Bee dispersal ability may influence conservation measures

Credit: Bigstock

Credit: Bigstock

Problem

As wild and managed pollinator populations decline due to pests, pathogens, habitat fragmentation, and climate change, how can conservation measures be planned?

Some pollinators adapt to these changes by dispersing, but studying dispersal of small insects is difficult.

Findings

An international team of entomologists is the first to identify two significant traits as indicators of a bee’s ability to adapt to environmental changes.

  • Body size: researchers examined the breadth of the bees’ diets.
  • Social behavior: researchers determined whether the bees are solitary species or work and live together as part of a group.

Impact

Because their findings confirm that these two traits can be linked to the population genetic structure, scientists can now use this research to predict which species may be at risk of local extinction.

Related Research Areas: Advanced Agricultural and Food Systems, Integrated Health Solutions, and Environmental Resilience

Research Credit

Team

  • Margarita López-Uribe, Antonella Soro, and Shalene Jha

Competitive Funding

  • National Science Foundation; Army Research Office

Federal and State Appropriations

  • USDA NIFA Hatch Project #PEN04619, Accession #1011647

Published Research

A trait-based approach to predict population genetic structure in bees

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Office for Research and Graduate Education

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217 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802-2600