place: have a look at the contents

Jan 2013

NEW PAPER! "Phenology and carbon dioxide source/sink strength of a subalpine grassland in response to an exceptionally short snow season" was published on Environmental Research Letters

May 2013

Watch PhenoALP presentation video!

Jun 2014

NDVI database now available

Aug 2013

Do you want to start phenological observations in your classes? Here is the experience from Torgnon primary school.

Dec 2013

Midterm Meeting took place: have a look at the contents

Jan 2013

NEW PAPER! "Phenology and carbon dioxide source/sink strength of a subalpine grassland in response to an exceptionally short snow season" was published on Environmental Research Letters

May 2013

Watch PhenoALP presentation video!

Jun 2014

NDVI database now available

Aug 2013

Do you want to start phenological observations in your classes? Here is the experience from Torgnon primary school.

Dec 2013

Midterm Meeting took place: have a look at the contents

Jan 2013

NEW PAPER! "Phenology and carbon dioxide source/sink strength of a subalpine grassland in response to an exceptionally short snow season" was published on Environmental Research Letters

May 2013

Watch PhenoALP presentation video!

Jun 2014

NDVI database now available

Aug 2013

Do you want to start phenological observations in your classes? Here is the experience from Torgnon primary school.

Dec 2013

Midterm Meeting took place: have a look at the contents