The Research Retinue is a new segment on PolliNation that goes into depth on research papers that have been recently featured in the news. The Retinue is made up of intrepid OSU undergraduates and this week involved Addison DeBoer (Biology), Lacy Haig (Zoology), Umayyah Wright (Environmental Science), Isabella Messer (Horticulture). They take up the question of the conservation implications of honey bees by examining two papers published in top research journals last month that take up this question from different angles.
Listen in to learn more about how honey bees affect global regions, which pollinators are the most effective, and how studies could improve their research.
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“Even if [honey bees] could [do the job of all the other pollinators combined], would we want them to? Because then we’d be missing out on all of the ecological variation of the other species.“ – Umayyah Wright
- How the honey bee contributes to pollination of wild plant communities worldwide
- Why honey bee contributions to wild plant pollination can change due to many different environmental factors
- How effective a pollinator the honey bee is in comparison to other bees
- Why a pollinator’s native region is so important in it’s local ecosystem
- Why simply pollinating plants is not the entire goal of pollinator protection
- What is the most important trait of pollinators for conservation
- Why these studies were useful, and what they need to improve
- What the Research Retinue would like to see in the future for pollinator studies
- Are their risks associated with beekeeping in sensitive areas
- How different programs are taking steps to help home gardeners benefit the pollinator population
- What home gardeners can do to help local pollinators flourish
“In the fight for bee conservation, we shouldn’t be focusing on honey bees because that’s an agricultural and economic issue, not a conservation issue.” – Isabella Messer
- Learn more about the research papers in this episode:
- Hung, Keng-Lou James, Jennifer M. Kingston, Matthias Albrecht, David A. Holway, and Joshua R. Kohn. (2018) The worldwide importance of honey bees as pollinators in natural habitats. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 285:1870 p 20172140.
- Geldmann, Jonas, and Juan P. González-Varo (2018) Conserving honey bees does not help wildlife. Science 359:6374 (2018):392-393.
- Read news articles featuring these papers:
- Find out more about the OSU Garden Ecology Lab