Oklahoma Farm Report masthead graphic with wheat on the left and cattle on the right.
Howdy Neighbors!
Ron Hays, Director of Farm and Ranch Programming, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network  |  2401 Exchange Ave, Suite F, Oklahoma City, Ok 73108  |  (405) 601-9211

advertisements
   
   
   
   
   
   

Agricultural News


Bee It Known: Biodiversity Is Critical to Ecosystems

Tue, 13 Sep 2022 08:51:49 CDT

Bee It Known: Biodiversity Is Critical to Ecosystems Rutgers has conducted the first study showing how many more species of bees are needed to maintain crop yields when a longer-term time frame is considered.

In the paper, which was recently published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, scientists said biodiversity of the bee population is critical to maintaining the ecosystem function of crop pollination, which is critical to humanity’s food supply.

“We found that biodiversity plays a key role in the stability of ecosystems over time,” said Natalie Lemanski, lead author on the study and a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS). “You do actually need more bee species in order to get stable pollination services over a growing season and over years.”

The team on the study focused on various populations of bees at dozens of farms in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California and found that many more bee species were not only needed for pollination than expected over an entire flowering season, but even more were needed over multiple years.

The researchers said they discovered different bee species pollinated the same types of plants at different times of the year. They also found that different bee species were the dominant pollinators on the same kind of plants in different years. Because of natural fluctuations in bee populations, researchers said, all bee species present were needed to maintain a minimum threshold of pollination during lean years.

“This research shows that abundance matters, but bee diversity matters even more,” said Michelle Elekonich, the deputy division director of the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Biological Sciences, which funded the study. “It’s not the same bees that are abundant at a given point in time, and variety is necessary to provide balance during a growing season – and from year to year.”

Lemanski said the study offers substantiation to a long-standing concept ecologists refer to as the “insurance hypothesis.” The idea is that ecosystems probably benefit when nature “diversifies the portfolio,” supporting multiple species of a category of a plant or animal, rather than relying on one dominant species.

“We found that two to three times as many bee species were needed to meet a target level of crop pollination over the course of a growing season compared to a single date,” Lemanski said. “Similarly, twice as many species were needed to provide pollination over the course of six years compared to a single year.”

The researchers based their analysis on their own extensive observations of bee visits to flowers and measurements of the quantity of pollen grains deposited on individual flowers over weeks and months within a given calendar year and then over multiple years. They collected the data, with permission of farmers, at 16 blueberry farms in South Jersey, at 25 watermelon farms in Central Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania and at 36 watermelon farms in the Northern Central Valley of California.

“The magnitude of increase in species needed over multiple years was remarkably consistent among crop systems when considered over the same interval of time,” Lemanski said. “In addition, the fact that the relationship between timescale and the number of species needed did not level off suggests that even longer time series, spanning multiple seasons, may further bolster the need for biodiversity to ensure reliable ecosystem service.”

Rachael Winfree, a professor in the Rutgers Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources at SEBS, was the senior author on the paper, which was also written in collaboration with Neal Williams of the University of California-Davis. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.



   

 

WebReadyTM Powered by WireReady® NSI

 


Top Agricultural News

  • BASF's First Bale of Cotton Helps Raise Money for Scholarship  Fri, 30 Sep 2022 10:12:04 CDT
  • Korean Grain Importers to View U.S. Corn Crop Firsthand Across Four States Ahead of Export Exchange 2022  Fri, 30 Sep 2022 09:40:41 CDT
  • Oklahoma Congressional Delegation Honored with Friend of Farm Bureau Awards   Fri, 30 Sep 2022 09:37:41 CDT
  • Fire Weather inputs will become Stronger with elevated Fire Weather moving into the mix through the Weekend  Fri, 30 Sep 2022 09:25:12 CDT
  • Federal Disaster Programs Available to Aid Producers in Forage Loss and Transportation   Fri, 30 Sep 2022 08:53:13 CDT
  • Dr. Kim Anderson Talks Factors Impacting Commodity Markets This Week  Fri, 30 Sep 2022 08:46:47 CDT
  • Legislature allocates $250 million from PREP fund to fuel economic development throughout rural Oklahoma   Fri, 30 Sep 2022 08:44:33 CDT
  • NMPF Statement on the Bulk Infant Formula to Retail Shelves Act  Fri, 30 Sep 2022 08:33:59 CDT

  • More Headlines...

       

    Ron salutes our daily email sponsors!

    Oklahoma Beef council Oklahoma Ag Credit Oklahoma Farm Bureau National Livestock Credit Ag Mediation Program P&K Equipment Oklahoma City Farm Show Union Mutual Stillwater Milling Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association KIS FUTURES, INC.
       

       

    Search OklahomaFarmReport.com

    © 2008-2022 Oklahoma Farm Report
    Email Ron   |   Newsletter Signup   |    Current Spots   |    Program Links

    WebReady powered by WireReady® Inc.