Climate change and invasive species: A physiological performance comparison of invasive and endemic bees in Fiji

Carmen R.B. da Silva, Julian E. Beaman, James B. Dorey, Sarah J. Barker, Nicholas C. Congedi, Matt C. Elmer, Stephen Galvin, Marika Tuiwawa, Mark I. Stevens, Lesley A. Alton, Michael P. Schwarz, Vanessa Kellermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Anthropogenic climate change and invasive species are two of the greatest threats to biodiversity, affecting the survival, fitness and distribution of many species around the globe. Invasive species are often expected to have broad thermal tolerance, be highly plastic, or have high adaptive potential when faced with novel environments. Tropical island ectotherms are expected to be vulnerable to climate change as they often have narrow thermal tolerance and limited plasticity. In Fiji, only one species of endemic bee, Homalictus fijiensis, is commonly found in the lowland regions, but two invasive bee species, Braunsapis puangensis and Ceratina dentipes, have recently been introduced into Fiji. These introduced species pollinate invasive plants and might compete with H. fijiensis and other native pollinators for resources. To test whether certain performance traits promote invasiveness of some species, and to determine which species are the most vulnerable to climate change, we compared the thermal tolerance, desiccation resistance, metabolic rate and seasonal performance adjustments of endemic and invasive bees in Fiji. The two invasive species tended to be more resistant to thermal and desiccation stress than H. fijiensis, while H. fijiensis had greater capacity to adjust their CTmax with season, and H. fijiensis females tended to have higher metabolic rates than B. puangensis females. These findings provide mixed support for current hypotheses for the functional basis of the success of invasive species; however, we expect the invasive bees in Fiji to be more resilient to climate change because of their increased thermal tolerance and desiccation resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjeb230326
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Desiccation resistance
  • Global warming
  • Native bees
  • Plasticity
  • Pollinators
  • Thermal tolerance


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