Monthly Archives: March 2016

“Progress in pollination and pollinator research” meeting – University of Reading – 20th April

Skipper on ragwort - cropped

There is to be a joint meeting of the Royal Entomological Society’s Insect Pollination and Insects & Sustainable Agriculture Special Interest Groups on “Progress in pollination and pollinator research” at the University of Reading, 20th April 2016.  Unfortunately I can’t make it (I have meetings at the university all that day and need to get myself organised before heading off to Tenerife for field work on the 22nd) but I thought I’d advertise what looks like a very interesting one day conference.

The programme for the meeting is below and registration is open.  Please register before the meeting via The Royal Entomological Society using the form which can be downloaded from the RES website:

http://www.royensoc.co.uk/content/joint-meeting-insect-pollination-sustainable-agriculture-special-interest-groups-20-april-20

The registration fee will be £20 and includes lunch and all refreshments.

Convenors are Mike Garratt (Insect Pollination SIG) and John Holland (Insects & Sustainable Agriculture SIG) so please contact them if you’d like further information.

Programme

9.30-9.55 – Registration & Coffee

9.55-10.00 – Welcome

10.00-10.20 – Ecological intensification, pollinator diversity, and crop yield gaps in small- and large-holdings (Lucas Garibaldi, Instituto de Investigaciones en Recursos Naturales, Agroecología y Desarrollo Rural, Argentina)

10.20-10.40 – Welfare impact of pollinator decline on the international trade (Nicola Gallai, Ecole Nationale de Formation Agronomique, France)

10.40-11.00 – Conserving one beneficial at the cost of another; does success in promoting pollinators risk farmers ignoring other beneficial insects? (Mark Ramsden, ADAS)

11.00-11.20 – Coffee break

11.20-11.40 – Quantification of the floral landscape in agro-ecosystems and its effect on bumblebee colonies (Ellen Rotheray, University of Sussex)

11.40-12.00 – How many Bumblebees can our landscapes support? Using bumblebee colony models as a conservation management tool in agricultural landscapes (Grace Twiston-Davies, University of Exeter)

12.00-12.20 – Are current agri-environment schemes providing appropriate resources to the wider farmland bee community? (Thomas Wood, University of Sussex)

Short presentations:

12.20-12.25 – Pollination studies in the QuESSA Project (John Holland, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust)
12.25-12.30 – Pollinator initiatives and research at the Royal Horticultural Society (Andrew Salisbury, RHS Garden Wisley)

12.30-12.35 – Collating evidence on plant traits and ecosystem services to inform multifunctional field margin design (Claire Blowers, Harper Adams University)

12.35-12.40 – Rare bee species and agriculture (Steven Falk, Freelance Entomologist)

12.40-12.45 – Fenland ditch banks as pollinator refuges: Environmental variable influence on pollination service measurements (Hilary Conlan, Anglia Ruskin University)

12.45-12.50 – What’s for dinner? Investigating the foraging preferences of honeybees using pollen DNA metabarcoding (Natasha de Vere, National Botanic Garden of Wales)

12.50-13.00 – Questions

13.00-13.45 – Lunch

13.45-13.50 – The National Pollinator and Pollination Monitoring Framework (Claire Carvell, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology)

13.50-13.55 – Impacts of climate change on plant-pollinator interactions in agro-ecosystems (Ellen Moss, Newcastle University)

13.55-14.00 – Reproductive resilience through outcrossing: pollen movement by insects is more important when plants are under stress (Jake Bishop, University of Reading)

14.00-14.05 – DNA metabarcoding reveals pollen transport by Eristalis hoverflies in grasslands (Andrew Lucas, National Botanic Garden of Wales)

14.05-14.10 – Raspberry pollination (Anders Nielsen, University of Oslo)

14.10-14.15 – Interaction between pollinators and pesticide use in agricultural crops: An ecological-economical modeling approach in South West France (Giorgos Kleftodimos, University of Toulouse)

14.15-14.20 – Estimating the net economic consequences of losing pollination services: evaluating contributions from single protected areas (Fabrizia Ratto, University of Southampton)

14.20-14.30 – Questions

14.30-14.50 – Insect pollinators: utilisation of resources through space and time in an intensive grassland landscape (Lorna Cole, SRUC)

14.50-15.10 – Insecticides and pollinators – Are they really incompatible? (Lin Field, Rothamsted Research)

15.00-15.20 – Monitoring the effects of chronic, larval exposure to neonicotinoids on the solitary bee Osmia bicornis (Beth Nicholls, University of Sussex)

15.20-15.30 – Discussion and close of meeting

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Bees, Biodiversity, Butterflies, Climate change, Ecosystem services, Honey bees, Hoverflies, Pollination, Wasps

Special issue of Leaf Litter devoted to pollinators

Leaf Litter

A short while ago I was interviewed by an American journalist as part of a special issue of the online newsletter Leaf Litter devoted to pollinators.  Produced by a conservation planning and ecological restoration organisation called Biohabitats, this special issue includes:

» Thoughts on Pollinators
» Expert Q&A: Jeff Ollerton
» Expert Q&A: Jerome Rozen
» Expert Q&A: Eugenie Regan
» Inspiration: Promising Progress With Pollinator Habitat
» Non-Profit Spotlight: The Xerces Society
» Video: An ecological planner walks into a cider mill…
» How Saving Pollinators Can Save Water and Fish Resources
» Biohabitats Projects, Places, and People

Here’s a link to Leaf Litter.

2 Comments

Filed under Bees, Biodiversity, Butterflies, Ecosystem services, Gardens, Honey bees, Hoverflies, IPBES, Pollination, Urban biodiversity

Urban Pollinator Knowledge Exchange summary – Bristol 22nd February

P1110838The importance of urban environments for supporting pollinator populations is a topic that I’ve covered several times on the blog, for example: “Urban pollinators for urban agriculture” and “Urban bee diversity – a new study“.  It’s a subject that’s generating a lot of interest at the moment with some really exciting research being published and conservation practice taking place.  However there’s clearly a lot to do if we are really to understand where pollinators are distributed across out townscapes, and how we can best manage urban habitats to support this diversity and increase their numbers – here’s a link to an interesting round table discussion on this very topic.

Recently I was invited to take part in a workshop event co-organised by Defra, NERC, and Dr Kath Baldock from Bristol University entitled: Knowledge Exchange: urban grassland management and creating space for pollinators.  As well as doing a short talk which contextualised the current scientific knowledge on urban pollinators, I facilitated one of the breakout discussion sessions.

The workshop was very well attended with some 50 delegates from a wide range of organisations, including local and national authorities, businesses, NGOs, and universities.  Feedback from those delegates was generally positive and most people learned something about managing urban settings for pollinators, and made some useful connections.  I certainly learned a lot: it’s good to get out of academia sometimes and talk with practitioners.

If you follow this link you’ll find a PDF of the summary from the facilitated sessions, covering topics such as grassland and verge management, the urban edgeland, innovative projects, and green infrastructure.

Over at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s blog, Sam Page has a very nice summary of the whole day which is also worth reading:  Trials and tribulations of managing urban grasslands for pollinators.

Many thanks to all of the organisers for their work in putting on this event.

3 Comments

Filed under Bees, Biodiversity, Butterflies, Ecosystem services, Gardens, Honey bees, Hoverflies, Pollination, Urban biodiversity

Research is Writing is Research is Writing is Research

“this is an interesting approach because it collapses the distinction between doing ‘research’ and writing ‘it’ up”

For years I’ve tried to impress this idea upon my PhD students and postdocs, that writing IS part of the research, and that “writing up” research is, at best, an inaccurate way of describing the process, even in the sciences. It’s had mixed success because it’s a difficult message to get across until they experience it for themselves and appreciate the importance of writing as they go along, even if much of what they write doesn’t end up in the thesis or research paper.

The quote comes from a recent post on Stuart Elden’s Progressive Geographies blog, and he in turn highlights a post by Raul Pacheco-Vega called “What counts as academic writing?”  Both are well worth reading, though Pacheco-Vega’s discipline of writing for two hours every day certainly won’t suit everyone (myself included).

 

5 Comments

Filed under Biodiversity

Bumblebee Working Group meeting – University of Sussex – 30th March

Bombus hypnorum

It’s been three years since the last meeting of the semi-formal Bumblebee Working Group, which I hosted at the University of Northampton, and British Bombus researchers  are eagerly looking forward to the next one which is being organised by Professor Dave Goulson at the University of Sussex on 30th March.  There is no charge and if anyone with an interest in bumblebees wishes to attend, please contact Dave.

Here’s the programme for the day, which starts at 10am and finishes at 4.30pm:

Goulson, Dave – Welcome

Williams, Paul  – Bumblebees of extreme environments

Alger, Samantha – RNA viruses in Vermont bumblebees

COFFEE BREAK

Baron, Gemma – Impacts of a neonicotinoid pesticide on colony founding bumblebee queens

Becher, Matthias Bumble – BEEHAVE: using bumblebee colony models as a conservation management tool in agricultural landscapes

Breeze, Tom – Knowledge gaps for effectively valuing pollination services

Cresswell, James – New European Union protocols for testing the toxicological impacts of agro-chemicals on bees

Crowther, Liam – Inferring invertebrate dispersal distances from biological records

LUNCH

Rotheray, Ellie – Quantification of the floral landscape in agro-ecosystems and its effect on bumblebee colonies

Nicholls, Beth – Pesticides in rural and urban bumblebee nests

Benton, Ted – Status of the BAP carders in Essex

Ollerton, Jeff – Exceptional urban nest density of the Tree Bumblebee Bombus hypnorum during summer 2014

SHORT BREAK

Raine, Katherine – Chernobyl bumblebees: Understanding fitness consequences of living in the exclusion zone

Jackson, Laurie  – B-lines

Gammans, Nikki – An update on the progress of reintroducing the short-haired bumblebee, Bombus subterraneus 

CLOSE

6 Comments

Filed under Bees, Biodiversity, Ecosystem services, Pollination, University of Northampton

The integration of alien plants in mutualistic plant–hummingbird networks – a new study by Maruyama et al. (2016)

The collaborations with researchers in Brazil and Denmark in which I’ve been involved in recent years, focused particularly on hummingbirds and networks of plant pollinator interactions, have been very productive, most recently seen in a study of the effects of hummingbird feeders on diversity and abundance of the birds.

This collaboration continues with a new study that has just been published in the journal Diversity and Distributions which deals with the way in which non-native plant species are exploited by assemblages of hummingbirds in the New World.  Here’s the abstract:

 

Aim:  To investigate the role of alien plants in mutualistic plant–hummingbird networks, assessing the importance of species traits, floral abundance and insularity on alien plant integration.

Location: Mainland and insular Americas.

Methods: We used species-level network indices to assess the role of alien plants in 21 quantitative plant–hummingbird networks where alien plants occur. We then evaluated whether plant traits, including previous adaptations to bird pollination, and insularity predict these network roles. Additionally, for a subset of networks for which floral abundance data were available, we tested whether this relates to network roles. Finally, we tested the association between hummingbird traits and the probability of interaction with alien plants across the networks.

Results: Within the 21 networks, we identified 32 alien plant species and 352 native plant species. On average, alien plant species attracted more hummingbird species (i.e. aliens had a higher degree) and had a higher proportion of interactions across their hummingbird visitors than native plants (i.e. aliens had a higher species strength). At the same time, an average alien plant was visited more exclusively by certain hummingbird species (i.e. had a higher level of complementary specialization). Large alien plants and those occurring on islands had more evenly distributed interactions, thereby acting as connectors. Other evaluated plant traits and floral abundance were unimportant predictors of network roles. Short-billed hummingbirds had higher probability of including alien plants in their interactions than long-billed species.

Main conclusions: Once incorporated into plant-hummingbird networks, alien plants appear strongly integrated and, thus, may have a large influence on network dynamics. Plant traits and floral abundance were generally poor predictors of how well alien species are integrated. Short-billed hummingbirds, often characterized as functionally generalized pollinators, facilitate the integration of alien plants. Our results show that plant–hummingbird networks are open for invasion.

 

The full reference is: Maruyama, P.K. et al. (2016) The integration of alien plants in mutualistic plant–hummingbird networks across the Americas: the importance of species traits and insularity.  Diversity and Distributions (in press).

Happy to send a PDF to anyone who would like one.

1 Comment

Filed under Biodiversity, Biogeography, Birds, Brazil, Pollination