Navigation Links
Wild pollinators increase crop fruit set regardless of honey bees
Date:3/1/2013

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
lgaribaldi@unrn.edu.ar
54-294-442-3731
Pensoft Publishers
Source:Eurekalert  

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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Wild pollinators increase crop fruit set regardless of honey bees
(Date:3/17/2016)... March 17, 2016 ABI Research, the ... the global biometrics market will reach more than ... increase from 2015. Consumer electronics, particularly smartphones, continue ... sensors anticipated to reach two billion shipments by ... Dimitrios Pavlakis , Research Analyst at ABI Research. ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a company ... of a new series of commercials on Time Warner Cable ... .  The commercials will air on Bloomberg TV, Fox Business ... show. --> NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), ... the airing of a new series of commercials on Time ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... --> --> ... Recognition Market by Technology (Pattern Recognition), by Component (Hardware, ... Type (On-Premises and Cloud), by Industry Vertical and by ... the global market is expected to grow from USD ... 2020, at a CAGR of 19.1%. , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... FL (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... Lady ... eight she tore her cruciate ligament in her left knee. Lady’s owner Hannah sought ... a central Florida board-certified veterinary surgeon, to repair her cruciate ligament and help with ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Cell ... injuries, will be accelerated by research at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) that yielded ... healing and tissue regeneration. , The novel method, developed by WPI faculty members ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Last week, Callan Capital, an integrated wealth management firm ... Future of San Diego Life Science event at the Estancia La Jolla Resort and ... event with speakers Dr. Rich Heyman, former CEO of Aragon and Seragon, and Faheem ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... , ... May 23, 2016 , ... The need for blood donations in South Texas ... by the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, blood donations are on the decline. In ... and they are down 21 percent in South Texas in the last four years alone. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: