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Abstract

Biodiversity of insects is threatened worldwide. Here, we present a comprehensive review of 73 historical reports of insect declines from across the globe, and systematically assess the underlying drivers. Our work reveals dramatic rates of decline that may lead to the extinction of 40% of the world's insect species over the next few decades. In terrestrial ecosystems, Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera and dung beetles (Coleoptera) appear to be the taxa most affected, whereas four major aquatic taxa (Odonata, Plecoptera, Trichoptera and Ephemeroptera) have already lost a considerable proportion of species. Affected insect groups not only include specialists that occupy particular ecological niches, but also many common and generalist species. Concurrently, the abundance of a small number of species is increasing; these are all adaptable, generalist species that are occupying the vacant niches left by the ones declining. Among aquatic insects, habitat and dietary generalists, and pollutant-tolerant species are replacing the large biodiversity losses experienced in waters within agricultural and urban settings. The main drivers of species declines appear to be in order of importance: i) habitat loss and conversion to intensive agriculture and urbanisation; ii) pollution, mainly that by synthetic pesticides and fertilisers; iii) biological factors, including pathogens and introduced species; and iv) climate change. The latter factor is particularly important in tropical regions, but only affects a minority of species in colder climes and mountain settings of temperate zones. A rethinking of current agricultural practices, in particular a serious reduction in pesticide usage and its substitution with more sustainable, ecologically-based practices, is urgently needed to slow or reverse current trends, allow the recovery of declining insect populations and safeguard the vital ecosystem services they provide. In addition, effective remediation technologies should be applied to clean polluted waters in both agricultural and urban environments.

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... Pollinators are essential for or contribute to the reproduction of most wild plant species (Ollerton et al., 2011) as well as 75% of crop species (Klein et al., 2007). However, local and regional declines of wild bees are being documented worldwide (S anchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys, 2019). Causes of such declines include habitat loss, pesticide use, invasive species, pathogen spread, and climate change . ...
... Though the impact of lethal sampling on wild bee populations for scientific or conservation purposes dwarfs the impact of other anthropogenic stressors (Keilsohn et al., 2018), and it is certainly not among the main drivers of bee and insect declines (Miliči c et al., 2021;Potts et al., 2010;S anchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys, 2019), reducing the numbers of captures is an ethical, logistical, and scientifically defensible long-term objective (Drinkwater et al., 2019;Tepedino & Portman, 2021), especially for rare species or species of conservation concern (Minteer et al., 2014) and in intense spatially and temporally replicated sampling (Montgomery et al., 2021). The goal of minimizing harm to animal populations while simultaneously achieving scientific research objectives has been addressed with the "3Rs" approach since the 1950s (Russell & Burch, 1959). ...
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Bees are important pollinators of wild and domesticated flowering plant species. Over the last 30 years, an increasing number of scientific articles have been published on the ecology and conservation of wild bees. To achieve research goals, many studies have pursued the lethal take of wild bees. Although the impact of lethal take for scientific pursuits is likely negligible compared to the negative impacts of human‐mediated phenomena such as climate change, urbanization, and agricultural intensification, it is important to evaluate the history of lethal take on scientific endeavors. In our study, we evaluated a random sample of 30 years of scientific publications on wild bees. Across 1426 surveyed publications, 536 reported the lethal take of wild bees. We found that 61% of these studies lethally captured wild bees primarily for species identification. Furthermore, we determined passive sampling of wild bees resulted in substantially more lethal collections than active methods per study. However, combined approaches of passive and active collection resulted in the greatest lethal take of wild bees per study. Finally, we determined that 64% of the studies did not provide deposition information for their samples, hindering additional research that could be done with them. The increasing availability of video and photographic devices and artificial intelligence approaches to identification, the development of low and noninvasive molecular methods, and the ease of sharing information, allow for a timely discussion on alternative routes and potentially new best practices in bee research. We focus our discussion on alternative methods for minimizing lethal captures for identification purposes and through passive methods, and for maximizing the utility of the data collected. Finally, we provide a framework for continued engagement among researchers and managers to develop strategies that can contribute to reducing our impact on wild bee communities and making the most of collected specimens. To achieve research goals, many studies have pursued the lethal capture of wild bees. We conducted a literature search of last 30 years of scientific research on wild bees and we found that 61% of studies (from a random sample of the total) lethally captured wild bees, primarily for species identification and with passive sampling methods. We then discuss the current available alternative methods for minimizing lethal captures and maximizing the utility of the data collected, and thus, for reducing our impact on wild bee communities.
... Terrestrial insects have strongly declined during recent decades, with important consequences for the functioning of the world's ecosystems [1][2][3][4][5]. A significant loss of biodi-In this study, we used Malaise traps and metabarcoding to collect and identify insects in vineyards in southwest Germany. ...
... All analyses were conducted using R v. 4 . We explored the data for distribution patterns. ...
Article
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Metabarcoding is a powerful tool for ecological studies and monitoring that might provide a solution to the time-consuming taxonomic identification of the vast diversity of insects. Here, we assess how ambient weather conditions during Malaise trap exposure and the effort of trapping affect biomass and taxa richness in vineyards. Biomass varied by more than twofold with weather conditions. It increased with warmer and drier weather but was not significantly related with wind or precipitation. Taxa richness showed a saturating relationship with increasing trapping duration and was influenced by environmental and seasonal effects. Taxa accumulation was high, increasing fourfold from three days of monthly trap exposure compared to continuous trapping and nearly sixfold from sampling at a single site compared to 32 sites. The limited saturation was mainly due to a large number of singletons, such as rare species, in the metabarcoding dataset. Metabarcoding can be key for long-term insect monitoring. We conclude that single traps operated for up to ten days per month are suitable to monitor the presence of common species. However, more intensive trapping is necessary for a good representation of rare species in biodiversity monitoring. The data collected here can potentially guide the design of monitoring studies.
... In den vergangenen Jahrzehnten musste weltweit ein genereller starker Verlust an Biodiversität verzeichnet werden (Barnosky et al. 2011;Maxwell et al. 2016) und inzwischen spricht man bereits vom 6. Massensterben auf der Erde (Ceballos et al. 2017). Auch innerhalb der Gruppe der Insekten wurde eine drastische Abnahme in der Diversität und Abundanz beobachtet (Hall et al. 2016;Sánchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys 2021 (Goulson et al. 2008;Potts et al. 2010;Vanbergen & The Insect Pollinators Initiative 2013). Als Gründe für den vergangenen und aktuellen Artenrückgang werden u. a. ...
... Verlust von geeignetem Lebensraum (Fahrig 2003;Olden et al. 2006;van Dyck et al. 2009;Kennedy et al. 2013), Pestizide (Godfray et al. 2015;Goulson et al. 2015), Parasiten und Pathogene (Fürst et al. 2014;Ravoet et al. 2014;Wilfert et al. 2016), invasive Arten (Stout & Morales 2009) sowie der Klimawandel (Giannini et al. 2012;Kerr et al. 2015;Schmidt et al. 2016) genannt. Der Verlust von geeignetem Lebensraum, in qualitativer sowie in quantitativer Hinsicht, stellt dabei aber höchstwahrscheinlich den gravierendsten aller genannten Einschnitte für die Bestäuberinsekten dar (Goulson et al. 2015;Sánchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys 2021). Denn dieser hat weitreichende Folgen und geht meist mit dem Verlust von geeigneten Nahrungsquellen, Nistmöglichkeiten und/oder Baumaterialen einher (Westrich 1996;Goulson et al. 2008;Roulston & Goodell 2011). ...
Thesis
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Aktuell ist weltweit eine zunehmende Ausdehnung der städtischen Gebiete zu beobachten, was ein Verlust von natürlichen Lebensräumen bedeutet. Soll die derzeitige Biodiversität jedoch erhalten bleiben, müssen vermehrt Anstrengungen unternommen werden, um heimischer Flora und Fauna auch im urbanen Gebiet Ersatzlebensräume bieten zu können. Hinsichtlich der Artenvielfalt und der Bewertung des Lebensraums „Stadt“ kommen wissenschaftliche Studien zu stark unterschiedlichen Ergebnissen, wenngleich sie jedoch alle betonen, dass urbane Grünflächen einen wertvollen Beitrag zur Förderung eines städtischen Artenreichtums leisten können. Während vielfach darauf hingewiesen wird, dass ausreichende und geeignete Nahrungsressourcen für die Bestäuberinsekten bereitgestellt werden müssen, wurde in den seltensten Fällen untersucht, ob Zierpflanzen von den urbanen Bestäubern überhaupt als Nahrungsquelle genutzt werden. Dies war für lange Zeit umstritten, wird aber inzwischen zunehmend durch Publikationen belegt, wobei die ökologische Bedeutung der Zierpflanzen nach wie vor kontrovers diskutiert wird. So gibt es offenbar große Attraktivitätsunterschiede innerhalb der Zierpflanzen und darüber hinaus können wohl nicht alle Bestäubergruppen gleichermaßen von den zumeist exotischen Zierpflanzen als Nahrungsressource profitieren. Da zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt nicht zu jeder Zierpflanze wissenschaftlich erhobene Daten vorliegen, war es zunächst ein Ziel dieser Arbeit, belastbare Daten hinsichtlich der Bestäuberfreundlichkeit bestimmter Zierpflanzen, insbesondere solche mit einem hohen Markanteil, zu gewinnen. Für solche Versuche sollten darüber hinaus entsprechende Erfassungsmethoden beurteilt und weiterentwickelt werden. Ein weiterer und bisher kaum untersuchter Schwerpunkt der Arbeit war die Frage, welche Faktoren sich in welcher Form auf die Zusammensetzung und Abundanz der urbanen Bestäuber auswirken. Um diese Fragestellungen bearbeiten zu können, wurden in den Jahren 2017 – 2019 in Freiland- und Semifreilandversuchen Zählungen, Beobachtungen sowie Kescherfänge zur Bestäuberattraktivität bestimmter Zierpflanzen durchgeführt. Im ersten Versuchsansatz wurde an 13 verschiedenen Standorten im Stadtgebiet Stuttgart jeweils ein Hochbeet aufgestellt, welches mit einer identischen Auswahl an Zierpflanzen bepflanzt wurde. In den Jahren 2017 und 2018 wurden alle Standorte während der Sommermonate wöchentlich besucht und die Hochbeete 20 Minuten lang beobachtet. In dieser Zeit wurde die Anzahl der Bestäuberinsekten sowie deren Zugehörigkeit zu bestimmten Insektengruppen erfasst. Es konnten im Rahmen dieser Erfassungen insgesamt 10.565 pollen- und/oder nektarsammelnde Blütenbesucher gezählt werden. Dies bestätigt zunächst einmal, dass unsere Auswahl an Zierpflanzen von Bestäuberinsekten als Nahrungsquelle genutzt wurde. Die Attraktivität der getesteten Zierpflanzen unterschied sich jedoch in erheblichem Maße innerhalb der Pflanzenarten und reichte von durchschnittlich 1,2 Blütenbesuche pro 20 Minuten bei Bracteantha bracteata (Garten-Strohblume) bis zu 5,3 Besuche bei Bidens (Goldmarie). Die Attraktivität variierte jedoch auch – und dies teilweise in stärkerem Maße – zwischen den Sorten einer Art. Statistische Modelle zeigten darüber hinaus signifikante Einflüsse von Untersuchungsjahr und Standort. Dies unterstreicht die Notwendigkeit einer kontinuierlichen Testung aller Zierpflanzen hinsichtlich der Bestäuberfreundlichkeit, wofür die hier beschriebenen Methoden sich als gut geeignet erwiesen haben. Bemerkenswert ist, dass sich nicht nur die Abundanz, sondern auch die Zusammensetzung der Bestäuber signifikant zwischen getesteten Zierpflanzen unterschied (Publikation I). Bei ihrer Nahrungssuche und zur Entscheidungsfindung, ob sich eine Ressource als Nahrungsquelle eignet, ziehen Bestäuberinsekten die charakteristischen und oftmals gattungs-, art- oder gar sortenspezifischen Merkmale der Blüten heran. Während diese bei vielen heimischen Blühpflanzen gut untersucht sind, ist sehr wenig über die Rolle der Blütenmerkmale wie Farbe, morphologische Ausprägungen oder Blütenduft bei den Zierpflanzen bekannt. Da die einzigen diesbezüglichen Untersuchungen bei Astern keine klaren Ergebnisse erbrachten, wurden in dieser Arbeit erstmals anhand der Beispielkultur Calibrachoa und dem Modellbestäuber Bombus terrestris untersucht, welche Blütenmerkmale mit der Attraktivität für Bestäuber korreliert sind. Wie im oben angeführten Stadtversuch zeigte sich, dass die Attraktivität zwischen den getesteten Calibrachoa Sorten stark variierte. Während der Blütenduft die beobachteten Attraktivitätsunterschiede nur in geringem Maße erklären konnte, hatte die Blütenfarbe einen signifikanten Einfluss auf die Attraktivität bei B. terrestris. Für die Frage, ob und welche spezifische Blütenmerkmale bei Calibrachoa und anderen Zierpflanzen die Attraktivität für Bestäuberinsekten beeinflussen, sind aber weitere Untersuchungen notwendig (Publikation II).
... However, their decline is much faster than those of most other organisms (e.g. plants or vertebrates) (Cardoso et al., 2020;Sánchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys, 2019;Thomas et al., 2004;Wagner, 2020). The loss of insects has cascading effects on various other taxa within ecosystems (Cardoso et al., 2020;Wagner, 2020). ...
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Orthoptera (hereinafter termed ‘grasshoppers’) are of great functional significance since they are the main arthropod consumers in grasslands and an important food source for medium‐sized insectivorous vertebrates. However, research investigating the effects of extreme weather events on the abundance of grasshoppers has lacked thus far. Here, we studied the effects of summer drought on grasshopper abundance in temperate semi‐natural grasslands with low land‐use intensity. We considered calcareous and mesic grasslands; per type, we randomly selected 27 plots. Our study revealed distinct differences in habitat characteristics between plots of calcareous and mesic grasslands. Overall, calcareous grasslands had a more heterogeneous and shorter vegetation than mesic grasslands. Consequently, species richness was higher in calcareous grasslands. By contrast, grasshopper abundance did not differ between the two types. Summer temperature was the key driver of grasshopper abundance. Abundance was lowest in grasslands that were situated at lower elevations with higher summer temperatures and that were characterised by the strongest effects of summer drought. Its influence even overrode the differences in habitat characteristics between calcareous and mesic grasslands. Extreme weather events, such as summer droughts, are expected to become more frequent due to global warming. Accordingly, suitable conservation strategies that increase the resistance and resilience of temperate semi‐natural grasslands and their insect assemblages against summer drought are highly needed. Based on our study, increasing habitat heterogeneity seems to be the most effective way to mitigate the negative effects of summer drought. Summer temperature was the key driver of grasshopper abundance. Abundance was lowest in grasslands that were situated at lower elevations with higher summer temperatures and that were characterised by the strongest effects of summer drought. Suitable conservation strategies that increase the resistance and resilience of temperate semi‐natural grasslands and their insect assemblages against summer drought are highly needed.
... In order to effectively protect organisms in a contaminated environment, management requires knowledge of the effects of pollutants on organisms. Because agricultural intensification is one of the most apparent reasons for the observed changes in biodiversity, research has focused on the side-effects of pesticides and fertilizer application on non-target organisms (Gunstone et al., 2021;Sanchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys, 2019). However, especially in or close to urban areas, industrial pollution comprising heavy metals, airborne particulate matter, or microplastic deriving from degraded plastic waste released into the environment may also adversely affect invertebrate populations De Silva et al., 2021;Feldhaar and Otti, 2020;Ji et al., 2021;Santorufo et al., 2012b). ...
Article
Terrestrial ecosystems are exposed to many anthropogenic pollutants. Non-target effects of pesticides and fertilizers have put agricultural intensification in the focus as a driver for biodiversity loss. However, other pollutants, such as heavy metals, particulate matter, or microplastic also enter the environment, e.g. via traffic and industrial activities in urban areas. As soil acts as a potential sink for such pollutants, soil invertebrates like earthworms may be particularly affected by them. Under natural conditions soil invertebrates will likely be exposed to combinations of pollutants simultaneously, which may result in stronger negative effects if pollutants act synergistically. Within this work we study how multiple pollutants affect the soil-dwelling, substrate feeding earthworm Eisenia fetida. We compared the effects of the single stressors, polystyrene microplastic fragments, polystyrene fibers, brake dust and carbon black, with the combined effect of these pollutants when applied as a mixture. Endpoints measured were survival, increase in body weight, reproductive fitness, and changes in three oxidative stress markers (glutathione S-transferase, catalase and malondialdehyde). We found that among single pollutant treatments, brake dust imposed the strongest negative effects on earthworms in all measured endpoints including increased mortality rates. Sub-lethal effects were found for all pollutants. Exposing earthworms to all four pollutants simultaneously led to effects on mortality and oxidative stress markers that were smaller than expected by the respective null models. These antagonistic effects are likely a result of the adsorption of toxic substances found in brake dust to the other pollutants. With this study we show that effects of combinations of pollutants cannot necessarily be predicted from their individual effects and that combined effects will likely depend on identity and concentration of the pollutants.
... However, this requires significant workload and is time exhaustive. Furthermore, studies suggest that 40% of all insect groups are declining with one third endangered [2]. This has been driven by anthropomorphic changes in human behaviour and climate change [3]. ...
... Recent studies have revealed that the decline of biodiversity is more dramatic than previously thought, particularly when considering biomass and population decline in terrestrial invertebrates (Leather, 2018;Sánchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys, 2019) or population extirpation and range shrinking in vertebrates (Ceballos et al., 2017). Among vertebrates, large carnivores are globally declining because of the continuous humaninduced fragmentation and destruction of wild habitats (Fernández-Gil et al., 2016;Maxwell et al., 2016;Proctor et al., 2005), the decrease in natural prey populations, and direct persecutions (Woodroffe and Ginsberg, 1998;Treves et al., 2010Treves et al., , 2016. ...
Article
Human-wildlife conflicts are associated with a threat to large carnivores, as well as with economic and social costs, thus challenging conservation management around the world. In this study, we explored the effectiveness of common management interventions used worldwide for the purpose of conflict reduction using an evidence-based framework combining expert assessment of intervention effectiveness, impact and uncertainty of assessment. We first conducted a literature review of human-large carnivore conflicts across the world. Based on this review, we identified three main types of management interventions (non-lethal, translocations, and lethal management) and we assessed their effectiveness. Our review indicates that, although the characteristics of conflicts with large carnivores are heavily influenced by the local context and the species, the main issues are depredation on livestock, space-sharing, and attacks on humans. Non-lethal interventions are more likely to reduce conflict, whereas translocations and lethal interventions are mostly ineffective and/or harmful to carnivore populations, without fostering successful long-term coexistence. The literature on conflict management is often imprecise and lacks consistency between studies or situations, which generally makes comparisons difficult. Our protocol allows for the reliable comparison of experiments characterized by heterogeneous standards, response variables, protocols, and quality of evidence. Nevertheless, we encourage the use of systematic protocols with common good standards in order to provide more reliable empirical evidence. This would clarify the relative effectiveness of conflict management strategies and contribute to the global reduction in the occurrence of human-large carnivore conflicts across the world.
... Insects are declining worldwide (e.g., Cardoso et al., 2020;Rhodes, 2019;Sanchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys, 2019). The number of studies reporting fewer insects continues to grow and pollinators are among those with the greatest declines (e.g., Bartomeus et al., 2013;Cameron et al., 2011;Graves et al., 2020;Jacobson et al., 2018;Meiners et al., 2019). ...
Article
Establishing protocols to sample and monitor bees is critical as pollinators decline. Bees are collected using passive and active methods, but choosing which method and how many samples to collect is challenging. We collected bees in pan traps, vane traps and target netting (bumble bees only) at 96 locations across Wyoming from the sagebrush steppe to mountain meadows. We used power analysis to estimate the number of samples needed to detect a change in bee and bumble bee abundance and richness across elevations (1120–3308 m). Vane traps and pan traps required a similar number of samples to detect a change in the abundance and richness of bees; however, vane traps caught four times more bees and 97% of genera compared to pan traps. Vane traps required far fewer samples to detect changes in the abundance and richness of bumble bees compared to target netting. Pan traps caught so few bumble bees that we do not recommend using them. We recommend using seven to nine vane traps to monitor the abundance and richness of bees and bumble bees, and supplementing bumble bee monitoring with target netting when possible.
... of scales, is often implicated in falling insect numbers (Fox, 2013;Habel, Samways, et al., 2019;Leather, 2018;Sánchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys, 2019). A key local driver has been heavy herbicide and insecticide applications associated with agricultural intensification (Habel, Ulrich, et al., 2019). ...
Article
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Many insects are in clear decline, with monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) drawing particular attention as a flagship species. It is well documented that, among migratory populations, numbers of overwintering monarchs have been falling across several decades, but trends among breeding monarchs are less clear. Here, we compile >135,000 monarch observations between 1993 and 2018 from the North American Butterfly Association's annual butterfly count to examine spatiotemporal patterns and potential drivers of adult monarch relative abundance trends across the entire breeding range in eastern and western North America. While the data revealed declines at some sites, particularly the US Northeast and parts of the Midwest, numbers in other areas, notably the US Southeast and Northwest, were unchanged or increasing, yielding a slightly positive overall trend across the species range. Negative impacts of agricultural glyphosate use appeared to be counterbalanced by positive effects of annual temperature, particularly in the US Midwest. Overall, our results suggest that population growth in summer is compensating for losses during the winter and that changing environmental variables have offsetting effects on mortality and/or reproduction. We suggest that density-dependent reproductive compensation when lower numbers arrive each spring is currently able to maintain relatively stable breeding monarch numbers. However, we caution against complacency since accelerating climate change may bring growing threats. In addition, increases of summer monarchs in some regions, especially in California and in the south, may reflect replacement of migratory with resident populations. Nonetheless, it is perhaps reassuring that ubiquitous downward trends in summer monarch abundance are not evident.
... Pesticide use was identified as the primary cause of invertebrate declines, with variation in climate causing short-term changes (Ewald et al., 2015). The overall declines in our study and of that in Sussex, where annual sampling has been conducted, indicate that total numbers of invertebrates have declined in crops, but not to the same extent as reported elsewhere (Sánchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys, 2019). Nevertheless, unless fewer pesticides are used this reduction of farmland invertebrates is likely to persist. ...
Article
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1. Across Europe, farmland bird populations have continued to decline since the 1970s owing to the intensification of farming practices. Studies of such declines have tended to focus specifically on either the impacts of habitats (nesting and foraging), nest predators or prey availability on bird demographics. The study presented here provides new insights into the relative effects of each of these factors on yellowhammer nest survival. The yellowhammer was selected for this study as it is a UK Red‐Listed bird species whose population is in decline across much of Europe. 2. We use a long‐term dataset of 147 nests, monitored between 1995 and 2007, to provide an insight into how yellowhammer nest survival is influenced by nesting habitat (nest concealment and nest height), foraging habitats (habitat coverage within 100 m of nests), the removal of nest predators (magpie Pica abundance as an inverse measure of avian predator removal through gamekeeping) and food availability (measured with a D‐vac invertebrate suction sampler). 3. Our results indicated that yellowhammer hatching success was negatively related to the coverage of spring agri‐environment scheme habitats, a group which represents invertebrate‐rich agri‐environment habitats, but hatching success increased with nest height. Fledging success was positively related to the coverage of the seed‐rich habitat wild bird seed mixture. The farm‐level abundance of yellowhammer chick‐food invertebrates declined over the study period. 4. Our results highlight the importance of simultaneously considering multiple agents that shape avian breeding success, that is their ability to produce offspring, to inform conservation management. Our key finding for land managers relates to the positive relationship between the proportion of seed rich foraging habitat within the yellowhammer's average foraging range and yellowhammer fledging success, which shows that a habitat intended primarily to provide winter food resources is also important to breeding birds. Chick food abundance in this habitat was, however, similar to broadleaf and cereal crops. We recommend that this habitat should be provided near to potential yellowhammer nesting sites and adjacent to invertebrate‐rich agri‐environment scheme habitats such as beetle banks and conservation headlands to further boost invertebrate resources for a declining farmland bird. Our results highlight the importance of simultaneously considering multiple agents that shape avian breeding success, that is. their ability to produce offspring, to inform conservation management. For land managers, our key finding relates to the positive relationship between the proportion seed rich foraging habitat within the yellowhammers average foraging range and yellowhammer fledging success, which shows that a habitat intended primarily to provide winter food resources is also important to breeding birds. Chick food abundance in this habitat was similar to crops. We therefore recommend that this habitat be provided near potential yellowhammer nesting sites and invertebrate‐rich agri‐environment scheme habitats such as beetle banks and conservation headlands are positioned adjacent to further boost invertebrate resources for a declining farmland bird.
... Besides overexploitation, the current intensity and expansion of modern agriculture is one of the major drivers for the worldwide biodiversity loss [1][2][3] and diminishing ecosystem services, such as pest control, soil fertility and carbon sequestration [4]. This situation has been pronounced as particularly dire for the world's entomofauna [2,5] and their related ecosystem services, such as pollination and pest control [2,6]. Grapevines, the world's most valuable horticultural crop, represent an important farming system which shapes viticultural landscapes and, consequently, the aesthetic quality and recreational value of several wine-growing regions. ...
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Sustainable vineyard management in inter-rows may improve biodiversity and ecosystem service provision in landscapes with a high density of vineyards. The current work investigates the effect of three inter-row ground cover treatments (bare soil by tillage, alternating and complete vegetation cover) on carabid beetle communities and vine vitality, in relation to climatic, soil and landscape parameters. Pitfall traps were used to collect carabids in the spring and autumn of 2016 from nine Austrian vineyards, with all three ground cover treatments established in each vineyard. Additionally , grape berry samples were collected before harvest in order to determine juice quality parameters. Generalized linear mixed models revealed that complete vegetation cover, the most extensive vineyard inter-row management, decreased both carabid density and species richness. The variables hours of sunshine, vineyard cover at the landscape scale and mesofauna abundance had negative impacts on species richness. The largest differentiator of carabid communities was the sampling timepoint, and we observed clustering associated to vineyard manager, whereas ground cover treatment played no significant role. The importance of treatment on vine vitality parameters was low; however, complete vegetation cover was detrimental to vine vegetative growth and berry weight. On the basis of our results, we conclude that although community composition may be influenced by pedo-climatic conditions and landscape components, alternating vegetation cover is an option for maintaining both carabid diversity and high-quality berries in vineyards.
... Esta situación constituiría la pérdida de una presa habitual de la lechuza, y básica en la dieta de las musarañas (micromamíferos especializados en el consumo de pequeños invertebrados) (Torre et al. 2013;Roulin 2016b;Vigués 2018). Los resultados parecen ser coincidentes con el proceso de descenso generalizado en la abundancia y diversidad de insectos en Europa (Roulin 2016b;Sánchez -Bayo et al. 2019), que se vincula, muy especialmente, al masivo uso de insecticidas en los medios agrícolas (Newton 2004(Newton , 2017. Desde esta perspectiva, los cambios en la alimentación de la lechuza parecen rastrear estos cambios en el campo español. ...
Research
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This study analyzes changes in the diet of Barn owl (Tyto alba, SCOPOLI, 1769) during the last 40 years. To do this, the composition of “old” (1976-1977) and “modern” pellets (2019-2020) in three Spanish sampling sites (Badajoz, Madrid and Toledo) were compared. Results show a decrease in the consumption of insects and shrews (small insectivorous mammals, F. Soricidae). This decreases of insects and shrews, was related to a higher consumption of birds and rodents (O. Rodentia). These results suggests that agricultural intensification could be related to the loss of insects and shrews in Barn Owl diet.
... Bees (Anthophila) play a major role in providing pollination services (Ollerton, 2017), with honey bees (Apis mellifera L. in particular), bumblebees and many wild bees having dominant positions in the plant-pollinator networks all over the world (Carre et al., 2009;Neumann and Carreck, 2010;Klein et al., 2017;Ollerton, 2017). As many other insect taxa, a significant fraction of Apoidea are experiencing a drastic decrease, at local, regional and global scales, in both diversity and abundance (Ollerton, 2017;Sánchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys, 2019), which often lead to local or global extinctions (Kosior et al., 2007;Martins and Melo, 2010). ...
Article
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The decline of pollinators and the consequent decay of pollination services call for the establishment of monitoring schemes for several groups of pollinators. For Anthophila (Hymenoptera), the design of monitoring schemes is still under development. The main difficulties lie in combining a reliable but field-feasible taxonomic identification with the collection of informative data about the consistency and functional role of pollinator populations. Here we report on the application of the Italian monitoring scheme for pollinators recently defined by ISPRA and the University of Turin in agreement with the European Pollinators Monitoring Scheme on the small island of Giannutri (Tuscany), a simplified insular ecosystem with a virtually unknown pollinator community. This island has recently experienced a drastic change in its bee community, as since 2018 honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) hives are regularly moved every year to the island for breeding purposes. In the spring 2021 we established six 250 m long fixed transects and performed a total of 48 surveys (8 for each transect), recording more than 2300 observations of 9 Anthophila bee taxa and the flowers they visited. By using generalised additive mixed models, we showed that the monitoring protocol has a good potential for monitoring Anthophila, as we could verify several expected relationships between Anthophila abundance and abiotic factors (season, hour of the day, distance from the apiary) and biotic factors (abundance of flower resources). More importantly, we verified that A. mellifera represents by far the most frequent Anthophila taxon. Our data do not show evidence for spatial partition between A. mellifera and the other most frequent taxa (Bombus terrestris L. and Anthophora spp.). The visit network based on transect observations also showed that these taxa largely overlapped in terms of visits to flower resources. Overall, our data showed that the monitoring protocol allows gathering informative data about Anthophila taxa abundance, interactions and flower-visits. Moreover, the spatial and flower-visit overlap suggest potential for competition between honey bees and wild pollinators, with a potential consequent resource depletion for the latter. While this hypothesis could only be assessed by a long-term monitoring and ad hoc honey bee removal experiments, our data show that this basic monitoring protocol produces rapid and valuable information about Anthophila community and dynamics.
... Largely because of this reliance in pollinator-dependent crops, flower visiting insects are estimated to provide c. $200-250 billion worldwide in critical benefits to agricultural ecosystems (Gallai et al., 2009). Currently the demand for food crop pollination is outpacing the availability of pollinators (Aizen & Harder, 2009b;Garibaldi et al., 2011), as approximately 41% of insect species are declining globally (Hallmann et al., 2017;Kosior et al., 2007;Sánchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys, 2019). Of these insect species, major classes of pollinators, such as Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera, are some of the most affected (Berenbaum et al., 2007). ...
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Honey bees provide invaluable economic and ecological services while simultaneously facing stressors that may compromise their health. For example, agricultural landscapes, such as a row crop system, are necessary for our food production, but they may cause poor nutrition in bees from a lack of available nectar and pollen. Here, we investigated the foraging dynamics of honey bees in a row crop environment. We decoded, mapped, and analyzed 3459 waggle dances, which communicate the location of where bees collected food, for two full foraging seasons (April–October, 2018–2019). We found that bees recruited nestmates mostly locally (<2 km) throughout the season. The shortest communicated median distances (0.474 and 0.310 km), indicating abundant food availability, occurred in July in both years, which was when our row crops were in full bloom. We determined, by plotting and analyzing the communicated locations, that almost half of the mid‐summer recruitment was to row crops, with 37% (2018) and 50% (2019) of honey bee dances indicating these fields. Peanut was the most attractive in July, followed by corn and cotton but not soybean. Overall, row crop fields are indicated by a surprisingly large proportion of recruitment dances, suggesting that similar agricultural landscapes may also provide mid‐summer foraging opportunities for honey bees. We tracked honey bee foraging in a row crop environment using waggle dance decoding, which communicates the location of where a successful forager found food. Honey bees used these wind‐ and self‐pollinated crops for forage, especially during mid‐summer. Peanuts (yellow), corn (orange), and cotton (blue), but not soybeans (green), were attractive in July to honey bees.
... Insects are the most diverse taxonomic group on earth (Stork, 2018). However, they decline more rapidly than most other organisms, such as plants or vertebrates (Cardoso et al., 2020;S anchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys, 2019;Thomas et al., 2004;Wagner, 2020). The loss of insects has cascading effects on many other species within ecosystems (Cardoso et al., 2020;Wagner, 2020). ...
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Land-use and climate change are considered the major drivers of recent insect loss. Orthoptera (hereinafter termed ‘grasshoppers’) are the main arthropod consumers in grasslands and, hence, are important elements for supporting ecosystem services. However, for intensively-used agricultural landscapes, it is largely unknown to what extent both factors have affected grasshopper assemblages in protected (nature reserves) and unprotected grasslands. Here, we analysed species richness of grasshopper assemblages in protected (n = 14) and unprotected grasslands (n = 49) by comparing two surveys—one in 1995 and one in 2012—of a landscape with intensive agriculture in the NW-German Lowland. The observed changes were associated with the Community Farmland Index (CFI) and the Community Temperature Index (CTI) in order to disentangle possible effects of land-use and climate change on assemblage shifts. Between the two surveys, environmental conditions substantially changed. Summer temperatures increased by 1.1°C, and grasslands suffered from a severe loss of patches. However, the latter only occurred in unprotected grasslands. Here, 35% of the patches were converted to other biotope types, in particular maize fields as a result of the expansion of bioenergy-crop cultivation. In the grasslands still existing in 2012, irrespective of its protection status, species richness usually increased, except for species with low dispersal ability in unprotected grasslands. By contrast, the development of the CFI and CTI clearly varied between the two grassland types. In protected grasslands, neither the CFI nor the CTI changed. However, in unprotected grasslands, the CFI decreased but the CTI increased. Land-use change has led to a biotic homogenisation at the landscape level and within unprotected grassland patches. Additionally, our study highlights that the legal designation of grasslands as a nature reserve successfully prevents the conversion of grasslands. Overall, well-managed grasslands in nature reserves play a vital role for the conservation of grasshopper biodiversity.
... Lake restoration benefits should also be analysed from a broader perspective. Recent decades have witnessed a catastrophic decline in biological diversity [40][41][42][43]. New habitats should be created to mitigate this risk, but very few sites are available in modern built-up areas. ...
Article
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The primary goal of the study was to determine the quantity of carbon accumulated in shallow fertile water bodies that were restored after a long period of drainage. Massive drainage of mid-field water bodies took place in north-eastern Poland in the 19th century. Of 143 identified drained lakes (each of more than 1 ha before drying) in the Olsztyn Lakeland, 27 have been restored to their original state through natural rewilding processes or recovery projects. From among the variety of drained water bodies, 8 which have been naturally or artificially restored to their original condition 13 to 47 years ago, were the subject of a detailed study on carbon sequestration. The studied water bodies had high productivity, and they were classified as moderately eutrophic to extremely hypertrophic. An analysis of bottom sediments revealed that, after restoration, the examined water bodies have accumulated 275.5 g C m−2 a−1 on average, which is equivalent to 10.1 Mg ha−1 a−1 of carbon dioxide (CO2) removed from the atmosphere. Results showed that the evaluated water bodies are effective carbon sinks. Most of the lakes drained in the 19th century are wastelands today, and they can be relatively easily restored to their original condition to create additional carbon sequestration sites. Lake restoration seems to be a cost-effective method both for carbon capture (as additional potential capacity as part of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) methods) and to support the sustainable use of agricultural areas. However, this second goal may be limited by the poor ecological status of such facilities.
... We used the Trichoptera metacommunity as our model group because they are strongly related to the environmental conditions, are widely distributed across Amazonian streams (Holzenthal et al., 2007;Landeiro et al., 2012;Paiva et al., 2017) and can disperse in both active and passive ways (Kovats et al., 1996;Sánchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys, 2019). Trichoptera larvae were sampled in the dry season because the increase in streamflow in the rainy season can destabilize the substrate, decreasing the abundance and richness of these organisms (Boyero & Bosch, 2002;Schülting et al., 2019). ...
Article
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Species distribution depends on dispersal ability and species responses to the environment, where the anthropogenic landscape can facilitate or difficult for them to track the environmental gradients. Therefore, we assess how drivers and distribution patterns from Trichoptera metacommunity change in anthropogenically disturbed streams. We expected that, changes in land use and land cover increase the environmental heterogeneity among disturbed sites and promote the turnover of Trichoptera genera, since the importance of environment and space to the disturbed metacommunity should be higher in relation to the undisturbed sites. We sampled 62 stream sites in the Eastern Amazonia, classified as undisturbed or disturbed, assessing the environmental heterogeneity through Multivariate Dispersion analysis, the importance from environment and space through partial Redundancy Analysis and the metacommunity patterns by the Elements of the Metacommunity Structure. We showed that Trichoptera metacommunity was mainly determined by environment in both site groups, with high contribution from space only on disturbed sites, showing higher environmental heterogeneity. However, the distribution patterns differed between the site groups, being mostly nested or random on undisturbed sites and turnover based on disturbed ones. This may be related to the multiple impact types that simultaneously influence disturbed sites, increase heterogeneity, and affect distribution patterns.
... Recent studies have revealed that the decline of biodiversity is more dramatic than previously thought, particularly when considering biomass and population decline in terrestrial invertebrates (Leather, 2018;Sánchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys, 2019) or population extirpation and range shrinking in vertebrates (Ceballos et al., 2017). Among vertebrates, large carnivores are globally declining because of the continuous humaninduced fragmentation and destruction of wild habitats (Fernández-Gil et al., 2016;Maxwell et al., 2016;Proctor et al., 2005), the decrease in natural prey populations, and direct persecutions (Woodroffe and Ginsberg, 1998;Treves et al., 2010Treves et al., , 2016. ...
... A large body of literature addresses the impacts of pesticides on non-target biodiversity [10][11][12][13][14][15]. However, there are very few studies linking pesticide use to climate change and GHG emissions [16,17]. ...
Article
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The production of synthetic pesticides is energy intensive and can emit even more greenhouse gases (GHG) per kg than the production of synthetic fertilizers. However, this aspect is largely neglected when it comes to agriculture’s contribution to GHG emissions. Using official pesticide sales data from Austria from 2000 to 2019, we analyzed (i) trends in insecticide, fungicide, and herbicide use and calculated production-related GHG emissions, and (ii) the share of pesticide-related versus fertilizer-related GHG emissions in three agricultural crops with different pesticide intensities: sugar beets, apples, and grapevines. We found that between 2000 and 2019, insecticide amounts increased by 58%, fungicide amounts increased by 29%, and herbicide amounts decreased by 29%; associated GHG emissions showed similar patterns. During the same period, acreage under conventional arable crops, orchards, and vineyards decreased by an average of 19%, indicating an increase in management intensity. In intensive apple production, GHG emissions associated with pesticide production and application accounted for 51% of total GHG emissions, in viticulture 37%, and in sugar beets 12%. We have shown that GHG emissions due to pesticide production and application can be significant, especially for pesticide-intensive crops. We therefore recommend that these pesticide-derived GHG emissions should also be attributed to the agricultural sector.
... Pollinerende insekter er, på samme måte som insekter generelt, i tilbakegang over store deler av verden (Dirzo et al., 2014;Potts et al., 2010;Sánchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys, 2019). Denne globale nedgangen har vekket stor internasjonal interesse blant forskere, økonomer, politikere og allmennheten. ...
Technical Report
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Pollinating insects are in decline over large parts of the world. This global decline is expected to have adverse consequences for biodiversity, ecosystem services and food production in the future. Norway has prepared a pollinator strategy where the goal is, among other things, to ensure viable populations of pollinating insects in order to maintain pollination in food production. This report provides a broad overview of research-based knowledge of factors that affect pollinators and pollination services in different landscapes, as well as an overview of different models for predicting the occurrence of pollinators.
... Currently, the most important direct drivers of these declines are overexploitation and habitat loss (Maxwell et al., 2016;Cardoso et al., 2020). Climate change is, however, becoming an increasingly important driver of biodiversity change (Pereira et al., 2012;Platts et al., 2019;Sánchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys, 2019;Forister et al., 2021). Depending on their thermal tolerance, species may respond to warming through physiological or phenological adaptations or by shifting their distribution towards higher altitudes or latitudes (Easterling et al., 2000;Bellard et al., 2012;Oliver and Morecroft, 2014;Rodrigues and Beldade, 2020). ...
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Understanding and predicting biodiversity responses to climate change are vital to inform conservation strategies, but this is not straightforward as climate change responses depend on the landscape context and differ among species. Here, we quantified changes in the distribution and abundance of 30 butterfly species in the Netherlands in relation to climate change and in landscapes that vary in the amount and connectivity of (semi-)natural vegetation (SNV). We obtained yearly counts of well-monitored butterfly species from 327 time series over 27 years (1992–2018). We used these counts to build mixed effect hurdle models to relate species’ occurrence and abundance to temperature and the amount and connectivity of SNV around the sites. For 55% of the butterfly species, an increased amount or connectivity of SNV corresponded with stronger increases or reduced decreases in occurrence in response to warming, indicating that SNV may facilitate range expansion or mitigate extirpations due to climate change. However, for the occurrence of the other species we found no or a negative interaction between warming and SNV. Further, we did not find indications of a mitigating effect of SNV on abundance responses to warming. Our results thus suggest that increasing the amount and connectivity of SNV does not offer a “one-size-fits-all” solution, highlighting the need for additional measures if butterfly diversity is to be conserved.
... Improving the prediction of the migration route and timing is a prerequisite to applying the concept of 'migratory connectivity' to insects [12], assisting population balance and pest control strategies and aiding annual cycle studies [13]. Furthermore, studies show the population of the migrating insects declining [14][15][16]. An increase in surface temperature shifts the overwintering sites away, thus stretching the migration range [17]. ...
Preprint
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The intriguing annual migration of the dragonfly species, \textit{Pantala flavescens} was reported almost a century ago \citep{fraser1924survey}. The multi-generational, transoceanic migration circuit spanning from India to Africa is an astonishing feat for an inches-long insect. Wind, precipitation, fuel, breeding, and life cycle affect the migration, yet understanding of their collective role in the migration remains elusive. We identify the transoceanic migration route by imposing a time constraint emerging from energetics on Djikstra's path-planning algorithm. Energetics calculations reveal a \textit{Pantala flavescens} can endure 90 hours of steady flight at 4.5m/s. We incorporate active wind compensation in Djikstra's algorithm to compute the migration route from years 2002 to 2007. The prevailing winds play a pivotal role; a direct crossing of the Indian Ocean from Africa to India is feasible with the Somali Jet, whereas the return requires stopovers in Maldives and Seychelles. The migration timing, identified using monthly-successful trajectories, life cycle, and precipitation data, corroborates reported observations. Finally, our timely sighting in Cherrapunji, India (25.2N 91.7E) and a branched network hypothesis connect the likely origin of the migration in North-Eastern India with \textit{Pantala flavescens}'s arrival in South-Eastern India with the retreating monsoons; a clue to their extensive global dispersal.
... Indeed, little brown and big brown bats are estimated to have diverged from each other more than 30 million years ago(Amador et al., 2018;Lack & Bussche, 2010), and have developed adaptations for foraging on different prey types. In this study, we did not quantify the influences of prey availability, although other studies have detected declining arthropod abundance in many regions(Hallmann et al., 2017;Sánchez-Bayo & Wyckhuys, 2019;Seibold et al., 2019). A previous study in this region showed that these bat species generally maintain strong prey preferences independently of changing local prey availability(Wray et al., 2021). ...
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The extent to which persisting species may fill the functional role of extirpated or declining species has profound implications for the structure of biological communities and ecosystem functioning. In North America, arthropodivorous bats are threatened on a continent‐wide scale by the spread of white‐nose syndrome (WNS), a disease caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans. We tested whether bat species that display lower mortality from this disease can partially fill the functional role of other bat species experiencing population declines. Specifically, we performed high‐throughput amplicon sequencing of guano from two generalist predators: the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) and big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus). We then compared changes in prey consumption before versus after population declines related to WNS. Dietary niches contracted for both species after large and abrupt declines in little brown bats and smaller declines in big brown bats, but interspecific dietary overlap did not change. Furthermore, the incidence and taxonomic richness of agricultural pest taxa detected in diet samples decreased following bat population declines. Our results suggest that persisting generalist predators do not necessarily expand their dietary niches following population declines in other predators, providing further evidence that the functional roles of different generalist predators are ecologically distinct. While many bat species are known to function as suppressors of arthropod abundance, including several economically important agricultural pest taxa, the broader ecological consequences of disease‐related bat declines have not been fully assessed in many regions. In our study, we tested whether big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus), which demonstrate lower mortality from white‐nose syndrome, could potentially fill the ecological role formerly occupied by the more severely affected little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus). Overall, we found that big brown bats did not adopt more of the prey formerly consumed by little brown bats and that the dietary niche overlap between the two bat species did not change over time.
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Understanding population responses to environmental conditions is key in the current context of climate change and the extreme climatic events that are threatening biodiversity in an unprecedented way. In this work, we provide a framework for understanding butterfly population responses to weather and extreme climatic seasons by taking into account topographic heterogeneity, species' life-cycles and density-dependent processes. We used a citizen-science database of Mediterranean butterflies that contains long-term population data (28 years) on 78 butterfly species from 146 sites in the Mediterranean mesic and alpine climate regions. Climatic data were obtained from 93 meteorological stations operating during this period near the butterfly sites. We studied how seasonal precipitation and temperature affect population growth while taking into account the effects of density dependence. Our results reveal (i) the beneficial effects of winter and spring precipitation for butterfly populations, which are most evident in the Mediterranean region and in univoltine species, and mainly affect the larval stage; (ii) a general negative effect of summer rain in the previous year, which affects the adult stage; and (iii) a consistent negative effect of mild autumns and winters on population growth. In addition, density dependence played a major role in the population dynamics of most species, except for those with long-term negative population trends. Our analyses also provide compelling evidence that both extreme population levels in previous years and extreme climatic seasons in the current year provoke population crashes and explosions, especially in the Mediterranean mesic region.
Article
The populations of fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) are increasingly being threatened, and it is, thus, a significant problem in Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia. Fireflies and their habitat must immediately be protected before they go extinct. Simpson’s Diversity Index used in this paper review to measure the diversity of firefly species across Malaysia. The Simpson’s Diversity Index showed that the richness and evenness of firefly species in Malaysia is infinite diversity with D = 0.2255. The authors compiled and reviewed the studies on the firefly species to incorporate available information/data and emphasised their preferred habitat/display trees in response to the issue. Therefore, this paper was also able to track down records of fireflies’ species’ distribution through the previous studies in eight states in West Malaysia (Peninsula), namely Johor, Kelantan, Kuala Lumpur, Pahang, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, and Terengganu, as well as two states in East Malaysia (Borneo), namely Sabah and Sarawak. It indicates that firefly species, especially from the general Pteroptyx (Pteroptyx tener species), are widely distributed in Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia. Based on the records from the study conducted by previous researchers, it was found that the population of fireflies is declining in some areas in Malaysia, and so are their habitats and host/display trees that have suffered the same decline. Perhaps, this paper will help broaden human beings’ geographical understanding/knowledge and create awareness which eventually leads to conservation actions of firefly species and their host/display trees.
Article
Among pests of bees and beehives, arthropods make up a large and important group. Mites like Varroa destructor, Acarapis woodi, or Tropilaelaps spp., beetles (Aethina tumida, Oplostomus spp.), and lepidopterans (Galleria mellonella, Achroia grisella) decrease honey bee population and vitality, with subsequent significant colony production losses. Synthetic chemicals have been traditionally used to protect honey bee colonies from pests’ infestations but they have often been of poor selectivity, consequent high toxicity to bees and humans, and resistance development by the targeted apiary pests. The current European policy encourages the usage of eco-friendly methods to combat bee pests and the international research highlights plant secondary metabolites as candidate alternatives of significance. In this review, we argue the potential of plant-derived substances in the protection of the bee colonies against their arthropod pests. The before mentioned major apiary arthropods are briefly described followed by the recent reports on the botanical extracts and notable constituent compounds exhibiting activity against them. We discuss the different ways the essential oils are reported to be applied to the bee or the apiary, along with the importance of the application method to the exhibited efficacy. We designate synergism issues of blends, attractants, and repellency cases, as well as selectivity and mode of action as reported for bees or insect pests.
Chapter
Agrotoxics, pesticides, and other agricultural chemical inputs have long been used for pest control in crops and plantations around the world. As people have become aware of this problem of food with pesticides, the demand for vegetables and greens produced in gardens, with natural pest control, without the use of pesticides, has increased. The Biofábrica de Joaninhas (Ladybug Factory), an agency linked to the city of Belo Horizonte/MG, produces and distributes ladybug and chrysopid larvae, to communities and vegetable gardens, with the aim of protecting the production of vegetables, respecting the environment and people's health in general. This project was inspired by a similar work in Caen, France, started in 1980. The first official distribution to the local population took place in 1984 and remains a public policy in that country to this day. The objective of the work presented here was the development of an alternative packaging, produced with biodegradable materials, avoiding environmental problems, instead of the plastic ones normally used; the process was inspired by nature's solutions, and is able to transport the larvae of these insects from the Ladybug Factory to the vegetable gardens, facilitating the handling during the release of these insects, avoiding losses, and also protecting them.
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Climate change projections predict that Mediterranean-type ecosystems (MTEs) are becoming hotter and drier and that fires will become more frequent and severe. While most plant species in these important biodiversity hotspots are adapted to hot, dry summers and recurrent fire, the Interval Squeeze framework suggests that reduced seed production (demographic shift), reduced seedling establishment after fire (post fire recruitment shift), and reduction in the time between successive fires (fire interval shift) will threaten fire killed species under climate change. One additional potential driver of accelerated species decline, however, has not been considered so far: the decrease in pollination success observed in many ecosystems worldwide has the potential to further reduce seed accumulation and thus population persistence also in these already threatened systems. Using the well-studied fire-killed and serotinous shrub species Banksia hookeriana as an example, we apply a new spatially implicit population simulation model to explore population dynamics under past (1988–2002) and current (2003–2017) climate conditions, deterministic and stochastic fire regimes, and alternative scenarios of pollination decline. Overall, model results suggest that while B. hookeriana populations were stable under past climate conditions, they will not continue to persist under current (and prospective future) climate. Negative effects of climatic changes and more frequent fires are reinforced by the measured decline in seed set leading to further reduction in the mean persistence time by 12–17%. These findings clearly indicate that declining pollination rates can be a critical factor that increases further the pressure on the persistence of fire-killed plants. Future research needs to investigate whether other fire-killed species are similarly threatened, and if local population extinction may be compensated by recolonization events, facilitating persistence in spatially structured meta-communities.
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Historical data suggest that many bee species have declined in body size. Larger-bodied bees with narrow phenological and dietary breadth are most prone to declines in body size over time. This may be especially true in solitary, desert-adapted species that are vulnerable to climate change – such as Centris pallida (Hymenoptera: Apidae). In addition, body size changes in species with size-linked behaviors could threaten the prevalence of certain behavioral phenotypes long-term. C. pallida solitary bees are found in the Sonoran Desert. Males use alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs) and are dimorphic in both morphology and behavior. C. pallida male body size has been studied since the 1970s in the same population. We collected body size data in 2022 and combined it with published records from 1974-2022. We find a persistent decline in the mean head width of patrolling males, and shifts towards smaller body sizes in the populations of males found foraging and hovering. Mating males did not experience a decline in mean body size over time. We discuss hypotheses related to the decline in C. pallida male head width. Finally, we advocate for C. pallida as an excellent study system for understanding the stability of ARTs with size-linked behavioral phenotypes.
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Insect groups are declining worldwide; Lepidoptera are among the taxa most affected in terrestrial ecosystems. The main drivers of these declines are a diverse set of factors relating to environmental change including habitat loss, pollution, and climate change. In 2019 and 2020, we surveyed 118 and 90 islands, respectively, in southern Finland’s archipelago for occupancy of Parnassius apollo larvae and counted the abundance of their host plant Hylotelephium telephium. Compared with historical data (1997–2003), the occupancy of Apollo butterfly larvae has decreased remarkably from about 75% to about 20% of islands and abundance declined as well. However, the abundance of their host plant has not changed. Occupancy models showed that the present occupancy probability is not affected by host plant numbers, and shows substantial colonization-extinction dynamics making the population vulnerable to stochastic extinction. Implications for insect conservation Our results show that this Apollo butterfly population is declining, and conservation actions are needed.
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Naturerfahrungen haben positive Wirkungen auf die seelische Entwicklung, Gesundheit und Wohlbefinden und können geradezu als ein Element eines „guten Lebens“ interpretiert werden. In diesem Buch wird dieser Zusammenhang auf Lern- und Bildungskontexte bezogen. Bei Bildungsprozessen geht es nicht nur um die Übernahme von relevanten Inhalten, sondern um eine Berührung, Konfrontation und Transformation des Subjekts. Die zentralen Annahmen dieses Buches sind erstens, dass eben dies durch Naturerfahrungen eröffnet werden kann, und zweitens, dass dies auch (fachliche) Lernprozesse positiv beeinflussen kann.
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Phenological patterns can arise as a response to seasonal variation and are closely related to rain regimes and temperature. Organisms living in the water/atmosphere interface receive stimuli from both environments and require adaptations to survive. Paracles klagesi (Rothschild, 1910) is a semiaquatic caterpillar with a terrestrial adult form found in streams in a Brazilian savannah. We hypothesized that the semiaquatic larvae of this species respond to atmospheric environmental changes in rainfall and temperature by synchronizing their development throughout the year, with the highest abundance during the dry season and the lowest in the rainy season. We followed a caterpillar population for 1 year, counted and measured individuals every 15 days and obtained monthly average temperature and rainfall data. Currently, there is no description of P. klagesi instars; therefore, we categorized them into six size classes and a pupal stage. Since phenological and physiological responses are complex and may not be perceived at the time of the stimulus, we used a Pearson's correlation test with a time lag of up to 3 months to investigate the influence of rainfall and temperature. The caterpillars showed synchronized development over time, supporting our first hypothesis. The time‐lag analysis identified an immediate inverse relationship between caterpillar abundance and monthly rainfall, while the temperature had a delayed positive relationship with pupae of 3 months. Our results showed that P. klagesi synchronized its development with time and, as a semiaquatic insect, used atmospheric cues for pupae to complete its development. This is the first study providing information about phenology and the role of temperature and rainfall in the development of a semiaquatic lepidopteran. We believe that unusual strategies by insects may provide data for understanding how evolutionary forces influence adaptations as insects colonize new environments.
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The sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), is one of the most damaging, polyphagous insect pests of agricultural cropping systems around the world. Insecticide control is one of the main tactics used to mitigate damage and crop injury caused by the species. Similarly, plant chemical defenses are primary natural mechanisms that reduce attacks from whiteflies. Like all Sternorrhyncha insects, whiteflies have piercing/sucking mouthparts and feed on phloem sap from vascular plants through a stylet. Therefore, if this insect can overcome the physical barriers of the plant and pierce the vascular bundle, the main remaining barriers to nutrition uptake and utilization are phytochemicals that might exhibit some degree of toxicity toward the insect. Bemisia tabaci has been reported to feed on over 1,000 plant species representing an enormous range of phytochemicals to which whiteflies are potentially exposed. Recently, whiteflies were shown to have acquired a gene from plants to detoxify the plant’s phenolic glycosides that are usually toxic. Additionally, host plants have been shown to alter the response of a single whitefly population to insecticides. Herein, we review possible interactions between the highly polyphagous B. tabaci, the potential phytochemicals associated with its extensive plant host range, and the main chemical insecticides used to control this pest. This review aims to provide a conceptual framework for studying possible biological interactions between the insect, host plant, and insecticidal toxins used to control this pest at the mechanistic and population selection levels.
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The broad-spectrum insecticides in the neonicotinoid group are the most widely used worldwide because of their widely recognized advantages in the mode of action. Therefore, their use is growing on a large scale and, moreover, is often used preventively without considering the ecological impact. Studies demonstrated harmful effects on non-target organisms, which in turn negatively impact biodiversity and thus food production. The dramatic decline of honey bee colonies, for example, could be linked to the use of neonicotinoids. Ecologically sustainable solutions to this conflict must be focused by scientific research. The question arose whether the global research efforts meet these requirements on a global scale. Therefore, this review article aimed to analyze the global research landscape on neonicotinoids under ecological, economic, and temporal aspects. To this end, key players and incentives for investigations in this research field are identified. The increase in publications over time is significant and shows a dynamic citation pattern. It indicates a comparatively high interest in current research, with ecological issues becoming more and more the focus of international research. It has been shown that national publication performance and funding are in line with global market interests, with the most publishing country being China. In addition, the elevated status quo of the scientific infrastructure in high-economy countries and their willingness to support research can be linked to national research output. Lower economies are sparsely involved in published studies. The research performance accumulates with a high North-South divide. Therefore, future research projects must have a sustainable focus and take regional requirements worldwide into account. This requires greater involvement of developing countries as the most economically dependent regions with enormously increasing consumption rates. Solutions must be found to ensure sustainable food production against a backdrop of already declining biodiversity due to the large-scale use of neonicotinoids.
Article
Kattampally wetland is a large swamp on the floodplains of the Valapattanam River in Kannur District of Kerala previously nominated as a Ramsar site. By systemic sampling in different seasons and sites within the wetland, we recorded the diversity of adult odonates. The area was found to be rich in odonate diversity with greater species richness than other wetlands in Kerala. We found a total of 66 species of odonates from 42 genera including four species endemic to the Western Ghats, namely: Ceriagrion chromothorax, Caconeura cf. risi, Pseudagrion indicum, and Platylestes kirani. Land usage and habitat alteration were found to be the main threats to odonate diversity. National and international recognition for the wetland would help in future conservation of the site and its biodiversity.
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The use of hotspots in biodiversity conservation is controversial and complex. We review the extensive information available for tiger beetle species at global, regional, and local scales to point out problems and apply solutions. As model organisms, tiger beetles indicate that simultaneous mutli-scale approaches and increased reliance on citizen scientists are areas most likely to prove useful for successful conservation programs such as hotspots. Implications for insect conservation Our review uses tiger beetles as a model for choosing hotspots. The depth and breadth of knowledge of a taxon needed to use it in conservation are profound, and the future of hotspots in biodiversity conservation depends on this level of knowledge for a few well-studied taxa.
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Over fifty years of global conservation has failed to bend the curve of biodiversity loss, so we need to transform the ways we govern biodiversity. The UN Convention on Biological Diversity aims to develop and implement a transformative framework for the coming decades. However, the question of what transformative biodiversity governance entails and how it can be implemented is complex. This book argues that transformative biodiversity governance means prioritizing ecocentric, compassionate and just sustainable development. This involves implementing five governance approaches - integrative, inclusive, adaptive, transdisciplinary and anticipatory governance - in conjunction and focused on the underlying causes of biodiversity loss and unsustainability. Transforming Biodiversity Governance is an invaluable source for academics, policy makers and practitioners working in biodiversity and sustainability governance. This is one of a series of publications associated with the Earth System Governance Project. For more publications, see www.cambridge.org/earth-system-governance. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
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In order to select and design suitable measures for insect conservation at regional-state (Land) level in Germany, standardised and target-oriented criteria are needed. These have to include the effectiveness of the measures for different groups of insects, their practical feasibility and acceptance by farmers as well as possible synergies and conflicts with other goals of nature and environmental conservation. To achieve broad and effective insect conservation, individual adaptations must be enabled and advice on nature conservation should be provided to farmers. In addition, implementation of insect protection measures must be rewarded appropriately and infrastructural and social requirements should be taken into account. The strategy for the evaluation of insect conservation measures developed in the Land of Brandenburg provides an initial basis for a uniform evaluation system in Germany.
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The expansion of human activity into natural habitats often results in the introduction of artificial light at night, which can disrupt local ecosystems. Recent advances in LED technology have enabled spectral tuning of artificial light sources, which could in theory limit their impact on vulnerable taxa. To date, however, experimental comparisons of ecologically friendly candidate colors have often considered only one type of behavioral impact, sometimes on only single species. Resulting recommendations cannot be broadly implemented if their consequences for other local taxa are unknown. Working at a popular firefly ecotourism site, we exposed the insect community to artificial illumination of three colors (blue, broad-spectrum amber, red) and measured flight-to-light behavior as well as the courtship flash behavior of male Photinus carolinus fireflies. Firefly courtship activity was greatest under blue and red lights, while the most flying insects were attracted to blue and broad-spectrum amber lights. Thus, while impacts of spectrally tuned artificial light varied across taxa, our results suggest that red light, rather than amber light, is least disruptive to insects overall, and therefore more generally insect friendly.
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The geographical situation of Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada and its great altitudinal gradient generate particular environmental conditions in the watercourses that flow through the massif, which determines the composition and structure of the animal communityCommunity inhabiting them. Regarding invertebrates, macroinvertebratesMacroinvertebrates have been the organisms more widely studied in this massif and, within them, four orders of insects: Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera and Coleoptera (EPTC). In aquatic vertebrates, most studies have focused on brown troutBrown trout, the most characteristic high mountain fish species of this biogeographic area. A total of 189 taxa of EPTC have been recorded up to now in the massif: 36 taxa of Ephemeroptera, 24 of Plecoptera, 41 of Trichoptera and 88 of lotic aquatic Coleoptera, showing a great diversity from the biogeographical point of view, but with only a few of them endemic to Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada. All these animals are subject to several threats in the massif, many of them related not only toClimateclimate changeClimate change, but also to human-induced pollution and alterations, such as dams, pollution from the ski resort, water diversion, or even diffuse pollution due to high stocking densities. Some species will be able to cope with changing conditions throughout particular adaptationsAdaptation, while others without those strategies will be more vulnerable and the first to disappear. These disturbances, together with the introduction of exotic species such as rainbow trout, also affect brown troutBrown trout populations. At the communityCommunity scale, few studies have accomplished the analysis of whole communities of Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada watercourses. Most data come from the application of biological indexes to assess the ecological status of streamsStreamand riversRiver, though some investigations have focused on particular biocoenosis, such as those of Plecoptera or Trichoptera. All of them concluded that macroinvertebrate communities under particularClimateclimate changeClimate changescenariosClimate will probably reduce their taxa richness in comparison to the present, that generalist taxa will move upstream to higher altitudeTemperature reaches, if possible, and that vulnerable taxa will reduce their distribution area. Despite all this knowledge, many gaps still remain to be fulfilled, some of them discussed in this chapter. In this sense, data coming from new research at different organization levels, from managers, and even from citizen scienceCitizen science initiatives, will contribute to improving the knowledge and conservationConservation measures to be developed in Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada.
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A profound transformation of agricultural production methods has become unavoidable due to the increase in the world’s population, and environmental and climatic challenges. Agroecology is now recognized as a challenging model for agricultural systems, promoting their diversification and adaptation to environmental and socio-economic contexts, with consequences for the entire agri-food system and the development of rural and urban areas. Through a prospective exercise performed at a large interdisciplinary institute, INRAE, a research agenda for agroecology was built that filled a gap through its ambition and interdisciplinarity. It concerned six topics. For genetics, there is a need to study genetic aspects of complex systems (e.g., mixtures of genotypes) and to develop breeding methods for them. For landscapes, challenges lie in effects of heterogeneity at multiple scales, in multifunctionality and in the design of agroecological landscapes. Agricultural equipment and digital technologies show high potential for monitoring dynamics of agroecosystems. For modeling, challenges include approaches to complexity, consideration of spatial and temporal dimensions and representation of the cascade from cropping practices to ecosystem services. The agroecological transition of farms calls for modeling and observational approaches as well as for creating new design methods. Integration of agroecology into food systems raises the issues of product specificity, consumer behavior and organization of markets, standards and public policies. In addition, transversal priorities were identified: (i) generating sets of biological data, through research and participatory mechanisms, that are appropriate for designing agroecological systems and (ii) collecting and using coherent sets of data to enable assessment of vulnerability, resilience and risk in order to evaluate the performance of agroecological systems and to contribute to scaling up. The main lessons learned from this collective exercise can be useful for the entire scientific community engaged in research into agroecology.
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In this report I discuss the chemical industry, its current unsustainability and international inequality, serious long-term impacts of toxic chemicals on human and environmental health, including persistent organic pollutants, pesticides and herbicides. Then I look at exposure to toxic chemicals at home, and occupational health impacts of industrial chemicals. I also discuss better responses to each of these issues, including assessing future sustainability of the chemical industry based on a proposed chemical waste management hierarchy, and the principles of the circular economy.
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The agricultural and forestry use of land does not only mark large parts of the European Union, but also a significant share of land within the European ecological network Natura 2000. Member States, therefore, try to exempt as far as possible these land uses from the protection regime of Natura 2000-sites. However, at the same time, Member States latest reports on habitats and wild species of Community importance indicate that, in particular, the intensification of agriculture and forestry in recent decades has made it more difficult to improve conservation statuses or even worsened them. Hence, the aim of this article is to examine in detail the extent to which the protection regime of Article 6(2 and 3) Habitats Directive is applicable to land-use in agriculture and forestry. In this context, of particular relevance is the question of when the use of land in agriculture and forestry or individual management measures within and near Natura 2000-sites are projects for which an appropriate assessment is necessary before implementation; and which, in the case that significant adverse effects to a site cannot be ruled out, are permitted only under the reasons for exemption given in Article 6(4) Habitats Directive. The analysis includes the case law of the European Court of Justice, as well as decisions of the German Federal Constitutional Court and the German Federal Administrative Court.
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Heute werden etwa 40 % aller im Umlauf befindlichen Kunststoffe für Verpackungen verwendet (Plastics Europe 2019), davon etwa 60 % für Lebensmittel und Getränke, der Rest für Non-Food-Anwendungen. In Deutschland erreichte der Verpackungsverbrauch bei Glas im Jahr 2018 35,0 kg/Kopf, bei Papier 98,5 kg/Kopf und bei Kunststoff 39,0 kg/Kopf (Umweltbundesamt 2020). Kunststoffabfälle stellen aus Sicht des Recyclings eines der komplexesten Materialgemische dar. Darüber hinaus gibt es zunehmend Probleme in Bezug auf Umweltschäden, die hauptsächlich mit der Herstellung der Materialien zusammenhängen. Trotz der negativen Umwelt- und Gesundheitseffekte werden fossile Kunststoffe wegen ihres geringen Gewichts und ihrer geringen Kosten nach wie vor bevorzugt. Um das Problem der negativen Auswirkungen fossiler Kunststoffe auf die menschliche Gesundheit und die Umwelt zu bewältigen, müssen bei der Entwicklung und Herstellung von Kunststoffen zukünftig die End-of-Use-Strategien wie Wiederverwendung, Reparatur und Recycling deutlich stärker berücksichtigt werden (EU 2018). Dies führt zu einem Paradigmenwechsel von der linearen zur Kreislaufwirtschaft. Die Kernprinzipien „take, make, dispose“ einer linearen Wirtschaft werden in einer Kreislaufwirtschaft durch „take, make, re-use“ ersetzt. Die Wiederverwendung umfasst zirkuläre Kriterien wie Reparatur, Aufarbeitung und Recycling (Taleb 2021). Innerhalb des letzten Jahrzehnts hat die Entwicklung und Förderung nachhaltigerer Materia-lien eine Schlüsselrolle auf sozialer und politischer Ebene in der EU übernommen (EC 2018).
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Science is increasingly warning that the Earth, as a result of human activity, is currently on a trajectory towards environmental collapse. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by UN member states in 2015 as a means to reconcile human activity with planetary boundaries, allowing humanity to thrive while safeguarding Earth's life support. The purpose of this paper is to assess whether the SDGs so far have lived up to their promise. Using Eurostat's SDG indicator set, the study calculates temporal progress measures of socioeconomic development and environmental sustainability for the European Union (EU) member states. To validate the findings, the two progress measures are compared with changes in the human development index (HDI) and the ecological footprint (EF). The study's results show that over the past five years of available data, most EU member states have seen socioeconomic progress combined with environmental degradation. The trends in the HDI and the EF corroborate this finding, suggesting that the trade-off between socioeconomic activity and environmental preservation continues to exist. SDG implementation should consequently put a stronger focus on the environmental dimension, to ensure that the pursuit of the 2030 Agenda's socioeconomic objectives does not undermine the ecosystem services humanity depends on.
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Organophosphate esters (OPEs) are widespread in various environmental media, and can disrupt thyroid endocrine signaling pathways. Mechanisms by which OPEs disrupt thyroid hormone (TH) signal transduction are not fully understood. Here, we present in vivo-in vitro-in silico evidence establishing OPEs as environmental THs competitively entering the brain to inhibit growth of zebrafish via multiple signaling pathways. OPEs can bind to transthyretin (TTR) and thyroxine-binding globulin, thereby affecting the transport of TH in the blood, and to the brain by TTR through the blood–brain barrier. When GH3 cells were exposed to OPEs, cell proliferation was significantly inhibited given that OPEs are competitive inhibitors of TH. Cresyl diphenyl phosphate was shown to be an effective antagonist of TH. Chronic exposure to OPEs significantly inhibited the growth of zebrafish by interfering with thyroperoxidase and thyroglobulin to inhibit TH synthesis. Based on comparisons of modulations of gene expression with the Gene Ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes databases, signaling pathways related to thyroid endocrine functions, such as receptor–ligand binding and regulation of hormone levels, were identified as being affected by exposure to OPEs. Effects were also associated with the biosynthesis and metabolism of lipids, and neuroactive ligand–receptor interactions. These findings provide a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms by which OPEs disrupt thyroid pathways in zebrafish.
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Though often perceived as an environmentally-risky practice, biological control of invasive species can restore crop yields, ease land pressure and thus contribute to forest conservation. Here, we show how biological control against the mealybug Phenacoccus manihoti (Hemiptera) slows deforestation across Southeast Asia. In Thailand, this newly-arrived mealybug caused an 18% decline in cassava yields over 2009–2010 and an escalation in prices of cassava products. This spurred an expansion of cassava cropping in neighboring countries from 713,000 ha in 2009 to > 1 million ha by 2011: satellite imagery reveals 388%, 330%, 185% and 608% increases in peak deforestation rates in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam focused in cassava crop expansion areas. Following release of the host-specific parasitoid Anagyrus lopezi (Hymenoptera) in 2010, mealybug outbreaks were reduced, cropping area contracted and deforestation slowed by 31–95% in individual countries. Hence, when judiciously implemented, insect biological control can deliver substantial environmental benefits.
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Neonicotinoids and fipronil are the most widely used insecticides in the world. Previous studies showed that these compounds have high toxicity to a wide taxonomic range of non-target invertebrates. In rice cultivation, they are frequently used for nursery-box treatment of rice seedlings. The use of fipronil and neonicotinoid imidacloprid is suspected to be the main cause of population declines of red dragonflies, in particular Sympetrum frequens, because they have high lethal toxicity to dragonfly nymphs and the timing of the insecticides’ introduction in Japan (i.e., the late 1990s) overlapped with the sharp population declines. However, a causal link between application of these insecticides and population declines of the dragonflies remains unclear. Therefore, we estimated the amount of the insecticides applied for nursery-box treatment of rice seedlings and analyzed currently available information to evaluate the causality between fipronil and imidacloprid usage and population decline of S. frequens using Hill’s causality criteria. Based on our scoring of Hill’s nine criteria, the strongest lines of evidence were strength, plausibility, and coherence, whereas the weakest were temporality and biological gradient. We conclude that the use of these insecticides, particularly fipronil, was a major cause of the declines of S. frequens in Japan in the 1990s, with a high degree of certainty. The existing information and our analyses, however, do not allow us to exclude the possibility that some agronomic practices (e.g., midsummer drainage or crop rotation) that can severely limit the survival of aquatic nymphs also played a role in the dragonfly’s decline. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1007/s11356-018-3440-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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A number of studies indicate that tropical arthropods should be particularly vulnerable to climate warming. If these predictions are realized, climate warming may have a more profound impact on the functioning and diversity of tropical forests than currently anticipated. Although arthropods comprise over two-thirds of terrestrial species, information on their abundance and extinction rates in tropical habitats is severely limited. Here we analyze data on arthropod and insectivore abundances taken between 1976 and 2012 at two midelevation habitats in Puerto Rico’s Luquillo rainforest. During this time, mean maximum temperatures have risen by 2.0 °C. Using the same study area and methods employed by Lister in the 1970s, we discovered that the dry weight biomass of arthropods captured in sweep samples had declined 4 to 8 times, and 30 to 60 times in sticky traps. Analysis of long-term data on canopy arthropods and walking sticks taken as part of the Luquillo Long-Term Ecological Research program revealed sustained declines in abundance over two decades, as well as negative regressions of abundance on mean maximum temperatures. We also document parallel decreases in Luquillo’s insectivorous lizards, frogs, and birds. While El Niño/Southern Oscillation influences the abundance of forest arthropods, climate warming is the major driver of reductions in arthropod abundance, indirectly precipitating a bottom-up trophic cascade and consequent collapse of the forest food web.
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Insects provide critical ecosystem services to humanity, including biological control of pests. Particularly for invasive pests, biological control constitutes an environmentally sound and cost-effective management option. Following its 2008 invasion of Southeast Asia, biological control was implemented against the cassava mealybug Phenacoccus manihoti (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) through the introduction and subsequent release of the host-specific parasitoid Anagyrus lopezi (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) in Thailand. In this study, we quantify yield benefits of mealybug biological control in Thailand’s cassava crop by using two different types of manipulative field trials: i.e., ‘physical exclusion’ cage trials and field-level ‘chemical exclusion’ assays. In cage trials with two popular cassava varieties, root yield and total dry matter (or ‘biological yield’) were a respective 4.0–4.2 times and 3.5–3.9 times higher in the presence of biological control. Extrapolating results from cage trials, biological control thus ensured an approximate yield gain of 5.3–10.0 T/ha for either variety. Under chemical exclusion trials, P. manihoti populations attained levels of 3266 ± 1021 cumulative mealybug-days (CMD) over a 10-month time period, and no longer impact yields. Moreover, under effective P. manihoti control, both root yield and biological yield increased with season-long CMD measures, and pest management interventions-including insecticide sprays-led to notable reductions in yield. This study is the first to show how biological control effectively downgrades the globally invasive P. manihoti to non-economic status and restores yields in Thailand’s cassava crop. Our work emphasizes the economic value of biological control, reveals how current P. manihoti populations do not necessarily cause yield penalties, and underlines the central importance of nature-based approaches in intensifying global agricultural production.
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In order to study the in situ effects of the agricultural landscape and exposure to pesticides on honey bee health, sixteen honey bee colonies were placed in four different agricultural landscapes. Those landscapes were three agricultural areas with varying levels of agricultural intensity (AG areas) and one non-agricultural area (NAG area). Colonies were monitored for different pathogen prevalence and pesticide residues over a period of one year. RT-qPCR was used to study the prevalence of seven different honey bee viruses as well as Nosema apis in colonies located in different agricultural systems with various intensities of soybean, corn, sorghum and cotton production. Populations of the parasitic mite Varroa destructor were also extensively monitored. Comprehensive MS-LC pesticide residue analyses were performed on samples of wax, honey, foragers, winter bees, dead bees and crop flowers for each apiary and location. Significantly higher level of varroa loads were recorded in colonies of the AG areas, but this at least partly correlated with increased colony size and did not necessarily result from exposure to pesticides. Infections of two viruses (DWVa, ABPV) and Nosema apis varied among the four studied locations. The urban location significantly elevated colony pathogen loads, while AG locations significantly benefited and increased the colony weight gain. Cotton and sorghum flowers contained high concentrations of insecticide including neonicotinoids, while soybean and corn had less pesticide residues. Several events of pesticide toxicity were recorded in the AG areas, and high concentrations of neonicotinoid insecticides were detected in dead bees.
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Varroa destructor is one of the most common parasites of honey bee colonies and is considered as a possible co-factor for honey bee decline. At the same time, the use of pesticides in intensive agriculture is still the most effective method of pest control. There is limited information about the effects of pesticide exposure on parasitized honey bees. Larval ingestion of certain pesticides could have effects on honey bee immune defense mechanisms, development and metabolic pathways. Europe and America face the disturbing phenomenon of the disappearance of honey bee colonies, termed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). One reason discussed is the possible suppression of honey bee immune system as a consequence of prolonged exposure to chemicals. In this study, the effects of the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam on honey bee, Apis mellifera carnica, pupae infested with Varroa destructor mites were analyzed at the molecular level. Varroa-infested and non-infested honey bee colonies received protein cakes with or without thiamethoxam. Nurse bees used these cakes as a feed for developing larvae. Samples of white-eyed and brown-eyed pupae were collected. Expression of 17 immune-related genes was analyzed by real-time PCR. Relative gene expression in samples exposed only to Varroa or to thiamethoxam or simultaneously to both Varroa and thiamethoxam was compared. The impact from the consumption of thiamethoxam during the larval stage on honey bee immune related gene expression in Varroa-infested white-eyed pupae was reflected as down-regulation of spaetzle, AMPs abaecin and defensin-1 and up-regulation of lysozyme-2. In brown-eyed pupae up-regulation of PPOact, spaetzle, hopscotch and basket genes was detected. Moreover, we observed a major difference in immune response to Varroa infestation between white-eyed pupae and brown-eyed pupae. The majority of tested immune-related genes were upregulated only in brown-eyed pupae, while in white-eyed pupae they were downregulated.
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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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Several anthropogenic contaminants, including pesticides and heavy metals, can affect honey bee health. The effects of mixtures of heavy metals and pesticides are rarely studied in bees, even though bees are likely to be exposed to these contaminants in both agricultural and urban environments. In this study, the lethal toxicity of Cr alone and in combination with the neonicotinoid insecticide clothianidin and the ergosterol-biosynthesis-inhibiting fungicide propiconazole was assessed in Apis mellifera adults. The LD50 and lowest benchmark dose of Cr as Cr(NO3)3, revealed a low acute oral toxicity on honey bee foragers (2049 and 379 mg L(-1), respectively) and the Cr retention (i.e. bee ability to retain the heavy metal in the body) was generally low compared to other metals. A modified method based on the binomial proportion test was developed to analyse synergistic and antagonistic interactions between the three tested contaminants. The combination of an ecologically-relevant field concentration of chromium with clothianidin and propiconazole did not increase bee mortality. On the contrary, the presence of Cr in mixture with propiconazole elicited a slight antagonistic effect.
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Global demands for agricultural and forestry products provide economic incentives for deforestation across the tropics. Much of this deforestation occurs with a lack of information on the spatial distribution of benefits and costs of deforestation. To inform global sustainable land-use policies, we combine geographic information systems (GIS) with a meta-analysis of ecosystem services (ES) studies to perform a spatially explicit analysis of the trade-offs between agricultural benefits, carbon emissions, and losses of multiple ecosystem services because of tropical deforestation from 2000 to 2012. Even though the value of ecosystem services presents large inherent uncertainties, we find a pattern supporting the argument that the externalities of destroying tropical forests are greater than the current direct economic benefits derived from agriculture in all cases bar one: when yield and rent potentials of high-value crops could be realized in the future. Our analysis identifies the Atlantic Forest, areas around the Gulf of Guinea, and Thailand as areas where agricultural conversion appears economically efficient, indicating a major impediment to the long-term financial sustainability of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) schemes in those countries. By contrast, Latin America, insular Southeast Asia, and Madagascar present areas with low agricultural rents (ARs) and high values in carbon stocks and ES, suggesting that they are economically viable conservation targets. Our study helps identify optimal areas for conservation and agriculture together with their associated uncertainties, which could enhance the efficiency and sustainability of pantropical land-use policies and help direct future research efforts.
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The population extinction pulse we describe here shows, from a quantitative viewpoint, that Earth’s sixth mass extinction is more severe than perceived when looking exclusively at species extinctions. Therefore, humanity needs to address anthropogenic population extirpation and decimation immediately. That conclusion is based on analyses of the numbers and degrees of range contraction (indicative of population shrinkage and/or population extinctions according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature) using a sample of 27,600 vertebrate species, and on a more detailed analysis documenting the population extinctions between 1900 and 2015 in 177 mammal species. We find that the rate of population loss in terrestrial vertebrates is extremely high—even in “species of low concern.” In our sample, comprising nearly half of known vertebrate species, 32% (8,851/27,600) are decreasing; that is, they have decreased in population size and range. In the 177 mammals for which we have detailed data, all have lost 30% or more of their geographic ranges and more than 40% of the species have experienced severe population declines (>80% range shrinkage). Our data indicate that beyond global species extinctions Earth is experiencing a huge episode of population declines and extirpations, which will have negative cascading consequences on ecosystem functioning and services vital to sustaining civilization. We describe this as a “biological annihilation” to highlight the current magnitude of Earth’s ongoing sixth major extinction event.
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Managed honey bee colony losses are of concern in the USA and globally. This survey, which documents the rate of colony loss in the USA during the 2015–2016 season, is the tenth report of winter losses, and the fifth of summer and annual losses. Our results summarize the responses of 5725 valid survey respondents, who collectively managed 427,652 colonies on 1 October 2015, an estimated 16.1% of all managed colonies in the USA. Responding beekeepers reported a total annual colony loss of 40.5% [95% CI 39.8–41.1%] between 1 April 2015 and 1 April 2016. Total winter colony loss was 26.9% [95% CI 26.4–27.4%] while total summer colony loss was 23.6% [95% CI 23.0–24.1%], making this the third consecutive year when summer losses have approximated to winter losses. Across all operation types, 32.3% of responding beekeepers reported no winter losses. Whilst the loss rate in the winter of 2015–2016 was amongst the lowest winter losses recorded over the ten years this survey has been conducted, 59.0% (n = 3378) of responding beekeepers had higher losses than they deemed acceptable.
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Queen health is crucial to colony survival of honeybees, since reproduction and colony growth rely solely on the queen. Queen failure is considered a relevant cause of colony losses, yet few data exist concerning effects of environmental stressors on queens. Here we demonstrate for the first time that exposure to field-realistic concentrations of neonicotinoid pesticides can severely affect the immunocompetence of queens of western honeybees (Apis mellifera L.). In young queens exposed to thiacloprid (200 µg/l or 2000 µg/l) or clothianidin (10 µg/l or 50 µg/l), the total hemocyte number and the proportion of active, differentiated hemocytes was significantly reduced. Moreover, functional aspects of the immune defence namely the wound healing/melanisation response, as well as the antimicrobial activity of the hemolymph were impaired. Our results demonstrate that neonicotinoid insecticides can negatively affect the immunocompetence of queens, possibly leading to an impaired disease resistance capacity.
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Colony losses of managed honeybees have raised a major concern, and surveys of colony losses were conducted around the globe to understand the apicultural situation. Up to now, most studies have focused on the mortality of the Western honeybee (Apis mellifera); however, little is known about the mortality of its eastern counterpart—the Eastern honeybee (Apis cerana). Here, we report the survey results of A. cerana colony losses in three consecutive years (2011–2012, 2012–2013, and 2013–2014) in China. Colony losses were low overall (12.8%, 95% CI 11.9–13.7%) but varied among years, provinces, and types of apiaries. We used generalized linear mixed effects models to estimate the effects of possible risk factors and found that queen problems (queenless or drone-laying queens) were associated with colony losses. Further analyses showed that differences in mortality among different types of apiaries may be contributable to the differences in queen problems. This is the first survey of colony losses of A. cerana.
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Achieving sustainable crop production while feeding an increasing world population is one of the most ambitious challenges of this century1. Meeting this challenge will necessarily imply a drastic reduction of adverse environmental effects arising from agricultural activities2. The reduction of pesticide use is one of the critical drivers to preserve the environment and human health. Pesticide use could be reduced through the adoption of new production strategies3, 4, 5; however, whether substantial reductions of pesticide use are possible without impacting crop productivity and profitability is debatable6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. Here, we demonstrated that low pesticide use rarely decreases productivity and profitability in arable farms. We analysed the potential conflicts between pesticide use and productivity or profitability with data from 946 non-organic arable commercial farms showing contrasting levels of pesticide use and covering a wide range of production situations in France. We failed to detect any conflict between low pesticide use and both high productivity and high profitability in 77% of the farms. We estimated that total pesticide use could be reduced by 42% without any negative effects on both productivity and profitability in 59% of farms from our national network. This corresponded to an average reduction of 37, 47 and 60% of herbicide, fungicide and insecticide use, respectively. The potential for reducing pesticide use appeared higher in farms with currently high pesticide use than in farms with low pesticide use. Our results demonstrate that pesticide reduction is already accessible to farmers in most production situations. This would imply profound changes in market organization and trade balance.
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The widespread use of systemic neonicotinoid insecticides in agriculture results first in contamination of the soil of the treated crops, and secondly in the transfer of residues to the aquatic environment. The high toxicity of these insecticides to aquatic insects and other arthropods has been recognized, but there is little awareness of the impacts these chemicals have on aquatic environments and the ecosystem at large. Recent monitoring studies in several countries, however, have revealed a worldwide contamination of creeks, rivers and lakes with these insecticides, with residue levels in the low µg/L (ppb) range. The current extent of aquatic contamination by neonicotinoids is reviewed first, and the findings contrasted with the known acute and chronic toxicity of neonicotinoids to various aquatic organisms. Impacts on populations and aquatic communities, mostly using mesocosms, are reviewed next to identify the communities most at risk from those that undergo little or no impact. Finally, the ecological links between aquatic and terrestrial organisms are considered. The consequences for terrestrial vertebrate species that depend mainly on this food source are discussed together with impacts on ecosystem function. Gaps in knowledge stem from difficulties in obtaining long-term experimental data that relates the effects on individual organisms to impacts on populations and ecosystems. The paper concludes with a summary of findings and the implications they have for the larger ecosystem.
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The butterfly fauna of lowland Northern California has exhibited a marked decline in recent years that previous studies have attributed in part to altered climatic conditions and changes in land use. Here, we ask if a shift in insecticide use towards neonicotinoids is associated with butterfly declines at four sites in the region that have been monitored for four decades. A negative association between butterfly populations and increasing neonicotinoid application is detectable while controlling for land use and other factors, and appears to be more severe for smaller-bodied species. These results suggest that neonicotinoids could influence non-target insect populations occurring in proximity to application locations, and highlights the need for mechanistic work to complement long-term observational data.
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The threats of old are still the dominant drivers of current species loss, indicates an analysis of IUCN Red List data by Sean Maxwell and colleagues.
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Recent efforts to evaluate the contribution of neonicotinoid insecticides to worldwide pollinator declines have focused on honey bees and the chronic levels of exposure experienced when foraging on crops grown from neonicotinoid-treated seeds. However, few studies address non-crop plants as a potential route of pollinator exposure to neonicotinoid and other insecticides. Here we show that pollen collected by honey bee foragers in maize- and soybean-dominated landscapes is contaminated throughout the growing season with multiple agricultural pesticides, including the neonicotinoids used as seed treatments. Notably, however, the highest levels of contamination in pollen are pyrethroid insecticides targeting mosquitoes and other nuisance pests. Furthermore, pollen from crop plants represents only a tiny fraction of the total diversity of pollen resources used by honey bees in these landscapes, with the principle sources of pollen originating from non-cultivated plants. These findings provide fundamental information about the foraging habits of honey bees in these landscapes.
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Distribution in France and Corsica of species belonging to families Scarabaeidae, Aphodiidae, Aegialiidae, Hybosoridae, Ochodaeidae, Trogidae, Geotrupidae and Pachypodidae. For each species is given: taxonomy, size of individuals, distribution in France, distribution in the world, biology, and phenology. Each species with a distribution map.
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We previously characterized and quantified the influence of land use on survival and productivity of colonies positioned in six apiaries and found that colonies in apiaries surrounded by more land in uncultivated forage experienced greater annual survival, and generally more honey production. Here, detailed metrics of honey bee health were assessed over three years in colonies positioned in the same six apiaries. The colonies were located in North Dakota during the summer months and were transported to California for almond pollination every winter. Our aim was to identify relationships among measures of colony and individual bee health that impacted and predicted overwintering survival of colonies. We tested the hypothesis that colonies in apiaries surrounded by more favorable land use conditions would experience improved health. We modeled colony and individual bee health indices at a critical time point (autumn, prior to overwintering) and related them to eventual spring survival for California almond pollination. Colony measures that predicted overwintering apiary survival included the amount of pollen collected, brood production, and Varroa destructor mite levels. At the individual bee level, expression of vitellogenin, defensin1, and lysozyme2 were important markers of overwinter survival. This study is a novel first step toward identifying pertinent physiological responses in honey bees that result from their positioning near varying landscape features in intensive agricultural environments.
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Several reports suggested that rice seedling nursery-box application of some systemic insecticides (neonicotinoids and fipronil) is the cause of the decline in dragonfly species noted since the 1990s in Japan. We conducted paddy mesocosm experiments to investigate the effect of the systemic insecticides clothianidin, fipronil and chlorantraniliprole on rice paddy field biological communities. Concentrations of all insecticides in the paddy water were reduced to the limit of detection within 3 months after application. However, residuals of these insecticides in the paddy soil were detected throughout the experimental period. Plankton species were affected by clothianidin and chlorantraniliprole right after the applications, but they recovered after the concentrations decreased. On the other hand, the effects of fipronil treatment, especially on Odonata, were larger than those of any other treatment. The number of adult dragonflies completing eclosion was severely decreased in the fipronil treatment. These results suggest that the accumulation of these insecticides in paddy soil reduces biodiversity by eliminating dragonfly nymphs, which occupy a high trophic level in paddy fields.
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Biological control is a valuable and effective strategy for controlling arthropod pests and has been used extensively against invasive arthropods. As one approach for control of invasives, exotic natural enemies from the native range of a pest are introduced to areas where control is needed. Classical biological control began to be used in the late 1800s and its use increased until, beginning in 1983, scientists began raising significant concerns and questions about nontarget and indirect effects that can be caused by these introductions. In recent years, similar issues have been raised about augmentative use of exotic natural enemies. Subsequently, international guidelines, national regulations and scientific methods being used for exotic natural enemies in biological control have changed to require appropriate specificity testing, risk assessment and regulatory oversight before exotic natural enemies can be released. National and international standards aimed at minimizing risk have increased awareness and promoted more careful consideration of the costs and benefits associated with biological control. The barriers to the implementation of classical and augmentative biological control with exotic natural enemies now are sometimes difficult and, as a consequence, the numbers of classical biological control programs and releases have decreased significantly. Based in part on this new, more careful approach, classical biological control programs more recently undertaken are increasingly aimed at controlling especially damaging invasive arthropod pests that otherwise cannot be controlled. We examine evidence for these revised procedures and regulations aimed at increasing success and minimizing risk. We also discuss limitations linked to the apparent paucity of post-introduction monitoring and inherent unpredictability of indirect effects.
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Queen health is closely linked to colony performance in honey bees as a single queen is normally responsible for all egg laying and brood production within the colony. In the U. S. in recent years, queens have been failing at a high rate; with 50% or greater of queens replaced in colonies within 6 months when historically a queen might live one to two years. This high rate of queen failure coincides with the high mortality rates of colonies in the US, some years with >50% of colonies dying. In the current study, surveys of sperm viability in US queens were made to determine if sperm viability plays a role in queen or colony failure. Wide variation was observed in sperm viability from four sets of queens removed from colonies that beekeepers rated as in good health (n = 12; average viability = 92%), were replacing as part of normal management (n = 28; 57%), or where rated as failing (n = 18 and 19; 54% and 55%). Two additional paired set of queens showed a statistically significant difference in viability between colonies rated by the beekeeper as failing or in good health from the same apiaries. Queens removed from colonies rated in good health averaged high viability (ca. 85%) while those rated as failing or in poor health had significantly lower viability (ca. 50%). Thus low sperm viability was indicative of, or linked to, colony performance. To explore the source of low sperm viability, six commercial queen breeders were surveyed and wide variation in viability (range 60-90%) was documented between breeders. This variability could originate from the drones the queens mate with or temperature extremes that queens are exposed to during shipment. The role of shipping temperature as a possible explanation for low sperm viability was explored. We documented that during shipment queens are exposed to temperature spikes (<8 and > 40°C) and these spikes can kill 50% or more of the sperm stored in queen spermathecae in live queens. Clearly low sperm viability is linked to colony performance and laboratory and field data provide evidence that temperature extremes are a potential causative factor.
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Minimizing the impact of invasive alien species (IAS) on islands and elsewhere requires researchers to provide cogent information on the environmental and socioeconomic consequences of IAS to the public and policy makers. Unfortunately, this information has not been readily available owing to a paucity of scientific research and the failure of the scientific community to make their findings readily available to decision makers. This review explores the vulnerability of islands to biological invasion, reports on environmental and socioeconomic impacts of IAS on islands and provides guidance and information on technical resources that can help minimize the effects of IAS in island ecosystems. This assessment is intended to provide a holistic perspective on islandIAS dynamics, enable biologists and social scientists to identify information gaps that warrant further research and serve as a primer for policy makers seeking to minimize the impact of IAS on island systems. Case studies have been selected to reflect the most scientifically-reliable information on the impacts of IAS on islands. Sufficient evidence has emerged to conclude that IAS are the most significant drivers of population declines and species extinctions in island ecosystems worldwide. Clearly, IAS can also have significant socioeconomic impacts directly (for example human health) and indirectly through their effects on ecosystem goods and services.These impacts are manifest at all ecological levels and affect the poorest, as well as richest, island nations.The measures needed to prevent and minimize the impacts of IAS on island ecosystems are generally known. However, many island nations and territories lack the scientific and technical information, infrastructure and human and financial resources necessary to adequately address the problems caused by IAS. Because every nation is an exporter and importer of goods and services, every nation is also a facilitator and victim of the invasion of alien species. Wealthy nations therefore need to help raise the capacity of island nations and territories to minimize the spread and impact of IAS.
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Wild bees are highly valuable pollinators. Along with managed honey bees, they provide a critical ecosystem service by ensuring stable pollination to agriculture and wild plant communities. Increasing concern about the welfare of both wild and managed pollinators, however, has prompted recent calls for national evaluation and action. Here, for the first time to our knowledge, we assess the status and trends of wild bees and their potential impacts on pollination services across the coterminous United States. We use a spatial habitat model, national land-cover data, and carefully quantified expert knowledge to estimate wild bee abundance and associated uncertainty. Between 2008 and 2013, modeled bee abundance declined across 23% of US land area. This decline was generally associated with conversion of natural habitats to row crops. We identify 139 counties where low bee abundances correspond to large areas of pollinator-dependent crops. These areas of mismatch between supply (wild bee abundance) and demand (cultivated area) for pollination comprise 39% of the pollinator-dependent crop area in the United States. Further, we find that the crops most highly dependent on pollinators tend to experience more severe mismatches between declining supply and increasing demand. These trends, should they continue, may increase costs for US farmers and may even destabilize crop production over time. National assessments such as this can help focus both scientific and political efforts to understand and sustain wild bees. As new information becomes available, repeated assessments can update findings, revise priorities, and track progress toward sustainable management of our nation's pollinators.