For weeks now I’ve been meaning to post some links to pollinator-related items that have caught my eye, but have only just found time to pull them together, hence some of these are a little dated but should still be of interest:
- After six years as an Academic Editor for the open-access journal PloS ONE I’ve stepped down due to too many pressures on my time. The last paper that I handled has just been published and it’s a study of a fairly neglected group of pollinators: Does a Species’ Extinction–Proneness Predict Its Contribution to Nestedness? A Test Using a Sunbird-Tree Visitation Network. There’s been far less research done on sunbirds compared to their New World counterparts the hummingbirds, so lots of scope for new findings.
- By pure coincidence Hazel Chapman (the senior author of that paper) came to Northampton a few weeks ago to give a seminar about her Nigerian Montane Forest Project which is well worth checking out and which, in the future, will have a large pollinator focus.
- The Journal of Pollination Ecology (where I remain an editor) has a new volume out – it’s open access and has some really nice papers – here’s the link.
- There’s been a few stories doing the rounds about robot pollinators and how they are going to replace insects. It’s all nonsense, of course, and in a recent blog post Dave Goulson nails the arguments very well – see: Are robotic bees the future? [spoiler alert – the answer’s “No”]. Likewise, over on her blog, Manu Saunders opines that: “Artificial pollinators are cool, but not the solution“. What the technologists who are promoting these ideas, and related concepts around the “Internet of Things”, don’t seem to get is that all of this tech has environmental costs associated with it: resource/pollution costs for making it; energy costs for using it; and disposal/pollution costs when it reaches the end of its life. Applying a green wash of “let’s use drones for pollinating flowers” doesn’t make the tech any more environmentally sustainable, quite the opposite. Sorry, rant over…
- Ben Geslin and colleagues have written an interesting review in Advances in Ecological Research called “Massively Introduced Managed Species and Their Consequences for Plant–Pollinator Interactions” that focuses on both mass-flowering crop plants (e.g. oil seed rape) and domesticated, highly abundant pollinators such as honey bees, and what their increase might mean for natural communities of plants and pollinators, particularly in sensitive environments such as oceanic islands.
- There’s a guitar effects pedal called the Pollinator – from the review: “The Pollinator is a living thing, sensitive to its environment and surroundings, and it becomes an extension of the guitarist playing it.” Quite.
- Nine species of bee in the genus Perdita that are new to science have been described from localities in the the southwestern USA. Here’s a link to a lovely video that shows these bees, their distinguishing features, and how they were named (mainly for characters from Shakespeare’s plays). Not very impressed with the snarky “if scientists had bothered to look” title of the article though.
- Finally, a new citizen science project has been launched designed to understand how hoverflies evolve mimicry of bees and wasps – looks interesting, please take part – here’s the link. Just be aware, it’s a bit addictive!
As always, feel free to suggest links to items you found of interest.