ArticleLiterature Review

Pollinator Decline – An Ecological Calamity in the Making?

Authors:
  • Fresh-lands Environmental Actions, Caversham, United Kingdom.
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Abstract

Since pollination by insects is vitally important for much of global crop production, and to provide pollination services more widely throughout the planetary ecosystems, the prospect of an imminent 'pollination crisis', due to a die-off of flying insects, is most disquieting, to say the least. Indeed, the term 'ecological Armageddon' has been used in the media. However, to know whether or not a wholesale decline in flying pollinators (including non-bee species) is occurring across the world is very difficult, due to an insufficiency of geographically widespread and long-term data. Bees, as the best documented species, can be seen to be suffering from chronic exposure to a range of stressors, which include: a loss of abundance and diversity of flowers, and a decline in suitable habitat for them to build nests; long-term exposure to agrochemicals, including pesticides such as neonicotinoids; and infection by parasites and pathogens, many inadvertently spread by the actions of humans. It is likely that climate change may impact further on particular pollinators, for example bumble bees, which are cool-climate specialists. Moreover, the co-operative element of various different stress factors should be noted; thus, for example, exposure to pesticides is known to diminish detoxification mechanisms and also immune responses, hence lowering the resistance of bees to parasitic infections. It is further conspicuous that for those wild non-bee insects - principally moths and butterflies - where data are available, the picture is also one of significant population losses. Alarmingly, a recent study in Germany indicated that a decline in the biomass of flying insects had occurred by 76% in less than three decades, as sampled in nature reserves across the country. Accordingly, to fully answer the question posed in the title of this article 'pollinator decline - an ecological calamity in the making?' will require many more detailed, more geographically encompassing, more species-inclusive, and longer-term studies, but the available evidence points to a clear 'probably', and the precautionary principle would suggest this is not a prospect we can afford to ignore.

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... For a multitude of reasons: in the anthropocene pollinating insect numbers are on the decline worldwide [8,9]. It was noticed already in 2013 that losses of winter bee hives had gone up significantly in both Europe and the USA, and honey harvests in France, for example, had dropped to one third in 2017 of what they used to be in the 1990s [10]. An estimated 87.5% (approximately 300,000 species) of the world's . ...
... For a multitude of reasons: in the anthropocene pollinating insect numbers are on the decline worldwide [8,9]. It was noticed already in 2013 that losses of winter bee hives had gone up significantly in both Europe and the USA, and honey harvests in France, for example, had dropped to one third in 2017 of what they used to be in the 1990s [10]. An estimated 87.5% (approximately 300,000 species) of the world's flowering plants are pollinated by insects [10], and it has been predicted by Giannini et al. in 2017 [11], that disruptions of the pollinating process could lead to crop losses in nearly 90% of the regions of Brazil that were analysed in that study. ...
... It was noticed already in 2013 that losses of winter bee hives had gone up significantly in both Europe and the USA, and honey harvests in France, for example, had dropped to one third in 2017 of what they used to be in the 1990s [10]. An estimated 87.5% (approximately 300,000 species) of the world's flowering plants are pollinated by insects [10], and it has been predicted by Giannini et al. in 2017 [11], that disruptions of the pollinating process could lead to crop losses in nearly 90% of the regions of Brazil that were analysed in that study. ...
Article
Full-text available
The world faces numerous problems and two of them are global food shortages and the dwindling number of pollinating insects. Plant products that do not arise from pollination are plant galls, which as in the case of oak apples, can resemble fruits and be the size of a cherry. It is suggested that once research has understood how chemical signals from gall-inducing insects program a plant to produce a gall, it should be possible to mimic and to improve nature and “bioengineer” designer galls of different sizes, colorations and specific contents to serve as food or a source of medicinally useful compounds. To achieve this objective, the genes involved in the formation of the galls need to be identified by RNA-sequencing and confirmed by gene expression analyses and gene slicing. Ultimately the relevant genes need to be transferred to naïve plants, possibly with the aid of plasmids or viruses as practiced in crop productivity increases. There is then even the prospect of engineered plant galls to be produced by plant tissue culture via genetic manipulation without the involvement of insects altogether.
... Pollinators, including insects, bats, and birds, key for ecosystem functioning and global food security, are in dramatic decline over the past decades (Rhodes, 2018). Even if the extent of this decline is a muchdebated topic because of the lack of uniform, long-term observations at the global scale there are estimates that should serve as a wakeup call. ...
... Similarly, in the UK and The Netherlands, over 60% decreases in bees and hover flies have been estimated since 1980 (Potts et al., 2010). As many as 200,000 pollinators serve to fertilize around 308,000 species of flowering plants (Rhodes, 2018). Globally, 87 major food crops depend on animal pollination, accounting for 35% of the world's food production (van der Sluijs and Vaage, 2016). ...
... A frequent emphasis has been on highlighting the threat, specifically, to native pollinating Hymenoptera in the areas where Apis mellifera L. has been introduced on an industrial scale (Anonymous, Status of pollinators in North America 2007;Allen-Wardell et al., 1998;Biesmeijer et al., 2006;Klein et al., 2007;Potts et al., 2010;Nicholls and Altieri, 2013). From an ecological point of view, Rhodes (2018), in a comprehensive review shows that it is most probable that the decline of pollinating Hymenoptera will be an unavoidable ecological calamity that cannot be ignored. The review underlines the need for more empirical longer-term studies and data that are both more 'geographically encompassing and species-inclusive'. ...
Article
Ecosystems are rapidly urbanizing at the global and regional scales, particularly in the tropics, which has deleterious effect on hymenopteran pollinators. Based on the literature spanning multiple disciplines including ecology, pollination, agriculture, agroecology and entomology, this review deliberates on the pollinators and their global decline. Also, it turns the focus on honey bees and their role in agroecosystem. Relevant information from melissopalynology is brought together and the gaps and directions of future research on conservation and management of honey bees in tropical peninsular India are discussed. Focus is on the two species of the hived native Apis cerana indica F., and Tetragonula iridipennis Smith (Hymenoptera: Apidae), as these play a major role in transforming existing agricultural landscapes into agroecosystems, benefitting the farmers and maintaining ecological balance in tropical peninsular India. This review brings to the fore the fact that there is a tangible gap in reports and long-term studies of many native pollinators and in particular the two hived honey bees. Most studies present in a thorough manner visual observations of pollinators (bees) on plants but rarely combine them with quantifying the resources gathered from the plants, especially pollen. This combined approach is especially important to understand the hymenopteran pollinators from the purview of the pollination service they provide. It can be concluded that there is a pressing requirement for long-term observations along these lines with quantifiable pollen and vegetation data to arrive at meaningful plant-pollinator networks that are essential for conservation and management of the native Asiatic honey bees as pollinators.
... De manière certaine, 9% d'entre elles seraient menacées d'extinction en Europe, sachant que beaucoup d'espèces n'ont pas pu être évaluées par manque de données (Nieto et al. , 2017). Pour les abeilles domestiques, les colonies ont aussi décliné en Europe centrale du fait d'un nombre moins élevé d'apiculteurs, mais aussi de facteurs de déclin locaux qui ont augmenté le taux de mortalité (Potts et al. , 2010;Rhodes, 2018). Le déclin des abeilles est causé quasi-exclusivement par des facteurs d'origine anthropique (Potts et al. , 2010). ...
... Il est maintenant avéré que l'utilisation d'insecticides impacte directement les abeilles sauvages et domestiques Rhodes, 2018;Pisa et al. , 2021). Plus précisément, la classe des néonicotinoïdes, qui sont des insecticides systémiques neurotoxiques (i.e. ...
... bandes fleuries). Cette population est également modulée par l'utilisation de pesticides sous forme d'une fonction de dommage, notée P est i (X) (Rhodes, 2018 ...
Thesis
Alors que l’un des objectifs majeurs mis en avant par l’IPBES (2019) est celui de nourrir la planète tout en améliorant la santé globale des écosystèmes, l’agriculture intensive reste l’une des causes principales du déclin de la biodiversité, dont celui des pollinisateurs à l’échelle planétaire est emblématique. Les cultures pollinisées représentent près de 80% des espèces cultivées en Europe et jouent un rôle écologique et économique crucial dans les agroécosystèmes (Klein et al., 2007). Par conséquent, le déclin des pollinisateurs questionne les pratiques agricoles actuelles. L’objectif de la thèse est d’identifier et d’évaluer des solutions efficaces et durables pour assurer la fourniture du service de pollinisation dans les agroécosystèmes intensifs. Jusqu’à présent, les recherches menées pour enrayer le déclin des pollinisateurs se sont focalisées sur plusieurs réponses techniques, mais en ignorant les préférences des agriculteurs ou des apiculteurs. Dans un premier temps, nous identifions les leviers techniques les plus efficaces pour augmenter la magnitude du service de pollinisation, puis nous analysons les préférences des agents à leur propos. Dans un deuxième temps, nous évaluons certains leviers bioéconomiques (i.e. en combinant l'adoption d'une pratique avec une motivation socio-économique) d'un point de vue économique mais aussi écologique. Pour cela, nous mobilisons des concepts et théories de plusieurs champs disciplinaires, principalement de l’économie et de la psychologie, ainsi que des approches de modélisation bioéconomique et d’économétrie. Nous nous focalisons sur le cas d'étude de la Zone Atelier "Plaine & Val de Sèvre" (Deux-Sèvres, France), un agroécosystème intensif Ouest-Européen typique, que nous utilisons pour la calibration des modèles. Pour l'identification des préférences nous utilisons deux jeux de données issues d'enquêtes auprès d'agriculteurs: un réalisé sur la Zone Atelier, et un réalisé en ligne à l'échelle de la France. Nos résultats montrent que les leviers présentent une grande acceptabilité parmi les agriculteurs, mais qu'ils sont peu adoptés. Les leviers les plus efficaces sont souvent les moins adoptés. Cette adoption est influencée par les coûts, mais aussi par les préférences face au risque ou d'autres facteurs comportementaux. Nous simulons dans un premier temps, grâce à un modèle bioéconomique, un levier prometteur: celui de stimuler la pollinisation domestique en incitant les agents par des systèmes de taxes-subventions. Cependant, nous montrons que, bien que privilégier les abeilles domestiques et l'apiculture soit économiquement performant, les performances environnementales sont faibles du fait que ce système soit compatible avec l'agriculture intensive. Connaissant les préférences des agents, nous simulons l'adoption de bandes fleuries (le levier agricole le plus efficace) qui permet à la fois d'augmenter la pollinisation, mais aussi de stabiliser les rendements par le phénomène d'"assurance naturelle". Cependant, nous montrons que leur adoption est chère par rapport au maintien de la pollinisation par les abeilles domestiques, et à la contractualisation d'une assurance agricole. Enfin, nous établissons une théorie des politiques optimales soutenant les services écosystémiques et prenant en compte la dimension comportementale. Nous montrons que celles-ci pourraient augmenter l'adoption de pratiques et ainsi être plus efficientes que des politiques de soutien financier "classiques". Cette thèse contribue, par une approche interdisciplinaire entre économie agricole, comportementale et écologie, au débat actuel sur les moyens d'augmenter la pollinisation dans les agroécosystèmes,et plus globalement sur la multifonctionnalité de l’agriculture.
... 2−4 The main symptom of CCD is that forager bees are unable to return to the hive, which leaves a large proportion of immature bees without nourishment. 2 Consequently, the colony is weakening and eventually collapses. 3,4 Scientists agree that several factors and their interactions contribute to bee decline, including environmental contaminants, such as pesticides, infections with mites and pathogen microorganisms, loss of habitat, climate change, and poor pollen nutrition. ...
... 3,4 Scientists agree that several factors and their interactions contribute to bee decline, including environmental contaminants, such as pesticides, infections with mites and pathogen microorganisms, loss of habitat, climate change, and poor pollen nutrition. 2,4,5 Exposure to plant protection products (PPPs) is considered to be a main stressor of bees. 2 Researchers agree that the additive and synergistic toxicity of multiple pesticide exposures play greater role in honeybee decline than single active ingredients applied in the usual dose. 6−9 Fungicides typically do not pose direct poisoning, but they act synergistically when mixed with other pesticides, such as neonicotinoid or pyrethroid insecticides. ...
... 2,4,5 Exposure to plant protection products (PPPs) is considered to be a main stressor of bees. 2 Researchers agree that the additive and synergistic toxicity of multiple pesticide exposures play greater role in honeybee decline than single active ingredients applied in the usual dose. 6−9 Fungicides typically do not pose direct poisoning, but they act synergistically when mixed with other pesticides, such as neonicotinoid or pyrethroid insecticides. ...
... Additionally, legumes often provide floral resources for pollinating insects. This function is very important since the lack of floral resources in modern agricultural landscapes is regarded as a main driver of pollinator decline (Potts et al., 2010;Rhodes, 2018;Scheper et al., 2014). Therefore, legume intercropping might contribute to mitigate pollinator losses (Potts et al., 2010;Rhodes, 2018) and help to sustain vital crop pollination services (Klein et al., 2007). ...
... This function is very important since the lack of floral resources in modern agricultural landscapes is regarded as a main driver of pollinator decline (Potts et al., 2010;Rhodes, 2018;Scheper et al., 2014). Therefore, legume intercropping might contribute to mitigate pollinator losses (Potts et al., 2010;Rhodes, 2018) and help to sustain vital crop pollination services (Klein et al., 2007). ...
Article
Enhancing crop diversity is an option to make agriculture more sustainable and biodiversity friendly. Intercropping grain legumes together with cereals leads to higher crop diversity and has a broad range of agronomic and ecological benefits. However, sole crop stands of grain legumes might be richer in floral resources than grain legume-cereal intercrops and thus are probably more useful to mitigate the lack of flower resources in agricultural landscapes, which is a main driver of pollinator decline. Yet, little is known about differences between both cropping systems and different legume genotypes in terms of attractiveness for pollinators and how these differences moderate the pollinators’ foraging behavior and consequences for grain legume yields. In a field trial, we analyzed the abundance of flower visiting insects, the foraging behavior of pollinators and related effects on grain yield per plant across six different faba bean genotypes (Vicia faba L.) grown as sole crops or as intercrops with wheat. As foraging behaviors, we considered legal flower visits (i.e. frontal visits) and illegal flower visits (i.e. nectar robbing through bite holes). We recorded characteristics of V. faba genotypes on crop stand level (V. faba plant height, number of V. faba inflorescences and leaf area index (LAI)). V. faba-wheat intercrops and sole crop stands of V. faba were equally attractive foraging habitats for pollinators, implying that intercrops are as suitable as sole crops to mitigate the lack of floral resources. Yield per V. faba plant was positively affected by bee pollination, with this effect being determined by the number of illegal flower visits, suggesting that this foraging strategy does not adversely affect V. faba yields and even has a positive effect. Intercrops had higher yields per V. faba plant than sole crop stands of V. faba, indicating agronomic advantages of this farming practice. Although V. faba genotypes differed in their plant traits, these differences could not explain shifts in the number of flower visiting insects. However, illegal flower visits increased with a higher number of inflorescences whereas the number of legal flower visits declined. Based on our small-scale experiment, we conclude that the use of V. faba-wheat intercrops brings agronomic benefits while serving as a foraging habitat for pollinators that proved to be as attractive as sole crop stands of V. faba.
... For most trap applications such as biodiversity monitoring, insect sampling does not require a high temporal resolution and traps are put in place to run for longer time periods, typically days to weeks [6]. However, in the context of large-scale insect decline, knowledge on how individual environmental drivers act on the populations are needed [8,9]. One such driver, artificial light at night and its mostly negative impacts on insects, has triggered interest among researchers in sampling during defined time intervals (i.e., nights) [10,11]. ...
... The environmental factors leading to insect decline are manifold [15] and include loss of habitat caused by urbanization [16,17], climate change [18], extreme weather conditions (e.g., droughts [19,20]), or intensive agricultural management, e.g. using pesticides or fertilizers [14,18,21]. Detailed knowledge on the individual drivers of insect decline are prerequisite [8,9,15] to develop mitigation strategies for a sustainable future. To this end, an efficient, automated insect flight-interception trap may contribute to efficiently monitor and survey insect abundance in changing environments. ...
Article
Full-text available
Recent debates on insect decline require sound assessments on the relative drivers that may negatively impact insect populations. Often, baseline data rely on insect monitorings that integrate catches over long time periods. If, however, effects of time-critical environmental factors (e.g., light pollution) are of interest, higher temporal resolution of insect data is required during very specific time intervals (e.g., between dusk and dawn). Conventional time-critical insect trapping is labour-intensive (manual activation/deactivation) and temporally inaccurate as not all traps can be serviced synchronically at different sites. Also, temporal shifts of environmental conditions (e.g., sunset/sunrise) are not accounted for. We present a battery-driven automated insect flight-interception trap which samples insects during seven user-defined time intervals. A commercially available flight-interception trap is fitted to a turntable containing eight positions, seven of them holding cups and one consisting of a pass-through hole. While the cups sample insects during period of interest, the pass-through hole avoids unwanted sampling during time-intervals not of interest. Comparisons between two manual and two automated traps during 71 nights in 2018 showed no difference in caught insects. A study using 20 automated traps during 104 nights in 2019 proved that the automated flight-interception traps are reliable. The automated trap opens new research and application possibilities as arbitrary insect-sampling intervals can be defined. The trap proves efficient, saving manpower and associated costs as activation/deactivation is required only every seven sampling intervals. In addition, the timing of the traps is accurate, as all traps sample at exactly the same intervals and ensure comparability. The automated trap is low maintenance and robust due to straightforward technical design. It can be controlled manually or via smartphone through a Bluetooth connection. Full construction details are given in Appendices.
... Insect activities and abundance over such a short-time scale are generally unavailable as traditional methods only have the ability to monitor the population over days or weeks, not hours. Lack of reliable data on insect populations is now considered a significant issue in the field of entomology [16,17]. Indeed, better tools are necessary to understand complex insect behaviors and the causes of the observed decline in insect biomass. ...
Article
Full-text available
Insects are major actors in Earth’s ecosystems and their recent decline in abundance and diversity is alarming. The monitoring of insects is paramount to understand the cause of this decline and guide conservation policies. In this contribution, an infrared laser-based system is used to remotely monitor the biomass density of flying insects in the wild. By measuring the optical extinction caused by insects crossing the 36-m long laser beam, the Entomological Bistatic Optical Sensor System used in this study can evaluate the mass of each specimen. At the field location, between July and December 2021, the instrument made a total of 262,870 observations of insects for which the average dry mass was 17.1 mg and the median 3.4 mg. The daily average mass of flying insects per meter cube of air at the field location has been retrieved throughout the season and ranged between near 0 to 1.2 mg/m³. Thanks to its temporal resolution in the minute range, daily variations of biomass density have been observed as well. These measurements show daily activity patterns changing with the season, as large increases in biomass density were evident around sunset and sunrise during Summer but not during Fall.
... through abiotic conditions, trampling or a decrease in resources needs further investigation. Nevertheless, the results presented here add to the increasing evidence of pollinator population declining (Dicks et al., 2021;Potts et al., 2010;Rhodes, 2018). Pollination services are highly important for ecological and economic impacts on plant diversity, ecosystem stability, crop production, food security and human welfare (Dicks et al., 2021;Kremen et al., 2007). ...
Article
Disturbances affect plant diversity with consequences on other trophic levels, like the associated insect communities. Domestic livestock is a major disturbance affecting flowering plant abundance at the bottom of insect food webs with unpredicted consequences on ecosystem functioning. This work evaluated livestock effect on flower‐associated insect functional groups (i.e., predators, herbivores and pollinators) hypothesizing that plant damage produced by grazing exerts bottom up effects on insect populations, affecting their interactions. On contrary, livestock might supply food resources for several dipteran pests (e.g., scavengers, parasites or bloodsucking) or benefit predator species by increasing habitat transparency with grazing. Seven independent rangelands within the same arid environment and increasing livestock density, were used to test these hypotheses using a regression approach. Insect, herbivore and pollinator diversity decreased with increasing livestock density, and increased with increasing vegetation. Bare soil affected solitary bees (but not all the pollinators) and habitat transparency benefited predators, as expected. Dipteran pests quadratically decreased with increasing livestock density, rejecting the hypothesis of food supply. Apparently, predators reduced the abundance of almost all insect groups. Grazing reduce vegetation positively affecting predators, which negatively affect other insect groups (top‐down), potentially altering species complex interactions and ecosystem functioning. Las perturbaciones afectan a la diversidad vegetal con consecuencias en otros niveles tróficos, como las comunidades de insectos asociadas. El ganado doméstico es una perturbación importante que afecta la abundancia de plantas con flores, siendo la base de las redes tróficas de insectos, con consecuencias impredecibles en el funcionamiento del ecosistema. Este trabajo evaluó el efecto del ganado sobre grupos funcionales de insectos asociados a las flores (es decir, depredadores, herbívoros y polinizadores) con la hipótesis de que el daño producido por el pastoreo a las plantas ejerce efectos de abajo hacia arriba sobre las poblaciones de insectos, afectando sus interacciones. Por el contrario, el ganado podría estar suministrando recursos alimenticios para varias plagas de dípteros (por ejemplo, carroñeros, parásitos o hematófagos) o estar beneficiando a especies depredadoras al aumentar la transparencia del hábitat con el pastoreo. Se utilizaron siete campos independientes con creciente densidad de ganado dentro del mismo ambiente árido para probar las hipótesis, utilizando un enfoque de regresión. La diversidad de insectos, herbívoros y polinizadores disminuyó con el aumento de la densidad ganadera, y aumentó con el aumento de la vegetación. El suelo desnudo afectó a las abejas solitarias (pero no a todos los polinizadores) y la transparencia del hábitat benefició a los depredadores, como se esperaba. Los dípteros disminuyeron cuadráticamente con el aumento de la densidad ganadera, rechazando la hipótesis del suministro de alimentos. Aparentemente, los depredadores redujeron la abundancia de casi todos los grupos de insectos. El pastoreo reduce la vegetación afectando positivamente a los depredadores, que afectan negativamente a otros grupos de insectos (efecto de arriba hacia abajo), alterando potencialmente las interacciones complejas de las especies y el funcionamiento del ecosistema. Large mammals affects the abundance of insect functional groups associated to flowers in arid lands. Increased habitat degradation and transparency by grazing indirectly affected the complex interactions among insect functional groups and ecosystem functioning. When grazing reduced primary producers, predation induced a stronger top‐down effect. Management should focus on restoring vegetation structure.
... The global loss of insect biodiversity and biomass has received considerable attention recently (Wagner 2020;Harvey et al. 2020). Among both the general public and scientists, conservation of insect pollinators is a particularly pressing issue (Potts et al. 2016;Rhodes 2018). Pollinators provide a key ecosystem service and underlie billions of dollars of agricultural production, yet they are subject to many direct and indirect anthropogenic stresses (Losey and Vaughan 2006;Vanbergen and Insect Pollinators Initiative 2013). ...
Chapter
The composition and configuration of the landscape influence insect abundance, distribution, and diversity, with implications for the dynamics and spread of pests and disease vectors, as well as the persistence of threatened species. Here, we explore how genomic data have been used, within the spatially explicit frameworks provided by landscape genetics and genomics, to provide unique insights into how insects use and react to their surrounding landscapes. We review the literature on insect landscape genetics and genomics, identifying key trends and areas of application. We argue that the small size and short life span of most insects make them particularly well suited to exploring central issues of spatial and temporal scales in landscape genetics and genomics. We then present case studies demonstrating the power of landscape genomics approaches to provide novel insights into the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of insect pests, disease vectors, and pollinators of conservation concern.
... Products such as honey are highly valued and utilised; for example, 1770.2 thousand metric tons of honey were produced worldwide in 2020, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (https://www.fao.org). Therefore, the global decline of bee populations (Zattara and Aizen, 2021;Rhodes 2018) poses a social, economic, and scientific concern. Pesticides, diseases, and mites affecting the colonies are considered responsible for the decrease in honey bee populations (Sammataro et al., 2000;Brettell et al., 2020;Ostiguy et al., 2019). ...
Article
The extensive annual loss of honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) represents a global problem affecting agriculture and biodiversity. The parasitic mite Varroa destructor, associated with viral co-infections, plays a key role in this loss. Despite years of intensive research, the complex mechanisms of Varroa – honey bee interaction are still not fully defined. Therefore, this study employed a unique combination of transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic, and functional analyses to reveal new details about the effect of Varroa mites and naturally associated factors, including viruses, on honey bees. We focused on the differences between Varroa parasitised and unparasitised ten-day-old worker bees collected before overwintering from the same set of colonies reared without anti-mite treatment. Supplementary comparison to honey bees collected from colonies with standard anti-Varroa treatment can provide further insights into the effect of a pyrethroid flumethrin. Analysis of the honey bees exposed to mite parasitisation revealed alterations in the transcriptome and proteome related to immunity, oxidative stress, olfactory recognition, metabolism of sphingolipids, and RNA regulatory mechanisms. The immune response and sphingolipid metabolism were strongly activated, whereas olfactory recognition and oxidative stress pathways were inhibited in Varroa parasitised honey bees compared to unparasitised ones. Moreover, metabolomic analysis confirmed the depletion of nutrients and energy stores, resulting in a generally disrupted metabolism in the parasitised workers. The combined omics-based analysis conducted on strictly parasitised bees revealed the key molecular components and mechanisms underlying the detrimental effects of Varroa sp. and its associated pathogens. This study provides the theoretical basis and interlinked datasets for further research on honey bee response to biological threats and the development of efficient control strategies against Varroa mites.
... To produce malathion-treated milkweed plants for subsequent experiments, potted milkweed plants were placed downwind at 25, 50 or 75 m from a predetermined spray path in an open, mowed field at the Indian River County Fairgrounds, Vero Beach, Florida. Potted milkweed host plants (5)(6)(7)(8)(9)(10) were also placed upwind of the spray path to serve as a control. Malathion applications via truck-mounted ultra-low volume (ULV) spray were performed by licensed Indian River Mosquito Control District (IRMCD) personnel. ...
Article
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Mosquito adulticides are perceived by the public as detrimental to nontarget arthropods, contributing to declines of native and beneficial insects. However, the actual impact of adulticides on nontarget arthropods in nature needs to incorporate biological and ecological elements. Here, we investigated the effect of biological/behavioral traits (butterfly roosting at different heights, roosting in sites underneath foliage, bumblebee hive usage) and interactions (parasitism, predation) of pollinators (butterflies and bumblebees) that could mediate the impacts of malathion application in manipulative semi-field experiments in Florida, USA. Roosting height from the spray route had a significant negative relationship with mortality of butterflies treated with ULV malathion, with high survival at the highest roosting height (7 m), but butterflies roosting among vegetation did not have higher survival. Bumblebees with hive access had significantly higher survival than bumblebees without hive access. Host plants treated with ULV malathion significantly reduced parasitism of monarch eggs by Trichogramma platneri, but increased predation of monarch caterpillars by Polistes paper wasps. These data provide insight into the realistic impacts of adulticide applications on pollinators in nature which will enable mosquito control districts to better limit nontarget effects of adulticide treatments and may help to address concerns related to potential nontarget effects.
... In the following years, GMGO broadened the scope of propagation, outreach, and research to include other pollinators that are also facing significant population declines [53,54] and thus to grow and distribute plants beyond milkweeds. GMGO has propagated and developed replicable propagation protocols for a range of native plants valuable to pollinators, including Aristolochia watsonii, Acourtia wrightii, Cephalanthus occidentalis, Conoclinium greggii, and Ageratum corymbosum. ...
Article
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Conservation organizations with common missions can find strength and synergy in collaboration. Collaboration can also be challenging, especially finding the right partnerships or organizations to lead. Within the “ecosystem” of conservation organizations, botanical gardens have a unique array of resources and expertise which make them ideal candidates for leadership or partnership in collaborative conservation efforts. We will explore this idea by examining four conservation initiatives at Desert Botanical Garden (Phoenix, AZ, USA) that approach collaborative conservation on regional, state, and international scales. On a regional scale, Metro Phoenix EcoFlora and the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance lead landscape-level conservation by providing a structure for more than 60 official conservation partners, by generating data, and through public engagement needed in a rapidly developing region. On the state scale, Great Milkweed Grow Out is an initiative for pollinator conservation that provides expertise, materials, and opportunities for a wide range of partners across Arizona. Desert Botanical Garden’s endangered plant species conservation efforts provide expertise and resources through horticulture and seed preservation for threatened and endangered plants across the US and internationally. We will share the structure of each program where applicable, how they came to fruition, and their successes. Through each case study, we will highlight the ways positioning within a botanical garden has benefitted the program and success in collaboration. We will also highlight unique challenges. Botanical gardens provide unique opportunities, and they should not be overlooked when seeking a conservation partner or leader.
... It has been estimated that over 75% of the globally most important food crops depend, to some extent, on animal pollination (Klein et al., 2007), and insect pollination was shown to enhance fruit and seed quantity and quality (Bisui et al., 2020;Bommarco et al., 2012;Castle et al., 2019;Garratt et al., 2014;Pereira et al., 2015;Sushil et al., 2013). However, over the past decades, severe losses in insect pollinator numbers and diversity have been reported (Cameron et al., 2011;Kevan & Phillips, 2001;Rhodes, 2018;Antoń & Denisow, 2018). e main causes of this phenomenon include agricultural intensification, spreading of insect pathogens, habitat loss, and shortage of food resources (Dance et al., 2017;Fürst et al., 2014;Jachuła, Denisow, & Wrzesień, 2018;Łoś et al., 2020;Wrzesień et al., 2016;Xiao et al., 2016), and it can reduce agricultural profitability (Gallai et al., 2009;Winfree et al., 2011) and threatens overall biodiversity (Brodie et al., 2014;Potts et al., 2010). ...
Article
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The attractiveness of plants to pollinators depends strongly on flower rewards, especially nectar and pollen. Nectar mass, sugar concentration, and sugar mass are known to influence the spectrum and abundance of insect visitors. Respective data on nectar secretion in highbush blueberry ( Vaccinium corymbosum ) under the climatic conditions of Poland are scarce. This study was conducted in 2002–2005 to assess flower abundance, nectar production, and insect visitors in six varieties of V. corymbosum in Niemce, SE Poland. Flower abundance ranged from 1.63 ± 0.64 (‘Darrow’) to 4.07 ± 0.95 in thousands of flowers per shrub (‘Northland’). Nectar mass, sugar concentration, and nectar sugar mass increased with flower age, peaking between the sixth and ninth day. Significant differences in nectar characteristics occurred between years and between varieties. ‘Bluecrop’ and ‘Darrow’ produced the largest nectar mass (19.08 ± 7.09 and 16.60 ± 8.31 mg nectar per flower, respectively) and nectar sugar mass per flower (6.39 ± 1.52 and 5.76 ± 1.51 mg sugar per flower, respectively). The estimated sugar yield in the studied V. corymbosum varieties ranged from 9.4 ± 3.3 to 20.7 ± 3.8 g sugar per shrub (‘Croatan’ and ‘Bluecrop,’ respectively). Regarding insect visitors, only honey bees and bumble bees were observed. Honey bees comprised 81%–98% of the total number of observed insect visitors. Highbush blueberry, due to abundant blooming and high per-flower sugar yield, is thus a good source of nectar sugars for honey bees.
... This function has been regained with the action of livestock in some locations [47]. Mentioning a non-vertebrate animal, and in a global scenario of concern around pollinators [48], feral honeybees (Apis mellifera) become another interesting taxon deserving conservation [49]. ...
Article
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Feral animals are those that live in the wild but are descendants of domesticated populations. Although, in many cases, these feral populations imply a demonstrable risk to the ecosystems in which they live and may conflict with local wild species and human activities, there are feral populations that are considered worth preserving and, in some cases, they already enjoy protection by interest groups and even public authorities. In this review, we aim to identify valuable populations using three criteria: (a) Genetic conservation value (for instance, if the wild ancestor is extinct), (b) the niche occupancy criterion and, finally, (c) a cultural criterion. We propose a detailed analysis of feral populations under scrutiny, supporting control measures when necessary, but also allowing for international protection at the same level as wild animals for feral taxa of special concern. Feral taxa, which are already in the focus of conservation efforts, and should be awarded extended recognition and protection, mainly include ancient lineages with relevant genetic or cultural importance.
... Pollination services support a major component of global food production but are also critical to natural ecosystems [1,2]. However, evidence from recent decades indicates that pollinator abundance and diversity are at risk, with many species in decline [3][4][5][6]. ...
Article
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Evidence from the last few decades indicates that pollinator abundance and diversity are at risk, with many species in decline. Anthropogenic impacts have been the focus of much recent work on the causes of these declines. However, natural processes, from plant chemistry, nutrition and microbial associations to landscape and habitat change, can also profoundly influence pollinator health. Here, we argue that these natural processes require greater attention and may even provide solutions to the deteriorating outlook for pollinators. Existing studies also focus on the decline of individuals and colonies and only occasionally at population levels. In the light of this we redefine pollinator health and argue that a top-down approach is required focusing at the ecological level of communities. We use examples from the primary research, opinion and review articles published in this special issue to illustrate how natural processes influence pollinator health, from community to individuals, and highlight where some of these processes could mitigate the challenges of anthropogenic and natural drivers of change. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Natural processes influencing pollinator health: from chemistry to landscapes’.
... Desires to help "save the [honey] bees" from various threats have also become deeply entangled with narratives regarding the pollinator crisis and native bee conservation. Even though honey bees are seen as the "canary in the coal mine" [14,18,37,38], for example, most people in America remain largely unaware of species beyond Apis mellifera [18,26,102]. Even federal attention through the 2016 EPA "Pollinator Partnership Action Plan" (PPAP) has been highly honey bee centric [103]. ...
Article
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In an era of mass extinction and biodiversity crisis, it is increasingly crucial to cultivate more just and inclusive multispecies futures. As mitigation and adaption efforts are formed in response to these crises, just transitions forward require intentional consideration of the hybrid entanglement of humans, human societies, and wider landscapes. We thus apply a critical hybridity framework to examine the entanglement of the pollinator crisis with the cultural and agricultural practice of hobbyist beekeeping. We draw on ethnographic engagements with Massachusetts beekeepers and find apiculture to be widely understood as a form of environmentalism-including as both a mitigation to and adaptation for the pollinator crisis. Illustrating how power-laden socioecological negotiations shape and reshape regional environments, we then discuss how this narrative relies on the capitalistic and instrumental logics characteristic of Capitalocene environmentalisms. These rationalities, which obscure the hybridity of landscapes, consequently increase the likelihood of problematic unintended consequences. Also present, however, is a deeper engagement with hybrid perspectives, with some beekeepers even offering pathways toward inclusive solutions. We conclude that if more just and biodiverse futures are to be realized, beekeeping communities must foster increasingly hybrid visions of apiculture as situated within socioecological and contested landscapes.
... In North America and Europe, the phenomena of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) have been reported massively around 2007 to 2008 [6] and had a huge economic impact. This is especially for a farmer who relies upon their pollination process completely to honey bees [7]. ...
Article
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The flight behavior of honey bee Apis cerana is influenced by environmental conditions. The observation of the number of bees flying in and out from the hives is needed to detect the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) phenomena. In this research, we build a prototype of an automatic monitoring system based on image processing. This instrument is intended to automatically monitor and count the number of in and out activities of A. cerana forager bees. This monitoring system detects the red, green, blue, and yellow marked bees by using a camera module of Raspbery Pi mini-computer which is programmed in Python language (and assisted by OpenCV library). The monitoring system is also equipped with temperature, humidity, and light intensity sensors to accurately describe the environmental condition during the measurement. The results show that the highest number of flight activities occurred around 8:00.-09:00 am, then decrease to noon and increased again at 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm.
... Alarmingly, many wild bee populations are declining due to the impact of different biotic and abiotic stressors caused by human activities that act alone or in combination, such as pesticides, invasive species, pathogens, intensive land-use, and climate change [5][6][7][8][9][10][11]. In particular, agricultural intensification appears to negatively impact on wild bee communities [12,13]. ...
Article
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Wild bee populations are declining due to human activities, such as land use, which strongly affect the composition and diversity of available plants and food sources. The chemical composition of food (i.e. nutrition), in turn, determines health, resilience and fitness of bees. However, for pollinators, the term health is recent and subject to debate as is the interaction between nutrition and wild bee health. We define bee health as a multidimensional concept in a novel integrative framework linking bee biological traits (physiology, stoichiometry and disease) and environmental factors (floral diversity, nutritional landscapes). Linking information on tolerated nutritional niches and health in different bee species will allow us to better predict their distribution and responses to environmental change and thus support wild pollinator conservation.
... The decline of pollinator populations can have critical conservation and ecological ramifications. Pollinators provide key ecological services that are essential to plant reproduction, agricultural productivity, and terrestrial biodiversity (Rhodes 2018). While the public's attention has focused on honeybees (Apis mellifera), and the associated Colony Collapse Disorder, the decline of wild bees has been substantial, with many disappearing almost completely from their native range (Wratten et al. 2012). ...
... Commercial bumblebee farming is currently undergoing intensive development (Lye et al., 2011). Bumblebees and bees are becoming a popular research subject in light of the threatening crisis of declining pollinator populations in the world (Biesmeijer et al., 2006;Potts et al., 2010;Thomann et al., 2013;Connelly et al., 2015;Rhodes, 2018) , which is already a matter of food security for humans (Klein et al., 2007). One of the main reasons for this decline is the widespread use of pesticides (Rortaisa et al., 2005). ...
Article
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Bumblebees are one of the most important pollinators for plants consumed by humans. Currently, there is a significant risk of extinction for several pollinators, including bumblebees. One of the most likely causes is the toxic effect of pesticides. The mutagenic effect of pesticides on the DNA of bumblebees has not been studied. The aim of this work was to study the genotoxicity of pesticides for DNA in Bombus terrestris heads. The authors found that if added to bumblebees’ isolated mitochondria, mitochondrial-directed pesticides caused less damage than broad-spectrum pesticides. The greatest amount of mtDNA damage was caused by adding Malathion and Difenoconazole to isolated mitochondria. Moreover, insects that consumed syrup with pesticides displayed more damage to the head than when the pesticide was added to isolated mitochondria. Malathion and Cypermethrin demonstrated significant genotoxic effects in vivo. Difenoconazole caused severe damage to mtDNA, while Deltamethrin did not have any genotoxic effect. Among mitochondria-targeted pesticides, Fenazaquin and Pyridaben demonstrated the highest genotoxicity. Chlorfenapyr, Hydramethylnone, and Tolfenpyrad did not show mtDNA genotoxicity. An increase in the number of copies of mtDNA was observed in insects that consumed sugar syrup with Deltamethrin and Tolfenpyrad. This increase is probably a compensatory effect in response to inhibition of mitochondrial respiration. This study found that, in general, broad-spectrum pesticides (Difenoconazole, Deltamethrin, Esfenvalerate, Malathion, and Cypermethrin) demonstrate greater mtDNA genotoxicity in bumblebees’ heads compared with mitochondria-targeted pesticides (Fenazaquin, Chlorfenapyr, Hydramethylnon, Pyridaben, and Tolfenpyrad).
... Scientists have estimated that globally one out of six bee species is regionally extinct, and more than 40% of bee species are vulnerable to extinction 6 . The possible reasons for decline in the population of bees could be exposure to pathogens, parasites and pesticides; habitat destruction; climate change; market forces; intra-and interspecific competition with native and invasive species, and genetic alterations 7,8 . Conservation and restoration of bee habitats are especially important to protect the native bee species 3 . ...
Article
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Native bees, Braunsapis picitarsis Cameron and Braunsapis mixta (Smith) are the common pollinators of cashew. Occupancy of both bee species was recorded within 15 days of installation of artificial nests made in wooden blocks as well as sticks of different plant species. Increased occupancy of bees in all nest holes was seen over time. Nest hole size of 3 mm diameter was highly preferred followed by 2.5 and 3.5 mm diameter. Out of total nests occupied, 80% and 14.71% were of 3 and 2.5 mm diameter hole size respectively, in the first year. During the second and third years also, higher occupancy was recorded in 3 mm diameter holes. The nests also assisted in recording the nesting behaviour and natural enemies of these bees.
... Climate change could also be one of the most damaging threats to pollinating biodiversity that affects the spatial-temporal dynamics of plant-pollinator relationships [51,52]. Most effects of weather on pollinators are on butterflies, although research on other pollinators is still scarce [15]. ...
... Bununla birlikte günümüzde başta bal arıları olmak üzere bir çok yaban arısı türünün azalma veya yok olma tehlikesi ile karşı karşıya olduğu sıklıkla tartışılmaktadır (Gallai ve ark., 2009). Yararlandıkları çiçekli bitki bolluğunun azalması, iklim değişiklikleri, yuva yerlerini içerebilecek doğal alanların bozulması ve pestisitler başta olmak üzere tarımsal mücadele amacıyla kullanılan kimyasallara maruz kalmaları arıları tehdit eden önemli stres faktörleridir (Erkan ve Gösterit, 2012;Rhodes, 2018). ...
... Maxwell et al. 2016), populations of pollinators are declining globally (Potts et al. 2010). This decline threatens both natural ecosystems and agricultural production systems (Rhodes 2018). Concern for this trend prompted the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) to undertake an assessment on pollinators, pollination and food production (IPBES 2016). ...
Article
Insect populations are declining globally. Most crops rely on insect pollination, putting food security at risk. Honeybees are important pollinators and have been used widely in public awareness campaigns. This study surveyed countries about the status of their pollinators and programmes for monitoring and management. Responses were received from 273 persons from 108 countries. Apis mellifera was reported by nearly all countries. Many countries (72%) routinely collect honeybee data, and populations are stable or increasing (77% of countries). Other pollinators receive less attention, although their populations are dwindling in most (70%) countries. Conservation and protection are more commonly practiced for honeybees. Most threats, such as habitat loss and pesticides, are shared by all pollinators. Therefore, conservation measures to decrease these threats would be efficient, provided that competition among species is avoided. Monitoring of pollinator populations should be increased.
... A concern about animal pollinators has been growing for the last decade with the increasing data on the decline in the abundance of both wild and managed pollinators Powney et al., 2019;Rhodes, 2018). A lot of study reported that pollinator decline is one of the most important global environmental problems (e.g. ...
Article
The scarcity of floral resources and their seasonal discontinuity are considered as major factors for pollinator decline in intensified agricultural landscapes worldwide. The consequences are detrimental for the stability of the environment and ecosystems. Here, we quantified the production of nectar sugars in plant species occurring in man-made, non-cropped areas (non-forest woody vegetation, road verges, railway embankments, field margins, fallow areas) of an agricultural landscape in SE Poland. We also assessed changes in the availability of sugar resources both in space (habitat and landscape scales) and in time (throughout the flowering season), and checked to what extent the sugar demands of honeybees and bumblebees are met at the landscape scale. At landscape-level, 37.6% of the available sugar resources are produced in man-made, non-cropped habitats, while 32.6% and 15.0% of sugars derive from winter rape crops and forest vegetation, respectively. Nectar sugar supplies vary greatly between man-made, non-cropped habitat types/sub-types. These areas are characterized by a high richness of nectar-producing species. However, a predominant role in total sugar resources is ascribable to a few species. Strong fluctuations in nectar resources are recorded throughout the flowering season. March and June are periods with food shortages. Abundant nectar sugars are generally found in April–May, mainly due to the mass flowering of nectar-yielding species in the forests, meadows/pastures and orchards/rapeseed crops. Heterogeneity of man-made, non-cropped habitats is essential to support the supply of July–October nectar sugars for honeybees and bumblebees. Reduced flowering in man-made non-cropped habitats can generate serious food deficiencies, as from summer towards the end of the flowering season >90% of sugars are provided by the flora of these areas. Therefore, highly nectar-yielding plant species that flower during periods of expected food shortages should be a priority for conservation and restoration programs.
... It was noted that the new fungicides are more toxic to yeast than to mycelial fungi. Keywords: new fungicides, Bombus terrestris, eukaryotic microorganisms, Penicillium commune, Rhodotorula mucilaginosa, growth inhibition, toxicity Введение В настоящее время в мире наблюдается тенденция снижения численности опылителей [1][2][3]. Вымирание шмелей и пчел уже является вопросом продовольственной безопасности [4] поскольку опыление насекомыми является обязательным условием получения урожая энтомофильных культур потребляемых в пищу человеком. Одной из возможных причин этому является токсическое действие пестицидов [5][6][7]. ...
Article
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Currently, there is a trend in decreasing of the number of pollinators, which is already a matter of food security. Bumblebees Bombus terrestris L. are economically important pollinators of vegetables and other agricultural crops. Recently, it has been suggested that the synergistic effect of pesticides and diseases that affect pollinators contributes to a sharp decline in the number of pollinators. In this work, we investigated the effect of new biodegradable fungicides on eukaryotic microorganisms Penicillium commune and Rhodotorula mucilaginosa isolated from the gut of Bombus terrestris L. larvae. It was shown that the new fungicides studied can inhibit the growth of both mycelial eukaryotic microorganisms and yeast eukaryotic microorganisms. Among the studied substances, the most effective was fungicide 2. The studied substances are selectively toxic only for eukaryotic microorganisms and do not have a toxic effect on animals, in particular insects, and can be used to treat insect pollinator infections caused by fungal microorganisms. It was noted that the new fungicides are more toxic to yeast than to mycelial fungi.
... However, recent studies are warning that the density of these insects is decreasing worldwide due to climate change and the usage of chemical pesticides [6,7]. If pollination is not carried out faithfully, fruits will not be properly formed, which will directly affect the yield [8]. Accordingly, artificial pollination with human hands is gradually increasing [9]. ...
Article
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Plants pollination are conducted through various pollinators such as wind, animals, and insects. Recently, the necessity for artificial pollination is drawing attention as the proportion of natural pollinators involved is decreasing over the years. Likewise, the trade in pollen for artificial pollination is also increasing worldwide. Through these imported pollens, many unknown microorganisms can flow from foreign countries. Among them, spores of various fungi present in the particles of pollen can be dispersed throughout the orchard. Therefore, in this study, the composition of fungal communities in imported pollen was revealed, and potential ecological characteristics of the fungi were investigated in four types of imported pollen. Top 10 operational taxonomic unit (OTU) of fungi were ranked among the following groups: Alternaria sp., Cladosporium sp., and Didymella glomerata which belong to many pathogenic species. Through FUNGuild analysis, the proportion of OTUs, which is assumed to be potentially plant pathogens, was higher than 50%, except for apple pollen in 2018. Based on this study of fungal structure, this information can suggest the direction of the pollen quarantine process and contribute to fungal biology in pollen
... S hifts in the structure and function of ecosystems in the Anthropocene pose numerous and poorly understood threats to wild plants and animals and to human society (1). Of the changes being tracked by ecologists, few are as potentially consequential as reductions in insect abundance and diversity (2), with the status of pollinators being of particular concern (3,4). Although debate continues on the magnitude and taxonomic scope of insect declines (5)(6)(7), there can be little doubt that insects (like most other major groups) are responding to stressors that include habitat loss, climate change, overuse of pesticides, and invasive species (8). ...
Article
Warming autumns, fewer butterflies Many recent studies have revealed sweeping declines in insects over the past few decades. Butterflies are no exception. Forister et al. used three different datasets, collected by both experts and community scientists, and found that the number of butterflies has declined over the past 40 years. Although the drivers of decline are complex, the authors found that climate change—in particular, warmer months in the autumn—explain a large portion, even as warming summers actually lead to increases. This work shows that climate change impacts may be insidious and unexpected in their effects. Science , this issue p. 1042
... Plant pollinator interactions are in most cases mutualistic, the plants provide food for the pollinators (nectar and pollen), while the pollinators allow sexual reproduction through pollen transport. According to the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), more than 300 000 plant species benefit from insects for their reproduction i.e. 87.5% of the total flora (Rhodes 2018). We can thus make the prediction that changes in pollinator composition should affect plant community. ...
Article
The recent pollinator decline in developed countries has been documented in many parts of the world and its anthropogenic causes are now identified. Because pollinators contribute to the sexual reproduction of many plant species, pollinator decline constitutes a potential threat on insect-pollinated plant populations. Moreover, it is susceptible to impede pollination services to crops in agriculture. In this paper, I review the empirical evidence that pollinator decline translates (or not) into pollen limitation for plants and alters plant-pollinator networks. I also analyse the possibility of short-term evolution of plant pollination strategies. In particular, I discuss how changes in pollinator fauna constitute new selection pressures for plants and how plant reproductive traits are able to respond rapidly to such new selection regime. Mating system evolutionary theory thus predicts that short-term evolution may allow plant populations to adapt to pollinator decline, potentially rescuing populations, as predicted by the evolutionary rescue theory. Nevertheless, mating system theory and empirical data support the idea that evolutionary rescue through mating system adaptation is not always possible. Finally, I discuss how plant evolution may disturb plant-pollinator interactions potentially breaking major trophic links in ecosystems, which could in turn reinforce pollinator’s extinction in the future.
... Recent studies have shown that even with advancements in seedtreatment technologies and polymer science, release of coat fragments by abrasion of film-coated seeds during handling and planting operations remains a matter of concern (Halecky et al. 2016;Accinelli et al. 2019). Despite our increased use and reliance on neonicotinoid insecticides in commercial seed treatments and their potential impact on non-target beneficial insects, only a limited number of studies have attempted to estimate the amount of coat fragments that are detached from film-coated seeds during handling and planting operations (Foqué et al. 2014;Van der Sluijs et al. 2015;Devarrewaere et al. 2015;Hoffmann, Piraube, and Greco 2015;Foqué et al. 2017;Rhodes 2018). These studies have indicated that during corn-planting operations, coat fragment release can vary from 0.88 to 1.11 g per hectare as determined using the Heubach dustmeter approach. ...
Article
Film-coating is a widely used technology to apply plant protection agents, beneficial microorganisms, and other substances to seeds. During handling and planting operations, fragments of the seed coat can become detached by mechanical abrasion and are released into the environment. Modest reductions in abrasion losses have been achieved by selecting polymers and formulations with improved adherence to seed surfaces. The objective of this study was to investigate a novel approach for reducing abrasion risk with film-coated corn (Zea mays L.) seeds and to evaluate an improved image-based protocol for rapid and effective evaluation of seed abrasion. This study demonstrated that the risk of abrasion losses from film-coated corn seeds was minimized by removing the outer wax layer of the seed pericarp prior to applying coat formulations. Removal of the outer wax layer did not affect seed germination or seedling growth, but it did improve the adhesion strength of the coat to the seed surface and effectively reduced abrasion losses. Coating surface of dewaxed seeds with three different treatment formulations, viz., a commercial seed-coating polymer, a starch-based bioplastic and a soy protein isolate-based preparation, reduced fragment release by 97.6%, 94.8%, and 98.9%, respectively, with respect to non-surface dewaxed seeds. Seed coatings placed in soil for six days deteriorated 2.5% and 72.1% for commercial and bioplastic formulations, respectively, whereas the soy protein isolate coating formulation deteriorated almost completely under the same conditions. Thus, removing the outer wax layer before film-coating seeds and using novel seed coat formulations improved environmental profile of coated seeds.
... Currently, the number of insect pollinators is decreasing worldwide (Potts et al., 2010;Biesmeijer et al., 2006;Rhodes, 2018;Thomann et al., 2013;Connelly et al., 2015). About 35% crops directly dependent on pollinators (Klein et al., 2007), with the cost approximately 153 billion euros per year (Gallai et al., 2009). ...
Article
Bumblebees are important for crop pollination. Currently, the number of pollinators is decreasing worldwide, which is attributed mostly to the widespread use of pesticides. The aim of this work was to develop a method for assessing the genotoxicity of pesticides for the Bombus terrestris L. bumblebee using long-range PCR of mitochondrial DNA fragments. We have developed a panel of primers and assessed the genotoxicity of the following pesticides: imidacloprid, rotenone, deltamethrin, difenocanozole, malathion, metribuzin, penconazole, esfenvalerate, and dithianon. All pesticides (except imidacloprid) inhibited mitochondrial respiration fueled by pyruvate + malate; the strongest effect was observed for rotenone and difenocanozole. Three pesticides (dithianon, rotenone, and difenocanozole) affected the rate of H2O2 production. To study the pesticide-induced DNA damage in vitro and in vivo, we used three different mtDNA. The mtDNA damage was observed for all studied pesticides. Most of the studied pesticides caused significant damage to mtDNA in vitro and in vivo when ingested. Our results indicate that all tested pesticides, including herbicides and fungicides, can have a toxic effect on pollinators. However, the extent of pesticide-induced mtDNA damage in the flight muscles was significantly less upon the contact compared to the oral administration.
... Although polymer films with high adherence to seeds are already in use, the release of material due to abrasion of film-coated seeds during handling and planting is still an existing concern as it is potentially associated with bee colony mortality and other environmental issues [34,35]. In this regard, the past decade has seen a major Table 1 Crop protection approaches exploring biodegradable matrices derived from natural resources. ...
Article
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Climate changes, emerging species of plant pests, as well as deficits of clean water and arable land have made the availability of food to the ever-increasing global population a challenge. In order to meet ever-increasing production needs, excessive use of synthetic pesticides has resulted in development of resistance in pest populations, as well as significant ecotoxicity, which has directly and indirectly impacted all the lifeforms on earth. To meet the goal of providing safe, sufficient, and high-quality food globally with minimal environmental impact, one strategy is to focus on targeted delivery of pesticides using eco-friendly and biodegradable carriers that are derived from naturally available materials. Herein, we discuss some of the recent approaches to employ biodegradable matrices in crop protection, while exploring their design and efficiency. We summarize by discussing associated challenges with the existing approaches and future trends that can lead the world to more sustainable agricultural practices.
... Pollination plays a crucial role in the maintenance of biodiversity. There is a lot of evidence of recent declines in the population of both wild and tamed pollinators [26][27][28][29]. The decrease in the number of bumblebees and honeybees has already become a matter of food security because insect pollination is obligatory for obtaining a harvest of entomophilic crops consumed by humans [30]. ...
Article
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In recent years, the number of pollinators in the world has significantly decreased. A possible reason for this is the toxic effects of agrochemicals reducing the immunity of insects that leads to their increased susceptibility to pathogens. Ascosphaera apis is a dangerous entomopathogenic fungus, afflicting both honeybees and bumblebees. We investigated fungicide activity of cyclic synthetic peroxides against A. apis isolated from Bombus terrestris L. The peroxides exhibited high mycelium growth inhibition of A. apis up to 94–100% at concentration 30 mg/L. EC50 values were determined for the most active peroxides. Two peroxides showed higher antifungal activity against A. apis than the commercial fungicide Triadimefon. The studied peroxides did not reduce the ability of bumblebees to fly and did not lead to the death of bumblebees. A new field of application for peroxides was disclosed.
... At this time there is a global trend of pollinators decreasing [64][65][66][67][68]. Possible reason for this is the toxic pesticides effects [69,70]. ...
Article
Full-text available
In recent decades an increase in the use of pesticides to protect plants from pests, diseases and weeds has been observed. There are many studies on the effects of various pesticides on non-target organisms. This review aims to analyze and summarize published scientific data on the effects of pesticides on the animal microbiome. Pesticides can affect various parameters of the animal microbiome, such as the taxonomic composition of bacteria, bacterial biodiversity, and bacterial ratios and modify the microbiome of various organisms from insects to mammals. Pesticide induced changes in the microbiome reducing the animal’s immunity. The negative effects of pesticides could pose a global problem for pollinators. Another possible negative effect of pesticides is the impact of pesticides on the intestinal microbiota of bumblebees and bees that increase the body’s sensitivity to pathogenic microflora, which leads to the death of insects. In addition, pesticides can affect vitality, mating success and characteristics of offspring. The review considers methods for correcting of bee microbiome.
... Over the last years, there has been an increasing concern regarding the decline in pollinators, including honey bees. The reason for this decline seems multifactorial as honey bees suffer from the exposure to a variety of stress factors, including the decrease in abundance and diversity of flowers, a decline in suitable habitats, as well as a long-term exposure to pesticides and parasites [1,2]. Chitin and the cuticle coating are barriers protecting the insect pollinators from the environment, and this protection may be targeted by pesticides or parasites [3][4][5]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Honey bees play a crucial role in the nature by pollinating wild flowers. Over the past years, there has been an increasing concern regarding the honey bee colony decline. Pesticides or environmental effects targeting the biochemistry of insect chitin and cuticle coating may be in part responsible for honey bee pathologies. We here propose the use of electron paramagnetic resonance imaging (EPRI) as a tool to image the melanin–chitin complexes as part of the exoskeleton of the honey bee. EPRI at 9.65 GHz was applied on intact freeze-dried bees. The imaging data were collected on the melanin peak. High-resolution images revealed that this compound is extensively distributed in the periphery of the animal, data consistent with the localization in the cuticle of the bee. While EPR of melanin has been so far explored in the context of melanoma characterization, it may offer new opportunities in research on honey bees and other insects.
... Over the last decades, insect pollinator species richness and abundance have declined [10][11][12][13]. Although this phenomenon is complex, several reasons for pollinator decrease have been identified: pathogens and diseases [14,15], intensification of agricultural production and application of pesticides [16,17], habitat fragmentation [18], and the shortage of floral food resources [19][20][21]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Mosaic structure of urban green areas is regarded as favorable for pollinating insects. Ornamental plants can provide food resources to pollinators and may thus be used to create pollinator-friendly habitats. However, detailed data on forage quantity and quality is required for the selection of the most valuable plant species. In this paper, blooming biology, pollen production, and insect visitors of two forms (blue-flower and white-flower) of Polemonium caeruleum were studied in the period of 2012–2014 in Lublin, SE Poland. Both forms bloomed from mid-May until mid-June. The average mass of pollen produced in a single flower was 1.57 mg and 1.39 mg in blue-flower and white-flower forms, respectively. On average, the blue-flower form produced 7.74 g of pollen/m<sup>2</sup>, while the white-flower form yielded 6.54 g of pollen/m<sup>2</sup>. Both forms attracted mainly honey bees and solitary bees. Polemonium caeruleum can be considered a good source of pollen for honey bees and wild insect pollinators and should be propagated in urban pollinator-friendly arrangements.
Chapter
The technology of thermoelectrics has been deemed as an energy-harvesting tool to produce electrical energy from a temperature difference. Wasted heat, atmospheric heat, and heat from different sources can all be recovered and converted to electricity using thermoelectric devices. Organic and hybrid thermoelectrics have shown rapid development over the last decade due to increase in energy-saving and new energy requirements caused by the rapid growth of developing countries and environmental disasters leading to global warming. Metal or inorganic thermoelectrics exhibit higher efficiency and ZT values, but these are expensive and possess poor mechanical properties with toxic rare elements impurities. On other hand, organic thermoelectrics are inexpensive and exhibit flexible mechanical features with facile and rapid formation, but these show lower efficiency and ZT values compared to inorganic thermoelectrics. Organic–inorganic thermoelectric nanohybrids can assist from the features of both inorganic and organic thermoelectrics and are exclusively competitive for commercial applications of energy harvesting from waste heat to produce electricity. This chapter focuses on the fabrication and applications of organic–inorganic thermoelectric nanohybrids and devices.
Chapter
Over the past century, rapid economic development and population explosion across the globe have caused environmental concerns such as severe pollution and climate change. In the last decade, recent advancements in nanotechnology and specifically related to organic inorganic nanohybrids have created tremendous opportunities to provide technological solutions in the fields of environmental pollution control and remediation. Several investigations were conducted recently to develop versatile, highly efficient, low-cost, and environmental friendly organic–inorganic nanohybrids. The main specialty of an organic–inorganic nanohybrid is its development with desired composition, physical, and chemical properties in accordance with its utilization in various applications. In this chapter initially, organic–inorganic nanohybrids have been briefly introduced. Then, sources and detrimental health effects of various environmental pollutants are discussed. After that, the chapter focused on the latest progressions in the development methods, surface morphologies, multicomponent composition, surface properties (i.e., surface, functional groups), and synergistic physicochemical properties (i.e., adsorptive, catalytic) of organic–inorganic nanohybrids. Additionally, their respective applications in treating various environmental pollutants such as industrial dyes (i.e., Rhodamine B, methylene blue), harmful volatile organic compounds (i.e., benzene, toluene), and gases (i.e., CO2) with the emphasis on their roles in adsorptive and photocatalytic removal of the pollutants are analyzed and compared. Despite all the progress to date, futuristic approaches, challenges, and specific directions for further research relevant to organic–inorganic nanohybrids are also highlighted.
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Street lights are important light sources that contribute to artificial light at night (ALAN). To date, ecological impacts of individual LED properties (color temperature, dimmability) have been studied, while interactions between light properties or aspects of luminaire design have not been addressed. However, the design of luminaires can influence ALAN impacts as the shape determines the spatial distribution of light and its visibility in the environment. This may cause amplifying or mitigating effects. We assessed the relative individual and interacting effects of two LED luminaire designs and three LED color temperatures (1750 K, 3000 K, 4000 K) on nocturnal insect abundance, bat foraging and feeding activity. We considered a standard LED luminaire shape with focused light emission and a luminaire shape with a diffusor to scatter the light spatially, leading to increased visibility of the light in the environment. During 104 nights, we trapped 51263 nocturnal insects of which 97% were caught at lights and 3% at dark sites. For bats, up to 44.8% fewer acoustic signals were recorded at dark sites. We caught 31% insects at LEDs with1750 K, 34% and 35% at 3000 K and 4000 K, respectively. Thus, color temperatures of 1750 K proved less detrimental than 3000/4000 K. Effects of luminaire shape led to an increase (16%) of trapped insects for luminaires with diffusors compared to the standard shape. In addition, luminaires with diffusors amplified the effects of LED color (+12% insects at 1750 K/3000 K; +25.6% at 4000 K). In contrast, bat foraging activity was independent of the light treatments while bat feeding activity was increased by 21.5% at standard luminaire shapes. Likely, intense straylight at diffused lights negatively affects the target-focused echolocation by deterring the bats. We concluded that ecological impacts of luminaire shape are an important, yet underestimated variable in light-pollution impact research.
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In recent years molecular techniques have been used on museum material as integrative support for classic taxonomy. This cumulative systematics approach is especially for rare or extinct specimens, and genetic analysis may be useful to discern information that is not possible to glean from live materials or morphology. To date, the extraction of DNA required at least a partial destruction of the specimens, which is not possible for all individuals, especially the types. In this study, we described a novel method to extract mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from pinned museum bee individuals to avoid any external morphological damage. This method was able to amplify the mtDNA Cytochrome C oxidase subunit I (COI) gene in bee samples collected up to 27 years ago. We tested the efficacy of this method on 72 preserved be specimens belonging to nine species among four families, it could be used on many museums’ rare and/or extinct bee species because it does not provide external morphological damages. The method could be helpful for providing ecological, taxonomic, and phylogenetic information about specimens preserved in museum collections.
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Feral animals are those that live wild but are descendants of domesticated populations. Although in many cases, possibly the majority, these populations suppose a risk to the environment and may conflict with wild local species and human activities, there are feral populations that are considered worth preserving hold and, in some cases, already enjoy protection from interest groups and even pubic authorities. In this review, we aimed to separate those valuable populations using model cases classified by three main criteria of interest: (a) the genetic conservation value in case of extinct wild ancestors, (b) the niche occupancy criterion and, finally, (c) a cultural criterion. We propose a detailed analysis of feral populations under scrutiny, supporting control measures when necessary, but also allowing for international protection at the same level as wild animals for feral taxa of special concern. Feral taxa which are already in the focus of conservation efforts and may be awarded extended recognition and protection include ancient lineages of feral dogs, horses, camels, goats and bees (as pollinators) in different parts of the world.
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Chemically induced toxicity is the leading cause of recent extinction of honey bees. In this regard, we developed an innovative artificial intelligence-based web app (BeeToxAI) for assessing the acute toxicity of chemicals to Apis mellifera. Initially, we developed and externally validated QSAR models for classification (external set accuracy ∼91%) through the combination of Random Forest and molecular fingerprints to predict the potential for chemicals to cause acute contact toxicity and acute oral toxicity to honey bees. Then, we developed and externally validated regression QSAR models (R2 = 0.75) using Feedforward Neural Networks (FNNs). Afterward, the best models were implemented in the publicly available BeeToxAI web app (http://beetoxai.labmol.com.br/). The outputs of BeeToxAI are: toxicity predictions with estimated confidence, applicability domain estimation, and color-coded maps of relative structure fragment contributions to toxicity. As an additional assessment of BeeToxAI performance, we collected an external set of pesticides with known bee toxicity that were not included in our modeling dataset. BeeToxAI classification models were able to predict four out of five pesticides correctly. The acute contact toxicity model correctly predicted all of the eight pesticides. Here we demonstrate that BeeToxAI can be used as a rapid new approach methodology for predicting acute toxicity of chemicals in honey bees.
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Habitat degradation, mostly caused by human impact, is one of the key drivers of biodiversity loss. This is a global problem, causing a decline in the number of pollinators, such as hoverflies. In the process of digitalizing ecological studies in Serbia, remote-sensing-based land cover classification has become a key component for both current and future research. Object-based land cover classification, using machine learning algorithms of very high resolution (VHR) imagery acquired by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was carried out in three different study sites on Mt. Stara Planina, Eastern Serbia. UAV land cover classified maps with seven land cover classes (trees, shrubs, meadows, road, water, agricultural land, and forest patches) were studied. Moreover, three different classification algorithms—support vector machine (SVM), random forest (RF), and k-NN (k-nearest neighbors)—were compared. This study shows that the random forest classifier performs better with respect to the other classifiers in all three study sites, with overall accuracy values ranging from 0.87 to 0.96. The overall results are robust to changes in labeling ground truth subsets. The obtained UAV land cover classified maps were compared with the Map of the Natural Vegetation of Europe (EPNV) and used to quantify habitat degradation and assess hoverfly species richness. It was concluded that the percentage of habitat degradation is primarily caused by anthropogenic pressure, thus affecting the richness of hoverfly species in the study sites. In order to enable research reproducibility, the datasets used in this study are made available in a public repository.
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The population of bumble bees and other pollinators has considerably declined worldwide, probably, due to the toxic effect of pesticides used in agriculture. Inexpensive and available antidotes can be one of the solutions for the problem of pesticide toxicity for pollinators. We studied the properties of the thiazine dye Methylene blue (MB) as an antidote against the toxic action of pesticides in the bumble bee mitochondria and found that MB stimulated mitochondrial respiration mediated by Complex I of the electron transport chain (ETC) and increased respiration of the mitochondria treated with mitochondria-targeted (chlorfenapyr, hydramethylnon, pyridaben, tolfenpyrad, and fenazaquin) and non-mitochondrial (deltamethrin, metribuzin, and penconazole) pesticides. MB also restored the mitochondrial membrane potential dissipated by the pesticides affecting the ETC. The mechanism of MB action is most probably related to its ability to shunt electron flow in the mitochondrial ETC.
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Known to be as one of the most effective pollinators, bees are responsible for the crucial reproductive assistance of a wide variety of plant and crop populations. To put things into perspective, one out three bites of harvested food is directly linked to the pollinator services that bees provide. Bees’ symbiotic relationships with large portions of wild plant populations make them pivotal to the maintenance of balance in the global biodiversity. The importance of bees is easily identifiable and any negative effects on such can provoke a cascading effect of environmental and economic issues. The global populations of bees are dropping at worrying rates and an effort to tackle this problem is necessary. To address this issue, this policy seeks to increase Apis Mellifera populations in the circular crown area within 9 and 30 km radius from the centre of the city of Milan. This would be achieved by the implementation of 63,350 beehives within our area of interest. Using Cost Benefit Analysis, a target number of beehives is identified, whilst also clarifying the economic and social values that these beehives can provide. Analysing the types of values that pollination has, we identify and clarify the monetary and social profits this project can supply to the local agriculture and community of Lombardy, in terms of economic value.This recommendation would be accompanied by marketing and community- involvement campaigns that aim to raise awareness about this intangible, yet dangerous environmental problem.
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Recent reports indicate that global insect populations are drastically declining, and amongst insects, bees have attracted significant attention. Decades of research on causal factors for bee population declines, indicate that extensive loss of natural habitats resulting from urbanization and agricultural intensification, has led to a dearth of critical nesting and forage resources essential for the sustenance of bees. To address these concerns and to meet the growing need for food production, simple but effective farm management practices such as restoring habitat diversity through planting pollinator habitats along field margins and underutilized areas, revegetating retired farmland with wildflowers and including pollinator-friendly forbs in cover crop mixes, have been recommended. Earlier studies have provided evidence that planting pollinator habitats along field margins and revegetating retired farmland are indeed viable ways to sustain bee pollinators. Here we report results of a case study exploring the benefits of cover cropping with a pollinator-friendly forb mix. Our results indicate that cover cropping to support pollinators can be effective, particularly when cover crops are retained until the flowering stage and that grazing of cover crops could extend support to those genera of bees that prefer grazed areas. Although the reports on global insect declines are dire, our studies show that pollinator-friendly farm management practices can offset the declines and play a significant role in supporting pollinator populations. Regular assessment of the efficacy of these practices will enable us to target efforts towards better implementation of habitat conservation programs.
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Participatory action research (PAR) is an approach for fully co-creating research into environmental problems with the public. We argue this is mostly done for manifest environmental problems that clearly threaten livelihoods and have highly predictable impacts. But the conventional PAR approach is not suitable when the impacts are poorly understood and pose a low threat to livelihoods. Such latent environmental problems do not have a clear conflict to be resolved; instead, the community’s inertia should be overcome. In this article, we develop what we call the PAR-L approach, for which we present a step-by-step guide and an evaluation framework. We then demonstrate this approach on the latent problem of the invasive alien Coralita vine (Antigonon leptopus) on Saba (Caribbean Netherlands) and find that it results in thorough understanding of the community inertia. Overcoming the inertia would require a project to run longer and a simultaneous knowledge-gathering effort, but PAR-L is a good starting point.
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The sterile release technique liberates infertile individuals who mate with wilds. Consequently, wilds have two mating options: sterile or fertile individuals. This choice process can be framed in a theoretical game, typical in economic studies, between two opponents with the appropriate payoff (fitness). The game matrix is constructed depending on parameters such as wild growth rates and the influx rate of sterile individuals. A technique using replicator dynamics allows the equilibrium points to be determined, particularly, the (Nash) equilibrium resulting from the influx of the sterile population. Moreover, when population diffusion is considered, the niche of wilds becomes partitioned, defining a criterion for protecting biodiversity. The medfly, Ceratitis capitata, is regarded as an explicit example for parameter evaluations and numerical simulations.
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Pollination is an ecosystem service that is in jeopardy globally. Decreasing trends in wild pollinator populations are primarily attributed to habitat loss and degradation. These concerns are especially apparent in the Rainwater Basin of Nebraska, USA where more than 90% of the land has been cultivated and 90% of the wetlands have been lost. We compared hymenopteran and dipteran pollinator abundance, richness, and diversity in 28 wetlands and their adjacent uplands within 3 dominant land-condition types: cropped, restored, and reference state. We used vane traps to capture local pollinator insects and sweep nets to collect insect pollinators on flowers. Vane-trap captures revealed a greater abundance, richness, and diversity of hymenopteran pollinators in uplands as compared to wetlands over the entire growing season in all land-condition types. However, net collections showed that hymenopterans foraged more in wetlands than in uplands, especially in restored wetlands. The exception was September when hymenopterans were captured in uplands more than wetlands while feeding on late season forbs. Dipteran vane-trap and sweep-net captures primarily consisted of hoverflies (Syrphidae). Hoverflies were more abundant in wetlands than uplands. All pollinators used both wetlands and uplands for resources. Thus, insect-pollinator conservation can be enhanced by promoting native forb communities and pollinator habitat through wetland restoration and the planting of buffer strips.
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Global declines of insect pollinators jeopardize the delivery of pollination services in both agricultural and natural ecosystems. The importance of infectious diseases has been documented in honeybees, but there is little information on the extent to which these diseases are shared with other pollinator orders. Here, we establish for the first time the presence of three important bee viruses in hoverfly pollinators (Diptera: Syrphidae): black queen cell virus (BQCV), sacbrood virus (SBV) and deformed wing virus strain B (DWV-B). These viruses were detected in twoEristalisspecies, which are behavioural and morphological bee mimics and share a foraging niche with honeybees. Nucleotide sequences of viruses isolated from theEristalisspecies andApis melliferawere up to 99 and 100% identical for the two viruses, suggesting that these pathogens are being shared freely between bees and hoverflies. Interestingly, while replicative intermediates (negative strand virus) were not detected in the hoverflies, viral titres of SBV were similar to those found inA. melliferaThese results suggest that syrphid pollinators may play an important but previously unexplored role in pollinator disease dynamics.
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Climate change can influence consumer populations both directly, by affecting survival and reproduction, and indirectly, by altering resources. However, little is known about the relative importance of direct and indirect effects, particularly for species important to ecosystem functioning, like pollinators. We used structural equation modelling to test the importance of direct and indirect (via floral resources) climate effects on the interannual abundance of three subalpine bumble bee species. In addition, we used long-term data to examine how climate and floral resources have changed over time. Over 8 years, bee abundances were driven primarily by the indirect effects of climate on the temporal distribution of floral resources. Over 43 years, aspects of floral phenology changed in ways that indicate species-specific effects on bees. Our study suggests that climate-driven alterations in floral resource phenology can play a critical role in governing bee population responses to global change.
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Global declines in insects have sparked wide interest among scientists, politicians, and the general public. Loss of insect diversity and abundance is expected to provoke cascading effects on food webs and to jeopardize ecosystem services. Our understanding of the extent and underlying causes of this decline is based on the abundance of single species or taxo-nomic groups only, rather than changes in insect biomass which is more relevant for ecological functioning. Here, we used a standardized protocol to measure total insect biomass using Malaise traps, deployed over 27 years in 63 nature protection areas in Germany (96 unique location-year combinations) to infer on the status and trend of local entomofauna. Our analysis estimates a seasonal decline of 76%, and midsummer decline of 82% in flying insect biomass over the 27 years of study. We show that this decline is apparent regardless of habitat type, while changes in weather, land use, and habitat characteristics cannot explain this overall decline. This yet unrecognized loss of insect biomass must be taken into account in evaluating declines in abundance of species depending on insects as a food source, and ecosystem functioning in the European landscape.
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Animal pollination can impact food security since many crops depend on pollinators to produce fruits and seeds. However, the effects of projected climate change on crop pollinators and therefore on crop production are still unclear, especially for wild pollinators and aggregate community responses. Using species distributional modeling, we assessed the effects of climate change on the geographic distribution of 95 pollinator species of 13 Brazilian crops, and we estimated their relative impacts on crop production. We described these effects at the municipality level, and we assessed the crops that were grown, the gross production volume of these crops, the total crop production value, and the number of inhabitants. Overall, considering all crop species, we found that the projected climate change will reduce the probability of pollinator occurrence by almost 0.13 by 2050. Our models predict that almost 90% of the municipalities analyzed will face species loss. Decreases in the pollinator occurrence probability varied from 0.08 (persimmon) to 0.25 (tomato) and will potentially affect 9% (mandarin) to 100% (sunflower) of the municipalities that produce each crop. Municipalities in central and southern Brazil will potentially face relatively large impacts on crop production due to pollinator loss. In contrast, some municipalities in northern Brazil, particularly in the northwestern Amazon, could potentially benefit from climate change because pollinators of some crops may increase. The decline in the probability of pollinator occurrence is found in a large number of municipalities with the lowest GDP and will also likely affect some places where crop production is high (20% to 90% of the GDP) and where the number of inhabitants is also high (more than 6 million people). Our study highlights key municipalities where crops are economically important and where pollinators will potentially face the worst conditions due to climate change. However, pollinators may be able to find new suitable areas that have the potential to improve crop production. The results shown here could guide policy decisions for adapting to climate change and for preventing the loss of pollinator species and crop production.
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Conservation biology can profit greatly from incorporating a phylogenetic perspective into analyses of patterns and drivers of species extinction risk. We applied such an approach to analyse patterns of bumblebee (Bombus) decline. We assembled a database representing approximately 43% of the circa 260 globally known species, which included species extinction risk assessments following the International Union fo Conservation of Nature Red List categories and criteria, and information on species traits presumably associated with bumblebee decline. We quantified the strength of phylogenetic signal in decline, range size, tongue length and parasite presence. Overall, about one-third of the assessed bumblebees are declining and declining species are not randomly distributed across the Bombus phylogeny. Susceptible species were over-represented in the subgenus Thoracobombus (approx. 64%) and under-represented in the subgenus Pyrobombus (approx. 6%). Phylogenetic logistic regressions revealed that species with small geographical ranges and those in which none of three internal parasites were reported (i.e. Crithidia bombi, Nosema spp. or Locustacarus buchneri) were particularly vulnerable. Bumblebee evolutionary history will be deeply eroded if most species from threatened clades, particularly those stemming from basal nodes, become finally extinct. The habitat of species with restricted distribution should be protected and the importance of pathogen tolerance/ resistance as mechanisms to deal with pathogens needs urgent research. © 2017 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
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Significance The strong focus on species extinctions, a critical aspect of the contemporary pulse of biological extinction, leads to a common misimpression that Earth’s biota is not immediately threatened, just slowly entering an episode of major biodiversity loss. This view overlooks the current trends of population declines and extinctions. Using a sample of 27,600 terrestrial vertebrate species, and a more detailed analysis of 177 mammal species, we show the extremely high degree of population decay in vertebrates, even in common “species of low concern.” Dwindling population sizes and range shrinkages amount to a massive anthropogenic erosion of biodiversity and of the ecosystem services essential to civilization. This “biological annihilation” underlines the seriousness for humanity of Earth’s ongoing sixth mass extinction event.
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Damage confirmed Early studies of the impacts of neonicotinoid insecticides on insect pollinators indicated considerable harm. However, lingering criticism was that the studies did not represent field-realistic levels of the chemicals or prevailing environmental conditions. Two studies, conducted on different crops and on two continents, now substantiate that neonicotinoids diminish bee health (see the Perspective by Kerr). Tsvetkov et al. find that bees near corn crops are exposed to neonicotinoids for 3 to 4 months via nontarget pollen, resulting in decreased survival and immune responses, especially when coexposed to a commonly used agrochemical fungicide. Woodcock et al. , in a multicounty experiment on rapeseed in Europe, find that neonicotinoid exposure from several nontarget sources reduces overwintering success and colony reproduction in both honeybees and wild bees. These field results confirm that neonicotinoids negatively affect pollinator health under realistic agricultural conditions. Science , this issue p. 1395 , p. 1393 ; see also p. 1331
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Damage confirmed Early studies of the impacts of neonicotinoid insecticides on insect pollinators indicated considerable harm. However, lingering criticism was that the studies did not represent field-realistic levels of the chemicals or prevailing environmental conditions. Two studies, conducted on different crops and on two continents, now substantiate that neonicotinoids diminish bee health (see the Perspective by Kerr). Tsvetkov et al. find that bees near corn crops are exposed to neonicotinoids for 3 to 4 months via nontarget pollen, resulting in decreased survival and immune responses, especially when coexposed to a commonly used agrochemical fungicide. Woodcock et al. , in a multicounty experiment on rapeseed in Europe, find that neonicotinoid exposure from several nontarget sources reduces overwintering success and colony reproduction in both honeybees and wild bees. These field results confirm that neonicotinoids negatively affect pollinator health under realistic agricultural conditions. Science , this issue p. 1395 , p. 1393 ; see also p. 1331
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Worldwide, human appropriation of ecosystems is disrupting plant–pollinator communities and pollination function through habitat conversion and landscape homogenisation. Conversion to agriculture is destroying and degrading semi-natural ecosystems while conventional land-use intensification (e.g. industrial management of large-scale monocultures with high chemical inputs) homogenises landscape structure and quality. Together, these anthropogenic processes reduce the connectivity of populations and erode floral and nesting resources to undermine pollinator abundance and diversity, and ultimately pollination services. Ecological intensification of agriculture represents a strategic alternative to ameliorate these drivers of pollinator decline while supporting sustainable food production, by promoting biodiversity beneficial to agricultural production through management practices such as intercropping, crop rotations, farm-level diversification and reduced agrochemical use. We critically evaluate its potential to address and reverse the land use and management trends currently degrading pollinator communities and potentially causing widespread pollination deficits. We find that many of the practices that constitute ecological intensification can contribute to mitigating the drivers of polli-nator decline. Our findings support ecological intensification as a solution to pollinator declines, and we discuss ways to promote it in agricultural policy and practice.
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Wild bee declines have been ascribed in part to neonicotinoid insecticides. While short-term laboratory studies on commercially bred species (principally honeybees and bumblebees) have identified sub-lethal effects, there is no strong evidence linking these insecticides to losses of the majority of wild bee species. We relate 18 years of UK national wild bee distribution data for 62 species to amounts of neonicotinoid use in oilseed rape. Using a multi-species dynamic Bayesian occupancy analysis, we find evidence of increased population extinction rates in response to neonicotinoid seed treatment use on oilseed rape. Species foraging on oilseed rape benefit from the cover of this crop, but were on average three times more negatively affected by exposure to neonicotinoids than non-crop foragers. Our results suggest that sub-lethal effects of neonicotinoids could scale up to cause losses of bee biodiversity. Restrictions on neonicotinoid use may reduce population declines.
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Information on the long‑term consequences of Nosema ceranae to honey bee lifespan and effectiveness of Nosema control with fumagillin is scarce and not always consistent. Our objective in this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the antibiotic fumagillin to control N. ceranae in hives in East‑Central Argentina. Honey bee hives were assigned to 3 experimental treatments, a control group with un‑treated hives, a preventive strategy group with hives treated monthly, and a monitoring strategy group with hives treated according to a N. ceranae threshold level. Apiaries were monitored monthly during Fall‑Winter 2009 and 2010 and N. ceranae spore intensity and honey bee colony strength measures were estimated. Fumagillin‑treated colonies had reduced N. ceranae spores load in 2010 compared to control colonies. However, there was no significant difference between treated and control groups for colony strength measures including adult bee population, bee brood availability, honey, or pollen. Fumagillin treatment reduced N. ceranae intensities but had little effect on colonies. The bee population during Winter was reduced in treated as well as in control colonies. Our results clarify that fumagillin treatment should be at least reviewed and that further research should be conducted to acquire a more complete perspective of Nosemosis disease.
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Most of us have been shocked after walking across a carpet and touching a metal doorknob. The build-up of charge—“static” electricity—on the surface of some nonconductors because of friction is called triboelectricity. We are unaware of the build-up of charge on our bodies as we walk and only notice it upon discharge when it briefly stimulates our pain-sensing neurons; it is essentially an epiphenomenon for us. That positive charge builds up on flying insects, such as bees, has been appreciated for decades (1, 2). Similarly, flowers hold electric charge and their negatively charged pollens are attracted to the positive charge on the bodies of alighting bees (3). So at the very least, a bee’s accumulation of charge is harnessed to aid in pollination. But, do bees sense the charge on their bodies or on flowers, and use this information to guide their behavior or, like us, are they unaware of it? If bees sense electric fields, then how? A recent set of experiments by Robert and colleagues demonstrated that bumble bees (Bombus terrestris) indeed sense a flower’s electric fields, that these convey important information to them (4) and, in an article in PNAS (5), Sutton et al. show that these electric fields are sensed by electrostatic movements of the many mechanosensory filiform hairs over their bodies.
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Significance Electroreception in terrestrial animals is poorly understood. In bumblebees, the mechanical response of filiform hairs in the presence of electric fields provides key evidence for electrosensitivity to ecologically relevant electric fields. Mechanosensory hairs in arthropods have been shown to function as fluid flow or sound particle velocity receivers. The present work provides direct evidence for additional, nonexclusive functionality involving electrical Coulomb-force coupling between distant charged objects and mechanosensory hairs. Thus, the sensory mechanism is proposed to rely on electromechanical coupling, whereby many light thin hairs serve the detection of the electrical field surrounding a bumblebee approaching a flower. This finding prompts the possibility that other terrestrial animals use such sensory hairs to detect and respond to electric fields.
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Significance Many of the world’s crops are pollinated by insects, and bees are often assumed to be the most important pollinators. To our knowledge, our study is the first quantitative evaluation of the relative contribution of non-bee pollinators to global pollinator-dependent crops. Across 39 studies we show that insects other than bees are efficient pollinators providing 39% of visits to crop flowers. A shift in perspective from a bee-only focus is needed for assessments of crop pollinator biodiversity and the economic value of pollination. These studies should also consider the services provided by other types of insects, such as flies, wasps, beetles, and butterflies—important pollinators that are currently overlooked.
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Honey bees are important pollinators of agricultural crops. Since 2006, US beekeepers have experienced high annual honey bee colony losses, which may be attributed to multiple abiotic and biotic factors, including pathogens. However, the relative importance of these factors has not been fully elucidated. To identify the most prevalent pathogens and investigate the relationship between colony strength and health, we assessed pathogen occurrence, prevalence, and abundance in Western US honey bee colonies involved in almond pollination. The most prevalent pathogens were Black queen cell virus (BQCV), Lake Sinai virus 2 (LSV2), Sacbrood virus (SBV), Nosema ceranae, and trypanosomatids. Our results indicated that pathogen prevalence and abundance were associated with both sampling date and beekeeping operation, that prevalence was highest in honey bee samples obtained immediately after almond pollination, and that weak colonies had a greater mean pathogen prevalence than strong colonies. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13592-015-0395-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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In April 2013, based on reviews by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Commission announced a two-year ban on the use of three insecticides in the neonicotinoid group on certain flowering crops, as well as on certain crops that are not attractive to bees at certain times of the year. Although there was strong lobbying against the proposed ban by the multinational chemical companies that produce the insecticides, along with farmer’s groups, strong lobbying in support of the ban came from environmental groups, beekeeping organizations and the general public. Even after two rounds of voting, the European parliament did not reach a consensus, forcing the European Commission to exercise its rights and impose the ban – based especially on the evidence presented in a review of relevant scientific data produced by the European Union’s own European Food Safety Authority. Various reports suggest that, on the one hand, some European governments were persuaded to support the position of the multinational chemical companies rather than be persuaded by the review of research data, while on the other hand, environmental groups over-played the risks posed by the insecticides in question and the potential benefits of the proposed ban. This case study report briefly reviews the background data on recent reported declines in bee populations; cites some of the evidence put forward by EFSA and others in support of and against the ban; reports on the process of the legislation as it proceeded through the European parliament as well as the lobbying that went on during the votes, including an analysis of the roles of key players and commentators; and proposes a way forward to resolve the apparent dichotomy between the pesticide producers and those who support the ban.
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1 Chronic exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides has been linked to reduced survival of pollinating insects at both the individual and colony level, but so far only experimentally. Analyses of large-scale datasets to investigate the real-world links between the use of neonicotinoids and pollinator mortality are lacking. Moreover, the impacts of neonicotinoid seed coatings in reducing subsequent applications of foliar insecticide sprays and increasing crop yield are not known, despite the supposed benefits of this practice driving widespread use. Here, we combine large-scale pesticide usage and yield observations from oilseed rape with those detailing honey bee colony losses over an 11 year period, and reveal a correlation between honey bee colony losses and national-scale imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) usage patterns across England and Wales. We also provide the first evidence that farmers who use neonicotinoid seed coatings reduce the number of subsequent applications of foliar insecticide sprays and may derive an economic return. Our results inform the societal discussion on the pollinator costs and farming benefits of prophylactic neonicotinoid usage on a mass flowering crop.
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For many species, geographical ranges are expanding toward the poles in response to climate change, while remaining stable along range edges nearest the equator. Using long-term observations across Europe and North America over 110 years, we tested for climate change–related range shifts in bumblebee species across the full extents of their latitudinal and thermal limits and movements along elevation gradients. We found cross-continentally consistent trends in failures to track warming through time at species’ northern range limits, range losses from southern range limits, and shifts to higher elevations among southern species. These effects are independent of changing land uses or pesticide applications and underscore the need to test for climate impacts at both leading and trailing latitudinal and thermal limits for species. Bucking the trend Responses to climate change have been observed across many species. There is a general trend for species to shift their ranges poleward or up in elevation. Not all species, however, can make such shifts, and these species might experience more rapid declines. Kerr et al. looked at data on bumblebees across North America and Europe over the past 110 years. Bumblebees have not shifted northward and are experiencing shrinking distributions in the southern ends of their range. Such failures to shift may be because of their origins in a cooler climate, and suggest an elevated susceptibility to rapid climate change. Science, this issue p. 177
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