Navigation Links
Wild pollinators increase crop fruit set regardless of honey bees

Changes made by humans to the natural landscapes can often compromise ecosystems, which paradoxically are vital for human survival. Pollination of crops by wild insects is one such vulnerable ecosystem service, as wild insects are declining in many agricultural landscapes. The study, recently published in Science, focused on understanding whether the ongoing loss of wild insects impacts crop harvest. For this purpose, the researchers compared fields with abundant and diverse wild insects to those with degraded assemblages of wild insects across 600 fields at 41 crop systems on all continents with farmland.

The study found that fruit set, the proportion of flowers setting seeds or fruits, was considerably lower in sites with less wild insects visiting the crop flowers. Therefore, losses of wild insects from agricultural landscapes will likely impact both our natural heritage and agricultural harvest.

As hives of the honey bee are frequently added for improved pollination, the researchers asked whether this application can compensate for limited abundance and diversity of wild insects and fully maximize crop harvest. They found that variation in honey bee abundance improved fruit set in only 14% of the crop systems they served. Furthermore, wild insects pollinated crops more effectively because an increase in their visitation enhanced fruit set by twice as much as an equivalent increase in honey bee visitation. Importantly, high abundance of managed honey bees supplemented, rather than substituted for, pollination by wild insects.

These results hold even for crops stocked routinely with high densities of honey bees for pollination, such as almond, blueberry, mango or watermelon. Although honey bees are generally viewed as a substitute for wild pollinators, this study demonstrates that they neither maximize pollination, nor fully replace the contributions of diverse, wild-insect assemblages to fruit set for a broad range of crops and agricultural practices on all continents with farmland.

The leading author, Lucas A. Garibaldi, Universidad Nacional de Ro Negro - CONICET, Argentina comments: "Our study shows that losses of wild insects from agricultural landscapes impact not only our natural heritage but also our agricultural harvests. We found that wild insects consistently enhanced the number of flowers setting fruits or seeds for a broad range of crops and agricultural practices on all continents with farmland. Long term, productive agricultural systems should include habitat for both honey bees and diverse wild insects. Our study prompts for the implementation of more sustainable agricultural practices."

Alexandra-Maria Klein, Leuphana University of Lneburg, Germany adds: "Ecosystem services can depend on biodiversity provided by wild organisms. Intensified agriculture separates crop production and biodiversity. Our study shows that this separation can have negative consequences for pollination services not buffered by honeybee management. We urgently need more research that informs but also involves the global and wider society to explore novel management designs for agricultural landscapes."


Contact: Lucas A. Garibaldi
Pensoft Publishers

Related biology news :

1. Wild pollinators support farm productivity and stabilize yield
2. Increase in Arctic shipping poses risk to marine mammals
3. Columbia Engineering and Penn researchers increase speed of single-molecule measurements
4. Fertilizer use responsible for increase in nitrous oxide in atmosphere
5. NIST/UMass study finds evidence nanoparticles may increase plant DNA damage
6. Study finds soda consumption increases overall stroke risk
7. Scientists have discovered genes that increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures
8. Family history of liver cancer increases risk of developing the disease
9. Research shows how PCBs promote dendrite growth, may increase autism risk
10. Increased fructose consumption may deplete cellular energy in patients with obesity and diabetes
11. NIH-led study finds genetic test results do not trigger increased use of health services
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Wild pollinators increase crop fruit set regardless of honey bees
(Date:6/14/2017)... June 15, 2017  IBM (NYSE: IBM ) is introducing ... event dedicated to developing collaboration between startups and global businesses, ... 15-17. During the event, nine startups will showcase the solutions ... various industries. France ... market, with a 30 percent increase in the number of ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... DALLAS , May 16, 2017   ... for health organizations, and MD EMR Systems ... certified development partner for GE, have established a ... Patient Portal product and the GE Centricity™ products, ... Centricity EMR. These new integrations ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... 19, 2017 The global military ... is marked by the presence of several large global ... by five major players - 3M Cogent, NEC Corporation, ... for nearly 61% of the global military biometric market ... the global military biometrics market boast global presence, which ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... The Blavatnik Family Foundation and the ... of the 2017 Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists. Established in 2007, ... the New York Academy of Sciences to honor the excellence of outstanding postdoctoral ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... AMRI, a global contract research, development and ... outcomes and quality of life, will now be offering its impurity solutions as ... regulatory requirements for all new drug products, including the finalization of ICH M7 ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... ... is a basic first aid supply for any work environment, but most personal eye wash ... if a dangerous substance enters both eyes? It’s one less decision, and likely quicker response ... piece. , “Whether its dirt and debris, or an acid or alkali, getting anything in ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. 11, 2017 ... London (ICR) and University of ... prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma (MM), in ... nine . The University of Leeds ... by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the testing services ...
Breaking Biology Technology: