Crustaceans ‘pollinate’ seaweed. Could carbon dioxide be a new tool against varroa mites? Burned forest now landscape abuzz with bees and flowers.
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Photo: David Cappaert
Burned forest now a landscape abuzz with bees and flowers
(University of Oregon) When the Holiday Farm Fire tore through the McKenzie River Valley in 2020, burning 70,000 acres, it created a blank canvas of sorts. One ecologist saw an opportunity to establish pollinators in the burned forest: she and her graduate students strategically sowed about 20 different species of native plant seeds into burn piles on a ridge overlooking the McKenzie River.
Nature-friendly farming does not reduce productivity, study finds
(The Guardian) In the longest-running study of its kind, researchers succeeded in boosting numbers of wildlife essential for agricultural production such as pollinators and predators of crop pests. The numbers of some butterfly species including the gatekeeper and green-veined white doubled, and birds that usually feed on insects benefited from the shelter provided by hedges and grass margins.
Photo: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
Could carbon dioxide be a new tool against varroa mites?
(Entomology Today) A new study shows storing honey bee colonies with elevated levels of carbon dioxide reduces levels of varroa mites, a method that might prove useful in reducing beekeepers’ winter colony losses.
Shining fluorescent light on bee sperm could help explain colony survival
(The Conversation) “Honey bee sperm are devilishly difficult to study, even with powerful microscopes and tried-and-tested techniques... This has much to do with the sperm’s form and structure. The tails are often tightly coiled in a helix, making it hard to tell which is the tail and which the head of the sperm... In our first published paper about this work, we explain how we have improved on other sperm analysis systems by using fluorescence.”
Australian queen bees may be moved as varroa mite red zone expands to include breeding program site
(ABC News) The New South Wales Agriculture Minister says as many queen bees as possible may be moved from a newly expanded varroa mite eradication zone to protect a national bee breeding program.
South African bees threatened by booming macadamia nut industry
(Daily Maverick) Macadamia cultivation in South Africa has grown so rapidly that the country is now Australia’s main competitor for the title of the world’s number one nut producer – with more than 700 growers in the country. While pesticides to protect the value of the nuts have benefited farmers and the economy, they have damaged the crop pollinators.
Photo: Wilfried Thomas, Station Biologique de Roscoff, CNRS SU
Like bees of the sea, crustaceans ‘pollinate’ seaweed
(Science News) When it comes to reproduction, one type of red algae gets by with a little help from its friends: small sea crustaceans that transport sex cells between male and female algae, like pollen-laden bees buzzing between flowers. Both the red algae and crustaceans belong to far more ancient groups than land plants do, raising the possibility that a form of pollination first evolved in the ocean, hundreds of millions earlier than originally thought.
Pollinator-flower interactions in gardens during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown of 2020
(Jeff Ollerton) “During the lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many pollination ecologists were stuck at home: universities and research institutes were closed and restrictions on travel meant that it was not possible to get out and do field work. In order to keep active and motivated, and to turn adversity into an opportunity, an ad hoc network of more than 70 researchers from 15 different countries decided to collect standardised data on the plant-pollinator networks in their own gardens and nearby public spaces.”
Empirical evaluation of artificial trap nests as tools for fundamental research and pollinator conservation
(Twitter, Simon Hodge @drmilky1) “We only found a few species, but different species use different size tubes. Implications for agri-environment schemes and design of garden ‘bee hotels’” Original paper
(Washington Post) “The French philosopher René Descartes, whose views on animals were highly influential, argued that these creatures acted purely by reflex – they had no intellectual capabilities. But there has been a Copernican revolution since then: We now know that sophisticated minds are all around us in the animal queendom – not just in close relatives of humans such as chimps and apes, but also in “aliens from inner space” such as the octopus. And now we are learning just how smart insects can be.”
A comparative study of RNA yields from museum specimens
(Twitter, Kelly Speer, Ph.D. @KellySpeer) “Did you know you can get RNA out of museum specimens? Even formalin-fixed ones?! My co-authors and I provide a protocol and give quality/quantity estimates of RNA preserved in bat specimens” Original paper
Photo: AA Photo
Turkish scientists tap robot bees for endangered hives
(Daily Sabah) The micro-robot bees that the scientists are building can be remotely controlled, mimicking worker bees who can feed the queen bee. “They will serve, clean, and feed her so the queen bee can breed more, even under difficult circumstances.”
One More Thing…
From Zach Portman @zachportman via Twitter: “A Rusty-patched bumblebee from Iowa. In the past couple years I’ve now found them in 4 states – IA, IL, MN, and WI. Would be cool to go find some out in the remnant populations out east”