California's Wildflowers and Grasslands and Drought Extends Up Food Chain to Affect Insects, Wildlife, and Cattle

CATCH THE BUZZ/Bee Culture   By Dianne Tepra, Tech Times   June 26, 2015

The drought in California has greatly reduced the population of wildflowers native to the state’s grassland, potentially giving a glimpse of how climate change can affect plant life in the coming years, scientists at UC Davis say.

At the moment, impact appears minimal, what with mostly drought-intolerant species succumbing to the dryer seasons over the past 15 years in plots monitored at the school’s McLaughlin Reserve, but the researchers are saying that the effect of wildflowers dying off can extend up the food chain as the grassland species are a key source of nourishment for insects, deer, birds, seed-eating rodents and cattle.

“Such diversity losses may foreshadow larger-scale extinctions, especially in regions that are becoming increasingly dry...

Read more...