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Sample records for pollinators increases crop

  1. Experimental evidence that wildflower strips increase pollinator visits to crops

    PubMed Central

    Feltham, Hannah; Park, Kirsty; Minderman, Jeroen; Goulson, Dave

    2015-01-01

    Wild bees provide a free and potentially diverse ecosystem service to farmers growing pollination-dependent crops. While many crops benefit from insect pollination, soft fruit crops, including strawberries are highly dependent on this ecosystem service to produce viable fruit. However, as a result of intensive farming practices and declining pollinator populations, farmers are increasingly turning to commercially reared bees to ensure that crops are adequately pollinated throughout the season. Wildflower strips are a commonly used measure aimed at the conservation of wild pollinators. It has been suggested that commercial crops may also benefit from the presence of noncrop flowers; however, the efficacy and economic benefits of sowing flower strips for crops remain relatively unstudied. In a study system that utilizes both wild and commercial pollinators, we test whether wildflower strips increase the number of visits to adjacent commercial strawberry crops by pollinating insects. We quantified this by experimentally sowing wildflower strips approximately 20 meters away from the crop and recording the number of pollinator visits to crops with, and without, flower strips. Between June and August 2013, we walked 292 crop transects at six farms in Scotland, recording a total of 2826 pollinators. On average, the frequency of pollinator visits was 25% higher for crops with adjacent flower strips compared to those without, with a combination of wild and commercial bumblebees (Bombus spp.) accounting for 67% of all pollinators observed. This effect was independent of other confounding effects, such as the number of flowers on the crop, date, and temperature. Synthesis and applications. This study provides evidence that soft fruit farmers can increase the number of pollinators that visit their crops by sowing inexpensive flower seed mixes nearby. By investing in this management option, farmers have the potential to increase and sustain pollinator populations over time

  2. Long-term global trends in crop yield and production reveal no current pollination shortage but increasing pollinator dependency.

    PubMed

    Aizen, Marcelo A; Garibaldi, Lucas A; Cunningham, Saul A; Klein, Alexandra M

    2008-10-28

    There is evidence that pollinators are declining as a result of local and global environmental degradation [1-4]. Because a sizable proportion of the human diet depends directly or indirectly on animal pollination [5], the issue of how decreases in pollinator stocks could affect global crop production is of paramount importance [6-8]. Using the extensive FAO data set [9], we compared 45 year series (1961-2006) in yield, and total production and cultivated area of pollinator-dependent and nondependent crops [5]. We investigated temporal trends separately for the developed and developing world because differences in agricultural intensification, and socioeconomic and environmental conditions might affect yield and pollinators [10-13]. Since 1961, crop yield (Mt/ha) has increased consistently at average annual growth rates of approximately 1.5%. Temporal trends were similar between pollinator-dependent and nondependent crops in both the developed and developing world, thus not supporting the view that pollinator shortages are affecting crop yield at the global scale. We further report, however, that agriculture has become more pollinator dependent because of a disproportionate increase in the area cultivated with pollinator-dependent crops. If the trend toward favoring cultivation of pollinator-dependent crops continues, the need for the service provided by declining pollinators will greatly increase in the near future.

  3. Synergistic interactions of ecosystem services: florivorous pest control boosts crop yield increase through insect pollination

    PubMed Central

    Albrecht, Matthias

    2016-01-01

    Insect pollination and pest control are pivotal functions sustaining global food production. However, they have mostly been studied in isolation and how they interactively shape crop yield remains largely unexplored. Using controlled field experiments, we found strong synergistic effects of insect pollination and simulated pest control on yield quantity and quality. Their joint effect increased yield by 23%, with synergistic effects contributing 10%, while their single contributions were 7% and 6%, respectively. The potential economic benefit for a farmer from the synergistic effects (12%) was 1.8 times greater than their individual contributions (7% each). We show that the principal underlying mechanism was a pronounced pest-induced reduction in flower lifetime, resulting in a strong reduction in the number of pollinator visits a flower receives during its lifetime. Our findings highlight the importance of non-additive interactions among ecosystem services (ES) when valuating, mapping or predicting them and reveal fundamental implications for ecosystem management and policy aimed at maximizing ES for sustainable agriculture. PMID:26865304

  4. A heterogeneous landscape does not guarantee high crop pollination

    PubMed Central

    Hambäck, Peter A.; Lemessa, Debissa; Nemomissa, Sileshi; Hylander, Kristoffer

    2016-01-01

    The expansion of pollinator-dependent crops, especially in the developing world, together with reports of worldwide pollinator declines, raises concern of possible yield gaps. Farmers directly reliant on pollination services for food supply often live in regions where our knowledge of pollination services is poor. In a manipulative experiment replicated at 23 sites across an Ethiopian agricultural landscape, we found poor pollination services and severe pollen limitation in a common oil crop. With supplementary pollination, the yield increased on average by 91%. Despite the heterogeneous agricultural matrix, we found a low bee abundance, which may explain poor pollination services. The variation in pollen limitation was unrelated to surrounding forest cover, local bee richness and bee abundance. While practices that commonly increase pollinators (restricted pesticide use, flower strips) are an integral part of the landscape, these elements are apparently insufficient. Management to increase pollination services is therefore in need of urgent investigation. PMID:27629036

  5. Pollinator shortage and global crop yield

    PubMed Central

    Aizen, Marcelo A; Cunningham, Saul A; Klein, Alexandra M

    2009-01-01

    A pollinator decline caused by environmental degradation might be compromising the production of pollinator-dependent crops. In a recent article, we compared 45 year series (1961–2006) in yield, production and cultivated area of pollinator-dependent and nondependent crop around the world. If pollinator shortage is occurring globally, we expected a lower annual growth rate in yield for pollinator-dependent than nondependent crops, but a higher growth in cultivated area to compensate the lower yield. We have found little evidence for the first “yield” prediction but strong evidence for the second “area” prediction. Here, we present an additional analysis to show that the first and second predictions are both supported for crops that vary in dependency levels from nondependent to moderate dependence (i.e., up to 65% average yield reduction without pollinators). However, those crops for which animal pollination is essential (i.e., 95% average yield reduction without pollinators) showed higher growth in yield and lower expansion in area than expected in a pollination shortage scenario. We propose that pollination management for highly pollinator-dependent crops, such us renting hives or hand pollination, might have compensated for pollinator limitation of yield. PMID:19704865

  6. Bee pollination improves crop quality, shelf life and commercial value.

    PubMed

    Klatt, Björn K; Holzschuh, Andrea; Westphal, Catrin; Clough, Yann; Smit, Inga; Pawelzik, Elke; Tscharntke, Teja

    2014-01-22

    Pollination improves the yield of most crop species and contributes to one-third of global crop production, but comprehensive benefits including crop quality are still unknown. Hence, pollination is underestimated by international policies, which is particularly alarming in times of agricultural intensification and diminishing pollination services. In this study, exclusion experiments with strawberries showed bee pollination to improve fruit quality, quantity and market value compared with wind and self-pollination. Bee-pollinated fruits were heavier, had less malformations and reached higher commercial grades. They had increased redness and reduced sugar-acid-ratios and were firmer, thus improving the commercially important shelf life. Longer shelf life reduced fruit loss by at least 11%. This is accounting for 0.32 billion US$ of the 1.44 billion US$ provided by bee pollination to the total value of 2.90 billion US$ made with strawberry selling in the European Union 2009. The fruit quality and yield effects are driven by the pollination-mediated production of hormonal growth regulators, which occur in several pollination-dependent crops. Thus, our comprehensive findings should be transferable to a wide range of crops and demonstrate bee pollination to be a hitherto underestimated but vital and economically important determinant of fruit quality.

  7. Landscape effects on crop pollination services: are there general patterns?

    PubMed

    Ricketts, Taylor H; Regetz, James; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Cunningham, Saul A; Kremen, Claire; Bogdanski, Anne; Gemmill-Herren, Barbara; Greenleaf, Sarah S; Klein, Alexandra M; Mayfield, Margaret M; Morandin, Lora A; Ochieng', Alfred; Potts, Simon G; Viana, Blande F

    2008-05-01

    Pollination by bees and other animals increases the size, quality, or stability of harvests for 70% of leading global crops. Because native species pollinate many of these crops effectively, conserving habitats for wild pollinators within agricultural landscapes can help maintain pollination services. Using hierarchical Bayesian techniques, we synthesize the results of 23 studies - representing 16 crops on five continents - to estimate the general relationship between pollination services and distance from natural or semi-natural habitats. We find strong exponential declines in both pollinator richness and native visitation rate. Visitation rate declines more steeply, dropping to half of its maximum at 0.6 km from natural habitat, compared to 1.5 km for richness. Evidence of general decline in fruit and seed set - variables that directly affect yields - is less clear. Visitation rate drops more steeply in tropical compared with temperate regions, and slightly more steeply for social compared with solitary bees. Tropical crops pollinated primarily by social bees may therefore be most susceptible to pollination failure from habitat loss. Quantifying these general relationships can help predict consequences of land use change on pollinator communities and crop productivity, and can inform landscape conservation efforts that balance the needs of native species and people.

  8. Expansion of mass-flowering crops leads to transient pollinator dilution and reduced wild plant pollination.

    PubMed

    Holzschuh, Andrea; Dormann, Carsten F; Tscharntke, Teja; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf

    2011-11-22

    Agricultural land use results in direct biodiversity decline through loss of natural habitat, but may also cause indirect cross-habitat effects on conservation areas. We conducted three landscape-scale field studies on 67 sites to test the hypothesis that mass flowering of oilseed rape (Brassica napus) results in a transient dilution of bees in crop fields, and in increased competition between crop plants and grassland plants for pollinators. Abundances of bumble-bees, which are the main pollinators of the grassland plant Primula veris, but also pollinate oilseed rape (OSR), decreased with increasing amount of OSR. This landscape-scale dilution affected bumble-bee abundances strongly in OSR fields and marginally in grasslands, where bumble-bee abundances were generally low at the time of Primula flowering. Seed set of Primula veris, which flowers during OSR bloom, was reduced by 20 per cent when the amount of OSR within 1 km radius increased from 0 to 15 per cent. Hence, the current expansion of bee-attractive biofuel crops results in transient dilution of crop pollinators, which means an increased competition for pollinators between crops and wild plants. In conclusion, mass-flowering crops potentially threaten fitness of concurrently flowering wild plants in conservation areas, despite the fact that, in the long run, mass-flowering crops can enhance abundances of generalist pollinators and their pollination service.

  9. The identity of crop pollinators helps target conservation for improved ecosystem services☆

    PubMed Central

    Garratt, M.P.D.; Coston, D.J.; Truslove, C.L.; Lappage, M.G.; Polce, C.; Dean, R.; Biesmeijer, J.C.; Potts, S.G.

    2014-01-01

    Insect pollinated mass flowering crops are becoming more widespread and there is a need to understand which insects are primarily responsible for the pollination of these crops so conservation measures can be appropriately targeted in the face of pollinator declines. This study used field surveys in conjunction with cage manipulations to identify the relative contributions of different pollinator taxa to the pollination of two widespread flowering crops, field beans and oilseed rape. Flower visiting pollinator communities observed in the field were distinct for each crop; while field beans were visited primarily by a few bumblebee species, multiple pollinator taxa visited oilseed, and the composition of this pollinator community was highly variable spatially and temporally. Neither pollinator community, however, appears to be meeting the demands of crops in our study regions. Cage manipulations showed that multiple taxa can effectively pollinate both oilseed and field beans, but bumblebees are particularly effective bean pollinators. Combining field observations and cage manipulations demonstrated that the pollination demands of these two mass flowering crops are highly contrasting, one would benefit from management to increase the abundance of some key taxa, whilst for the other, boosting overall pollinator abundance and diversity would be more appropriate. Our findings highlight the need for crop specific mitigation strategies that are targeted at conserving specific pollinator taxa (or group of taxa) that are both active and capable of crop pollination in order to reduce pollination deficits and meet the demands of future crop production. PMID:24696525

  10. Increased pollinator habitat enhances cacao fruit set and predator conservation.

    PubMed

    Forbes, Samantha J; Northfield, Tobin D

    2017-04-01

    The unique benefits of wild pollinators to the productivity of agricultural crops have become increasingly recognized in recent decades. However, declines in populations of wild pollinator species, largely driven by the conversion of natural habitat to agricultural land and broad-spectrum pesticide use often lead reductions in the provision of pollination services and crop production. With growing evidence that targeted pollinator conservation improves crop yield and/or quality, particularly for pollination specialist crops, efforts are increasing to substitute agriculturally intensive practices with those that alleviate some of the negative impacts of agriculture on pollinators and the pollination services they provide, in part through the provision of suitable pollinator habitat. Further, similarities between the responses of some pollinators and predators to habitat management suggest that efforts to conserve pollinators may also encourage predator densities. We evaluated the effects of one habitat management practice, the addition of cacao fruit husks to a monoculture cacao farm, on the provision of pollination services and the densities of two groups of entomophagous predators. We also evaluated the impacts of cacao fruit husk addition on pollen limitation, by crossing this habitat manipulation with pollen supplementation treatments. The addition of cacao fruit husks increased the number of fruits per tree and along with hand pollination treatments, increased final yields indicating a promotion of the pollination ecosystem service provided by the specialist pollinators, midges. We also found that cacao fruit husk addition increased the densities of two predator groups, spiders and skinks. Further, the conservation of these predators did not inhibit pollination through pollinator capture or deterrence. The findings show that, with moderate habitat management, both pollinator and predator conservation can be compatible goals within a highly specialized plant-pollinator

  11. Insect pollinated crops, insect pollinators and US agriculture: trend analysis of aggregate data for the period 1992-2009.

    PubMed

    Calderone, Nicholas W

    2012-01-01

    In the US, the cultivated area (hectares) and production (tonnes) of crops that require or benefit from insect pollination (directly dependent crops: apples, almonds, blueberries, cucurbits, etc.) increased from 1992, the first year in this study, through 1999 and continued near those levels through 2009; aggregate yield (tonnes/hectare) remained unchanged. The value of directly dependent crops attributed to all insect pollination (2009 USD) decreased from $14.29 billion in 1996, the first year for value data in this study, to $10.69 billion in 2001, but increased thereafter, reaching $15.12 billion by 2009. The values attributed to honey bees and non-Apis pollinators followed similar patterns, reaching $11.68 billion and $3.44 billion, respectively, by 2009. The cultivated area of crops grown from seeds resulting from insect pollination (indirectly dependent crops: legume hays, carrots, onions, etc.) was stable from 1992 through 1999, but has since declined. Production of those crops also declined, albeit not as rapidly as the decline in cultivated area; this asymmetry was due to increases in aggregate yield. The value of indirectly dependent crops attributed to insect pollination declined from $15.45 billion in 1996 to $12.00 billion in 2004, but has since trended upward. The value of indirectly dependent crops attributed to honey bees and non-Apis pollinators, exclusive of alfalfa leafcutter bees, has declined since 1996 to $5.39 billion and $1.15 billion, respectively in 2009. The value of alfalfa hay attributed to alfalfa leafcutter bees ranged between $4.99 and $7.04 billion. Trend analysis demonstrates that US producers have a continued and significant need for insect pollinators and that a diminution in managed or wild pollinator populations could seriously threaten the continued production of insect pollinated crops and crops grown from seeds resulting from insect pollination.

  12. Importance of pollinators in changing landscapes for world crops

    PubMed Central

    Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Vaissière, Bernard E; Cane, James H; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Cunningham, Saul A; Kremen, Claire; Tscharntke, Teja

    2006-01-01

    The extent of our reliance on animal pollination for world crop production for human food has not previously been evaluated and the previous estimates for countries or continents have seldom used primary data. In this review, we expand the previous estimates using novel primary data from 200 countries and found that fruit, vegetable or seed production from 87 of the leading global food crops is dependent upon animal pollination, while 28 crops do not rely upon animal pollination. However, global production volumes give a contrasting perspective, since 60% of global production comes from crops that do not depend on animal pollination, 35% from crops that depend on pollinators, and 5% are unevaluated. Using all crops traded on the world market and setting aside crops that are solely passively self-pollinated, wind-pollinated or parthenocarpic, we then evaluated the level of dependence on animal-mediated pollination for crops that are directly consumed by humans. We found that pollinators are essential for 13 crops, production is highly pollinator dependent for 30, moderately for 27, slightly for 21, unimportant for 7, and is of unknown significance for the remaining 9. We further evaluated whether local and landscape-wide management for natural pollination services could help to sustain crop diversity and production. Case studies for nine crops on four continents revealed that agricultural intensification jeopardizes wild bee communities and their stabilizing effect on pollination services at the landscape scale. PMID:17164193

  13. Pollinator shortage and global crop yield: Looking at the whole spectrum of pollinator dependency.

    PubMed

    Garibaldi, Lucas A; Aizen, Marcelo A; Cunningham, Saul A; Klein, Alexandra M

    2009-01-01

    A pollinator decline caused by environmental degradation might be compromising the production of pollinator-dependent crops. In a recent article, we compared 45 year series (1961-2006) in yield, production and cultivated area of pollinator-dependent and nondependent crop around the world. If pollinator shortage is occurring globally, we expected a lower annual growth rate in yield for pollinator-dependent than nondependent crops, but a higher growth in cultivated area to compensate the lower yield. We have found little evidence for the first "yield" prediction but strong evidence for the second "area" prediction. Here, we present an additional analysis to show that the first and second predictions are both supported for crops that vary in dependency levels from nondependent to moderate dependence (i.e., up to 65% average yield reduction without pollinators). However, those crops for which animal pollination is essential (i.e., 95% average yield reduction without pollinators) showed higher growth in yield and lower expansion in area than expected in a pollination shortage scenario. We propose that pollination management for highly pollinator-dependent crops, such us renting hives or hand pollination, might have compensated for pollinator limitation of yield.

  14. Native bees buffer the negative impact of climate warming on honey bee pollination of watermelon crops.

    PubMed

    Rader, Romina; Reilly, James; Bartomeus, Ignasi; Winfree, Rachael

    2013-10-01

    If climate change affects pollinator-dependent crop production, this will have important implications for global food security because insect pollinators contribute to production for 75% of the leading global food crops. We investigate whether climate warming could result in indirect impacts upon crop pollination services via an overlooked mechanism, namely temperature-induced shifts in the diurnal activity patterns of pollinators. Using a large data set on bee pollination of watermelon crops, we predict how pollination services might change under various climate change scenarios. Our results show that under the most extreme IPCC scenario (A1F1), pollination services by managed honey bees are expected to decline by 14.5%, whereas pollination services provided by most native, wild taxa are predicted to increase, resulting in an estimated aggregate change in pollination services of +4.5% by 2099. We demonstrate the importance of native biodiversity in buffering the impacts of climate change, because crop pollination services would decline more steeply without the native, wild pollinators. More generally, our study provides an important example of how biodiversity can stabilize ecosystem services against environmental change.

  15. Using pennycress, camelina, and canola cash crops to provision pollinators

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    As pollinator decline continues, the need to provide high value forage for insects continues to rise. Finding agricultural crops to diversify the landscape and provide forage is one way to improve pollinator health. Three winter industrial oilseed crops (pennycress, winter camelina, and winter canol...

  16. Temporally dependent pollinator competition and facilitation with mass flowering crops affects yield in co-blooming crops

    PubMed Central

    Grab, Heather; Blitzer, Eleanor J.; Danforth, Bryan; Loeb, Greg; Poveda, Katja

    2017-01-01

    One of the greatest challenges in sustainable agricultural production is managing ecosystem services, such as pollination, in ways that maximize crop yields. Most efforts to increase services by wild pollinators focus on management of natural habitats surrounding farms or non-crop habitats within farms. However, mass flowering crops create resource pulses that may be important determinants of pollinator dynamics. Mass bloom attracts pollinators and it is unclear how this affects the pollination and yields of other co-blooming crops. We investigated the effects of mass flowering apple on the pollinator community and yield of co-blooming strawberry on farms spanning a gradient in cover of apple orchards in the landscape. The effect of mass flowering apple on strawberry was dependent on the stage of apple bloom. During early and peak apple bloom, pollinator abundance and yield were reduced in landscapes with high cover of apple orchards. Following peak apple bloom, pollinator abundance was greater on farms with high apple cover and corresponded with increased yields on these farms. Spatial and temporal overlap between mass flowering and co-blooming crops alters the strength and direction of these dynamics and suggests that yields can be optimized by designing agricultural systems that avoid competition while maximizing facilitation. PMID:28345653

  17. Mass-flowering crops dilute pollinator abundance in agricultural landscapes across Europe.

    PubMed

    Holzschuh, Andrea; Dainese, Matteo; González-Varo, Juan P; Mudri-Stojnić, Sonja; Riedinger, Verena; Rundlöf, Maj; Scheper, Jeroen; Wickens, Jennifer B; Wickens, Victoria J; Bommarco, Riccardo; Kleijn, David; Potts, Simon G; Roberts, Stuart P M; Smith, Henrik G; Vilà, Montserrat; Vujić, Ante; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf

    2016-10-01

    Mass-flowering crops (MFCs) are increasingly cultivated and might influence pollinator communities in MFC fields and nearby semi-natural habitats (SNHs). Across six European regions and 2 years, we assessed how landscape-scale cover of MFCs affected pollinator densities in 408 MFC fields and adjacent SNHs. In MFC fields, densities of bumblebees, solitary bees, managed honeybees and hoverflies were negatively related to the cover of MFCs in the landscape. In SNHs, densities of bumblebees declined with increasing cover of MFCs but densities of honeybees increased. The densities of all pollinators were generally unrelated to the cover of SNHs in the landscape. Although MFC fields apparently attracted pollinators from SNHs, in landscapes with large areas of MFCs they became diluted. The resulting lower densities might negatively affect yields of pollinator-dependent crops and the reproductive success of wild plants. An expansion of MFCs needs to be accompanied by pollinator-supporting practices in agricultural landscapes.

  18. Neonicotinoid pesticide exposure impairs crop pollination services provided by bumblebees

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stanley, Dara A.; Garratt, Michael P. D.; Wickens, Jennifer B.; Wickens, Victoria J.; Potts, Simon G.; Raine, Nigel E.

    2015-12-01

    Recent concern over global pollinator declines has led to considerable research on the effects of pesticides on bees. Although pesticides are typically not encountered at lethal levels in the field, there is growing evidence indicating that exposure to field-realistic levels can have sublethal effects on bees, affecting their foraging behaviour, homing ability and reproductive success. Bees are essential for the pollination of a wide variety of crops and the majority of wild flowering plants, but until now research on pesticide effects has been limited to direct effects on bees themselves and not on the pollination services they provide. Here we show the first evidence to our knowledge that pesticide exposure can reduce the pollination services bumblebees deliver to apples, a crop of global economic importance. Bumblebee colonies exposed to a neonicotinoid pesticide provided lower visitation rates to apple trees and collected pollen less often. Most importantly, these pesticide-exposed colonies produced apples containing fewer seeds, demonstrating a reduced delivery of pollination services. Our results also indicate that reduced pollination service delivery is not due to pesticide-induced changes in individual bee behaviour, but most likely due to effects at the colony level. These findings show that pesticide exposure can impair the ability of bees to provide pollination services, with important implications for both the sustained delivery of stable crop yields and the functioning of natural ecosystems.

  19. Neonicotinoid pesticide exposure impairs crop pollination services provided by bumblebees

    PubMed Central

    Stanley, Dara A.; Garratt, Michael P.D.; Wickens, Jennifer B.; Wickens, Victoria J.; Potts, Simon G.; Raine, Nigel E.

    2015-01-01

    Recent concern over global pollinator declines has led to considerable research on the effects of pesticides on bees1-5. Although pesticides are typically not encountered at lethal levels in the field, there is growing evidence indicating that exposure to field-realistic levels can have sub-lethal effects on bees affecting their foraging behaviour1,6,7, homing ability8,9 and reproductive success2,5. Bees are essential for the pollination of a wide variety of crops and the majority of wild flowering plants10-12, but until now research on pesticide impacts has been limited to direct effects on bees themselves and not on the pollination services they provide. Here we show the first evidence that pesticide exposure can reduce the pollination services bumblebees deliver to apples, a crop of global economic importance. Colonies exposed to a neonicotinoid pesticide provided lower visitation rates to apple trees and collected pollen less often. Most importantly these pesticide exposed colonies produced apples containing fewer seeds demonstrating a reduced delivery of pollination services. Our results also suggest reduced pollination service delivery is not due to pesticide-induced changes in individual bee behaviour but most likely due to impacts at the colony level. These findings show that pesticide exposure can impair the ability of bees to provide pollination services, with important implications for both the sustained delivery of stable crop yields and the function of natural ecosystems. PMID:26580009

  20. Neonicotinoid pesticide exposure impairs crop pollination services provided by bumblebees.

    PubMed

    Stanley, Dara A; Garratt, Michael P D; Wickens, Jennifer B; Wickens, Victoria J; Potts, Simon G; Raine, Nigel E

    2015-12-24

    Recent concern over global pollinator declines has led to considerable research on the effects of pesticides on bees. Although pesticides are typically not encountered at lethal levels in the field, there is growing evidence indicating that exposure to field-realistic levels can have sublethal effects on bees, affecting their foraging behaviour, homing ability and reproductive success. Bees are essential for the pollination of a wide variety of crops and the majority of wild flowering plants, but until now research on pesticide effects has been limited to direct effects on bees themselves and not on the pollination services they provide. Here we show the first evidence to our knowledge that pesticide exposure can reduce the pollination services bumblebees deliver to apples, a crop of global economic importance. Bumblebee colonies exposed to a neonicotinoid pesticide provided lower visitation rates to apple trees and collected pollen less often. Most importantly, these pesticide-exposed colonies produced apples containing fewer seeds, demonstrating a reduced delivery of pollination services. Our results also indicate that reduced pollination service delivery is not due to pesticide-induced changes in individual bee behaviour, but most likely due to effects at the colony level. These findings show that pesticide exposure can impair the ability of bees to provide pollination services, with important implications for both the sustained delivery of stable crop yields and the functioning of natural ecosystems.

  1. Delivery of crop pollination services is an insufficient argument for wild pollinator conservation.

    PubMed

    Kleijn, David; Winfree, Rachael; Bartomeus, Ignasi; Carvalheiro, Luísa G; Henry, Mickaël; Isaacs, Rufus; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Kremen, Claire; M'Gonigle, Leithen K; Rader, Romina; Ricketts, Taylor H; Williams, Neal M; Lee Adamson, Nancy; Ascher, John S; Báldi, András; Batáry, Péter; Benjamin, Faye; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C; Blitzer, Eleanor J; Bommarco, Riccardo; Brand, Mariëtte R; Bretagnolle, Vincent; Button, Lindsey; Cariveau, Daniel P; Chifflet, Rémy; Colville, Jonathan F; Danforth, Bryan N; Elle, Elizabeth; Garratt, Michael P D; Herzog, Felix; Holzschuh, Andrea; Howlett, Brad G; Jauker, Frank; Jha, Shalene; Knop, Eva; Krewenka, Kristin M; Le Féon, Violette; Mandelik, Yael; May, Emily A; Park, Mia G; Pisanty, Gideon; Reemer, Menno; Riedinger, Verena; Rollin, Orianne; Rundlöf, Maj; Sardiñas, Hillary S; Scheper, Jeroen; Sciligo, Amber R; Smith, Henrik G; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Thorp, Robbin; Tscharntke, Teja; Verhulst, Jort; Viana, Blandina F; Vaissière, Bernard E; Veldtman, Ruan; Ward, Kimiora L; Westphal, Catrin; Potts, Simon G

    2015-06-16

    There is compelling evidence that more diverse ecosystems deliver greater benefits to people, and these ecosystem services have become a key argument for biodiversity conservation. However, it is unclear how much biodiversity is needed to deliver ecosystem services in a cost-effective way. Here we show that, while the contribution of wild bees to crop production is significant, service delivery is restricted to a limited subset of all known bee species. Across crops, years and biogeographical regions, crop-visiting wild bee communities are dominated by a small number of common species, and threatened species are rarely observed on crops. Dominant crop pollinators persist under agricultural expansion and many are easily enhanced by simple conservation measures, suggesting that cost-effective management strategies to promote crop pollination should target a different set of species than management strategies to promote threatened bees. Conserving the biological diversity of bees therefore requires more than just ecosystem-service-based arguments.

  2. Delivery of crop pollination services is an insufficient argument for wild pollinator conservation

    PubMed Central

    Kleijn, David; Winfree, Rachael; Bartomeus, Ignasi; Carvalheiro, Luísa G; Henry, Mickaël; Isaacs, Rufus; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Kremen, Claire; M'Gonigle, Leithen K; Rader, Romina; Ricketts, Taylor H; Williams, Neal M; Lee Adamson, Nancy; Ascher, John S; Báldi, András; Batáry, Péter; Benjamin, Faye; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C; Blitzer, Eleanor J; Bommarco, Riccardo; Brand, Mariëtte R; Bretagnolle, Vincent; Button, Lindsey; Cariveau, Daniel P; Chifflet, Rémy; Colville, Jonathan F; Danforth, Bryan N; Elle, Elizabeth; Garratt, Michael P.D.; Herzog, Felix; Holzschuh, Andrea; Howlett, Brad G; Jauker, Frank; Jha, Shalene; Knop, Eva; Krewenka, Kristin M; Le Féon, Violette; Mandelik, Yael; May, Emily A; Park, Mia G; Pisanty, Gideon; Reemer, Menno; Riedinger, Verena; Rollin, Orianne; Rundlöf, Maj; Sardiñas, Hillary S; Scheper, Jeroen; Sciligo, Amber R; Smith, Henrik G; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Thorp, Robbin; Tscharntke, Teja; Verhulst, Jort; Viana, Blandina F; Vaissière, Bernard E; Veldtman, Ruan; Westphal, Catrin; Potts, Simon G

    2015-01-01

    There is compelling evidence that more diverse ecosystems deliver greater benefits to people, and these ecosystem services have become a key argument for biodiversity conservation. However, it is unclear how much biodiversity is needed to deliver ecosystem services in a cost-effective way. Here we show that, while the contribution of wild bees to crop production is significant, service delivery is restricted to a limited subset of all known bee species. Across crops, years and biogeographical regions, crop-visiting wild bee communities are dominated by a small number of common species, and threatened species are rarely observed on crops. Dominant crop pollinators persist under agricultural expansion and many are easily enhanced by simple conservation measures, suggesting that cost-effective management strategies to promote crop pollination should target a different set of species than management strategies to promote threatened bees. Conserving the biological diversity of bees therefore requires more than just ecosystem-service-based arguments. PMID:26079893

  3. Pollination services enhanced with urbanization despite increasing pollinator parasitism

    PubMed Central

    Radzevičiūtė, Rita; Murray, Tomás E.

    2016-01-01

    Animal-mediated pollination is required for the reproduction of the majority of angiosperms, and pollinators are therefore essential for ecosystem functioning and the economy. Two major threats to insect pollinators are anthropogenic land-use change and the spread of pathogens, whose effects may interact to impact pollination. Here, we investigated the relative effects on the ecosystem service of pollination of (i) land-use change brought on by agriculture and urbanization as well as (ii) the prevalence of pollinator parasites, using experimental insect pollinator-dependent plant species in natural pollinator communities. We found that pollinator habitat (i.e. availability of nesting resources for ground-nesting bees and local flower richness) was strongly related to flower visitation rates at the local scale and indirectly influenced plant pollination success. At the landscape scale, pollination was positively related to urbanization, both directly and indirectly via elevated visitation rates. Bumblebees were the most abundant pollinator group visiting experimental flowers. Prevalence of trypanosomatids, such as the common bumblebee parasite Crithidia bombi, was higher in urban compared with agricultural areas, a relationship which was mediated through higher Bombus abundance. Yet, we did not find any top-down, negative effects of bumblebee parasitism on pollination. We conclude that urban areas can be places of high transmission of both pollen and pathogens. PMID:27335419

  4. Climate-driven spatial mismatches between British orchards and their pollinators: increased risks of pollination deficits.

    PubMed

    Polce, Chiara; Garratt, Michael P; Termansen, Mette; Ramirez-Villegas, Julian; Challinor, Andrew J; Lappage, Martin G; Boatman, Nigel D; Crowe, Andrew; Endalew, Ayenew Melese; Potts, Simon G; Somerwill, Kate E; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C

    2014-09-01

    Understanding how climate change can affect crop-pollinator systems helps predict potential geographical mismatches between a crop and its pollinators, and therefore identify areas vulnerable to loss of pollination services. We examined the distribution of orchard species (apples, pears, plums and other top fruits) and their pollinators in Great Britain, for present and future climatic conditions projected for 2050 under the SRES A1B Emissions Scenario. We used a relative index of pollinator availability as a proxy for pollination service. At present, there is a large spatial overlap between orchards and their pollinators, but predictions for 2050 revealed that the most suitable areas for orchards corresponded to low pollinator availability. However, we found that pollinator availability may persist in areas currently used for fruit production, which are predicted to provide suboptimal environmental suitability for orchard species in the future. Our results may be used to identify mitigation options to safeguard orchard production against the risk of pollination failure in Great Britain over the next 50 years; for instance, choosing fruit tree varieties that are adapted to future climatic conditions, or boosting wild pollinators through improving landscape resources. Our approach can be readily applied to other regions and crop systems, and expanded to include different climatic scenarios.

  5. Climate-driven spatial mismatches between British orchards and their pollinators: increased risks of pollination deficits

    PubMed Central

    Polce, Chiara; Garratt, Michael P; Termansen, Mette; Ramirez-Villegas, Julian; Challinor, Andrew J; Lappage, Martin G; Boatman, Nigel D; Crowe, Andrew; Endalew, Ayenew Melese; Potts, Simon G; Somerwill, Kate E; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C

    2014-01-01

    Understanding how climate change can affect crop-pollinator systems helps predict potential geographical mismatches between a crop and its pollinators, and therefore identify areas vulnerable to loss of pollination services. We examined the distribution of orchard species (apples, pears, plums and other top fruits) and their pollinators in Great Britain, for present and future climatic conditions projected for 2050 under the SRES A1B Emissions Scenario. We used a relative index of pollinator availability as a proxy for pollination service. At present, there is a large spatial overlap between orchards and their pollinators, but predictions for 2050 revealed that the most suitable areas for orchards corresponded to low pollinator availability. However, we found that pollinator availability may persist in areas currently used for fruit production, which are predicted to provide suboptimal environmental suitability for orchard species in the future. Our results may be used to identify mitigation options to safeguard orchard production against the risk of pollination failure in Great Britain over the next 50 years; for instance, choosing fruit tree varieties that are adapted to future climatic conditions, or boosting wild pollinators through improving landscape resources. Our approach can be readily applied to other regions and crop systems, and expanded to include different climatic scenarios. PMID:24638986

  6. Non-bee insects are important contributors to global crop pollination.

    PubMed

    Rader, Romina; Bartomeus, Ignasi; Garibaldi, Lucas A; Garratt, Michael P D; Howlett, Brad G; Winfree, Rachael; Cunningham, Saul A; Mayfield, Margaret M; Arthur, Anthony D; Andersson, Georg K S; Bommarco, Riccardo; Brittain, Claire; Carvalheiro, Luísa G; Chacoff, Natacha P; Entling, Martin H; Foully, Benjamin; Freitas, Breno M; Gemmill-Herren, Barbara; Ghazoul, Jaboury; Griffin, Sean R; Gross, Caroline L; Herbertsson, Lina; Herzog, Felix; Hipólito, Juliana; Jaggar, Sue; Jauker, Frank; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Kleijn, David; Krishnan, Smitha; Lemos, Camila Q; Lindström, Sandra A M; Mandelik, Yael; Monteiro, Victor M; Nelson, Warrick; Nilsson, Lovisa; Pattemore, David E; Pereira, Natália de O; Pisanty, Gideon; Potts, Simon G; Reemer, Menno; Rundlöf, Maj; Sheffield, Cory S; Scheper, Jeroen; Schüepp, Christof; Smith, Henrik G; Stanley, Dara A; Stout, Jane C; Szentgyörgyi, Hajnalka; Taki, Hisatomo; Vergara, Carlos H; Viana, Blandina F; Woyciechowski, Michal

    2016-01-05

    Wild and managed bees are well documented as effective pollinators of global crops of economic importance. However, the contributions by pollinators other than bees have been little explored despite their potential to contribute to crop production and stability in the face of environmental change. Non-bee pollinators include flies, beetles, moths, butterflies, wasps, ants, birds, and bats, among others. Here we focus on non-bee insects and synthesize 39 field studies from five continents that directly measured the crop pollination services provided by non-bees, honey bees, and other bees to compare the relative contributions of these taxa. Non-bees performed 25-50% of the total number of flower visits. Although non-bees were less effective pollinators than bees per flower visit, they made more visits; thus these two factors compensated for each other, resulting in pollination services rendered by non-bees that were similar to those provided by bees. In the subset of studies that measured fruit set, fruit set increased with non-bee insect visits independently of bee visitation rates, indicating that non-bee insects provide a unique benefit that is not provided by bees. We also show that non-bee insects are not as reliant as bees on the presence of remnant natural or seminatural habitat in the surrounding landscape. These results strongly suggest that non-bee insect pollinators play a significant role in global crop production and respond differently than bees to landscape structure, probably making their crop pollination services more robust to changes in land use. Non-bee insects provide a valuable service and provide potential insurance against bee population declines.

  7. Non-bee insects are important contributors to global crop pollination

    PubMed Central

    Bartomeus, Ignasi; Garibaldi, Lucas A.; Garratt, Michael P. D.; Howlett, Brad G.; Winfree, Rachael; Cunningham, Saul A.; Mayfield, Margaret M.; Arthur, Anthony D.; Andersson, Georg K. S.; Bommarco, Riccardo; Brittain, Claire; Carvalheiro, Luísa G.; Chacoff, Natacha P.; Entling, Martin H.; Foully, Benjamin; Freitas, Breno M.; Gemmill-Herren, Barbara; Ghazoul, Jaboury; Griffin, Sean R.; Gross, Caroline L.; Herbertsson, Lina; Herzog, Felix; Hipólito, Juliana; Jaggar, Sue; Jauker, Frank; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Kleijn, David; Krishnan, Smitha; Lemos, Camila Q.; Lindström, Sandra A. M.; Mandelik, Yael; Monteiro, Victor M.; Nelson, Warrick; Nilsson, Lovisa; Pattemore, David E.; de O. Pereira, Natália; Pisanty, Gideon; Potts, Simon G.; Reemer, Menno; Rundlöf, Maj; Sheffield, Cory S.; Scheper, Jeroen; Schüepp, Christof; Smith, Henrik G.; Stanley, Dara A.; Stout, Jane C.; Szentgyörgyi, Hajnalka; Taki, Hisatomo; Vergara, Carlos H.; Viana, Blandina F.; Woyciechowski, Michal

    2016-01-01

    Wild and managed bees are well documented as effective pollinators of global crops of economic importance. However, the contributions by pollinators other than bees have been little explored despite their potential to contribute to crop production and stability in the face of environmental change. Non-bee pollinators include flies, beetles, moths, butterflies, wasps, ants, birds, and bats, among others. Here we focus on non-bee insects and synthesize 39 field studies from five continents that directly measured the crop pollination services provided by non-bees, honey bees, and other bees to compare the relative contributions of these taxa. Non-bees performed 25–50% of the total number of flower visits. Although non-bees were less effective pollinators than bees per flower visit, they made more visits; thus these two factors compensated for each other, resulting in pollination services rendered by non-bees that were similar to those provided by bees. In the subset of studies that measured fruit set, fruit set increased with non-bee insect visits independently of bee visitation rates, indicating that non-bee insects provide a unique benefit that is not provided by bees. We also show that non-bee insects are not as reliant as bees on the presence of remnant natural or seminatural habitat in the surrounding landscape. These results strongly suggest that non-bee insect pollinators play a significant role in global crop production and respond differently than bees to landscape structure, probably making their crop pollination services more robust to changes in land use. Non-bee insects provide a valuable service and provide potential insurance against bee population declines. PMID:26621730

  8. Advances in pollination ecology from tropical plantation crops.

    PubMed

    Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Cunningham, Saul A; Bos, Merijn; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf

    2008-04-01

    Although ecologists traditionally focus on natural ecosystems, there is growing awareness that mixed landscapes of managed and unmanaged systems provide a research environment for understanding basic ecological relationships on a large scale. Here, we show how tropical agroforestry systems can be used to develop ideas about the mechanisms that influence species diversity and subsequent biotic interactions at different spatial scales. Our focus is on tropical plantation crops, mainly coffee and cacao, and their pollinators, which are of basic ecological interest as partners in an important mutualistic interaction. We review how insect-mediated pollination services depend on local agroforest and natural habitats in surrounding landscapes. Further, we evaluate the functional significance of pollinator diversity and the explanatory value of species traits, and we provide an intercontinental comparison of pollinator assemblages. We found that optimal pollination success might be best understood as a consequence of niche complementarities among pollinators in landscapes harboring various species. We further show that small cavity-nesting bees and small generalist beetles were especially affected by isolation from forest and that larger-bodied insects in the same landscapes were not similarly affected. We suggest that mixed tropical landscapes with agroforestry systems have great potential for future research on the interactions between plants and pollinators.

  9. Interactive effects among ecosystem services and management practices on crop production: pollination in coffee agroforestry systems.

    PubMed

    Boreux, Virginie; Kushalappa, Cheppudira G; Vaast, Philippe; Ghazoul, Jaboury

    2013-05-21

    Crop productivity is improved by ecosystem services, including pollination, but this should be set in the context of trade-offs among multiple management practices. We investigated the impact of pollination services on coffee production, considering variation in fertilization, irrigation, shade cover, and environmental variables such as rainfall (which stimulates coffee flowering across all plantations), soil pH, and nitrogen availability. After accounting for management interventions, bee abundance improved coffee production (number of berries harvested). Some management interventions, such as irrigation, used once to trigger asynchronous flowering, dramatically increased bee abundance at coffee trees. Others, such as the extent and type of tree cover, revealed interacting effects on pollination and, ultimately, crop production. The effects of management interventions, notably irrigation and addition of lime, had, however, far more substantial positive effects on coffee production than tree cover. These results suggest that pollination services matter, but managing the asynchrony of flowering was a more effective tool for securing good pollination than maintaining high shade tree densities as pollinator habitat. Complex interactions across farm and landscape scales, including both management practices and environmental conditions, shape pollination outcomes. Effective production systems therefore require the integrated consideration of management practices in the context of the surrounding habitat structure. This paper points toward a more strategic use of ecosystem services in agricultural systems, where ecosystem services are shaped by the coupling of management interventions and environmental variables.

  10. Profiling crop pollinators: life history traits predict habitat use and crop visitation by Mediterranean wild bees.

    PubMed

    Pisanty, Gideon; Mandelik, Yael

    2015-04-01

    Wild pollinators, bees in particular, may greatly contribute to crop pollination and provide a safety net against declines in commercial pollinators. However, the identity, life history traits, and environmental sensitivities of main crop pollinator species.have received limited attention. These are crucial for predicting pollination services of different communities and for developing management practices that enhance crop pollinators. We sampled wild bees in three crop systems (almond, confection sunflower, and seed watermelon) in a mosaic Israeli Mediterranean landscape. Bees were sampled in field/orchard edges and interiors, and in seminatural scrub surrounding the fields/orchards. We also analyzed land cover at 50-2500 m radii around fields/orchards. We used this data to distinguish crop from non-crop pollinators based on a set of life history traits (nesting, lecty, sociality, body size) linked to habitat preference and crop visitation. Bee abundance and species richness decreased from the surrounding seminatural habitat to the field/orchard interior, especially across the seminatural habitat-field edge ecotone. Thus, although rich bee communities were found near fields, only small fractions crossed the ecotone and visited crop flowers in substantial numbers. The bee assemblage in agricultural fields/orchards and on crop flowers was dominated by ground-nesting bees of the tribe Halictini, which tend to nest within fields. Bees' habitat preferences were determined mainly by nesting guild, whereas crop visitation was determined mainly by sociality. Lecty and body size also affected both measures. The percentage of surrounding seminatural habitat at 250-2500 m radii had a positive effect on wild bee diversity in field edges, for all bee guilds, while at 50-100 m radii, only aboveground nesters were positively affected. In sum, we found that crop and non-crop pollinators are distinguished by behavioral and morphological traits. Hence, analysis of life

  11. Pollen resources for pollinators in specialty oilseed crops

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Simplified agroecosystems have depleted habitats for beneficial insects throughout the Midwest and Northern Great Plains of the USA. Beneficial insects include pollinators and natural enemies of crop pests, and both rely heavily on floral resources and habitat diversity to maintain healthy populatio...

  12. Species distribution models for crop pollination: a modelling framework applied to Great Britain.

    PubMed

    Polce, Chiara; Termansen, Mette; Aguirre-Gutiérrez, Jesus; Boatman, Nigel D; Budge, Giles E; Crowe, Andrew; Garratt, Michael P; Pietravalle, Stéphane; Potts, Simon G; Ramirez, Jorge A; Somerwill, Kate E; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C

    2013-01-01

    Insect pollination benefits over three quarters of the world's major crops. There is growing concern that observed declines in pollinators may impact on production and revenues from animal pollinated crops. Knowing the distribution of pollinators is therefore crucial for estimating their availability to pollinate crops; however, in general, we have an incomplete knowledge of where these pollinators occur. We propose a method to predict geographical patterns of pollination service to crops, novel in two elements: the use of pollinator records rather than expert knowledge to predict pollinator occurrence, and the inclusion of the managed pollinator supply. We integrated a maximum entropy species distribution model (SDM) with an existing pollination service model (PSM) to derive the availability of pollinators for crop pollination. We used nation-wide records of wild and managed pollinators (honey bees) as well as agricultural data from Great Britain. We first calibrated the SDM on a representative sample of bee and hoverfly crop pollinator species, evaluating the effects of different settings on model performance and on its capacity to identify the most important predictors. The importance of the different predictors was better resolved by SDM derived from simpler functions, with consistent results for bees and hoverflies. We then used the species distributions from the calibrated model to predict pollination service of wild and managed pollinators, using field beans as a test case. The PSM allowed us to spatially characterize the contribution of wild and managed pollinators and also identify areas potentially vulnerable to low pollination service provision, which can help direct local scale interventions. This approach can be extended to investigate geographical mismatches between crop pollination demand and the availability of pollinators, resulting from environmental change or policy scenarios.

  13. Contribution of insect pollinators to crop yield and quality varies with agricultural intensification

    PubMed Central

    Potts, Simon G.; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Vaissière, Bernard E.; Woyciechowski, Michal; Krewenka, Kristin M.; Tscheulin, Thomas; Roberts, Stuart P.M.; Szentgyörgyi, Hajnalka; Westphal, Catrin; Bommarco, Riccardo

    2014-01-01

    Background. Up to 75% of crop species benefit at least to some degree from animal pollination for fruit or seed set and yield. However, basic information on the level of pollinator dependence and pollinator contribution to yield is lacking for many crops. Even less is known about how insect pollination affects crop quality. Given that habitat loss and agricultural intensification are known to decrease pollinator richness and abundance, there is a need to assess the consequences for different components of crop production. Methods. We used pollination exclusion on flowers or inflorescences on a whole plant basis to assess the contribution of insect pollination to crop yield and quality in four flowering crops (spring oilseed rape, field bean, strawberry, and buckwheat) located in four regions of Europe. For each crop, we recorded abundance and species richness of flower visiting insects in ten fields located along a gradient from simple to heterogeneous landscapes. Results. Insect pollination enhanced average crop yield between 18 and 71% depending on the crop. Yield quality was also enhanced in most crops. For instance, oilseed rape had higher oil and lower chlorophyll contents when adequately pollinated, the proportion of empty seeds decreased in buckwheat, and strawberries’ commercial grade improved; however, we did not find higher nitrogen content in open pollinated field beans. Complex landscapes had a higher overall species richness of wild pollinators across crops, but visitation rates were only higher in complex landscapes for some crops. On the contrary, the overall yield was consistently enhanced by higher visitation rates, but not by higher pollinator richness. Discussion. For the four crops in this study, there is clear benefit delivered by pollinators on yield quantity and/or quality, but it is not maximized under current agricultural intensification. Honeybees, the most abundant pollinator, might partially compensate the loss of wild pollinators in

  14. Crop pollination exposes honey bees to pesticides which alters their susceptibility to the gut pathogen Nosema ceranae

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Recent declines in honey bee populations and increasing demand for insect-pollinated crops raise concerns about pollinator shortages. Pesticide exposure and pathogens may interact to have strong negative effects on managed honey bee colonies. Such findings are of great concern given the large number...

  15. Supporting crop pollinators with floral resources: network-based phenological matching

    PubMed Central

    Russo, Laura; DeBarros, Nelson; Yang, Suann; Shea, Katriona; Mortensen, David

    2013-01-01

    The production of diverse and affordable agricultural crop species depends on pollination services provided by bees. Indeed, the proportion of pollinator-dependent crops is increasing globally. Agriculture relies heavily on the domesticated honeybee; the services provided by this single species are under threat and becoming increasingly costly. Importantly, the free pollination services provided by diverse wild bee communities have been shown to be sufficient for high agricultural yields in some systems. However, stable, functional wild bee communities require floral resources, such as pollen and nectar, throughout their active season, not just when crop species are in flower. To target floral provisioning efforts to conserve and support native and managed bee species, we apply network theoretical methods incorporating plant and pollinator phenologies. Using a two-year dataset comprising interactions between bees (superfamily Apoidea, Anthophila) and 25 native perennial plant species in floral provisioning habitat, we identify plant and bee species that provide a key and central role to the stability of the structure of this community. We also examine three specific case studies: how provisioning habitat can provide temporally continuous support for honeybees (Apis mellifera) and bumblebees (Bombus impatiens), and how resource supplementation strategies might be designed for a single genus of important orchard pollinators (Osmia). This framework could be used to provide native bee communities with additional, well-targeted floral resources to ensure that they not only survive, but also thrive. PMID:24101999

  16. Contribution of pollinator-mediated crops to nutrients in the human food supply.

    PubMed

    Eilers, Elisabeth J; Kremen, Claire; Smith Greenleaf, Sarah; Garber, Andrea K; Klein, Alexandra-Maria

    2011-01-01

    The contribution of nutrients from animal pollinated world crops has not previously been evaluated as a biophysical measure for the value of pollination services. This study evaluates the nutritional composition of animal-pollinated world crops. We calculated pollinator dependent and independent proportions of different nutrients of world crops, employing FAO data for crop production, USDA data for nutritional composition, and pollinator dependency data according to Klein et al. (2007). Crop plants that depend fully or partially on animal pollinators contain more than 90% of vitamin C, the whole quantity of Lycopene and almost the full quantity of the antioxidants β-cryptoxanthin and β-tocopherol, the majority of the lipid, vitamin A and related carotenoids, calcium and fluoride, and a large portion of folic acid. Ongoing pollinator decline may thus exacerbate current difficulties of providing a nutritionally adequate diet for the global human population.

  17. Contribution of Pollinator-Mediated Crops to Nutrients in the Human Food Supply

    PubMed Central

    Eilers, Elisabeth J.; Kremen, Claire; Smith Greenleaf, Sarah; Garber, Andrea K.; Klein, Alexandra-Maria

    2011-01-01

    The contribution of nutrients from animal pollinated world crops has not previously been evaluated as a biophysical measure for the value of pollination services. This study evaluates the nutritional composition of animal-pollinated world crops. We calculated pollinator dependent and independent proportions of different nutrients of world crops, employing FAO data for crop production, USDA data for nutritional composition, and pollinator dependency data according to Klein et al. (2007). Crop plants that depend fully or partially on animal pollinators contain more than 90% of vitamin C, the whole quantity of Lycopene and almost the full quantity of the antioxidants β-cryptoxanthin and β-tocopherol, the majority of the lipid, vitamin A and related carotenoids, calcium and fluoride, and a large portion of folic acid. Ongoing pollinator decline may thus exacerbate current difficulties of providing a nutritionally adequate diet for the global human population. PMID:21731717

  18. Insect pollination and self-incompatibility in edible and/or medicinal crops in southwestern China, a global hotspot of biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Ren, Zong-Xin; Wang, Hong; Bernhardt, Peter; Li, De-Zhu

    2014-10-01

    An increasing global demand for food, coupled with the widespread decline of pollinator diversity, remains an international concern in agriculture and genetic conservation. In particular, there are large gaps in the study of the pollination of economically important and traditionally grown species in China. Many plant species grown in China are both edible and used medicinally. The country retains extensive written records of agricultural and apicultural practices, facilitating contemporary studies of some important taxa. Here, we focus on Yunnan in southwestern China, a mega-biodiversity hotspot for medicinal/food plants. We used plant and insect taxa as model systems to understand the patterns and consequences of pollinator deficit to crops. We identified several gaps and limitations in research on the pollination ecology and breeding systems of domesticated taxa and their wild relatives in Yunnan and asked the following questions: (1) What is known about pollination systems of edible and medicinal plants in Yunnan? (2) What are the most important pollinators of Codonopsis subglobosa (Campanulaceae)? (3) How important are native pollinator species for maximizing yield in Chinese crops compared with the introduced Apis mellifera? We found that some crops that require cross-pollination now depend exclusively on hand pollination. Three domesticated crops are dependent primarily on the native but semidomesticated Apis cerana and the introduced A. mellifera. Other species of wild pollinators often play important roles for certain specialty crops (e.g., Vespa velutina pollinates Codonopsis subglobosa). We propose a more systematic and comprehensive approach to applied research in the future.

  19. Mutually beneficial pollinator diversity and crop yield outcomes in small and large farms.

    PubMed

    Garibaldi, Lucas A; Carvalheiro, Luísa G; Vaissière, Bernard E; Gemmill-Herren, Barbara; Hipólito, Juliana; Freitas, Breno M; Ngo, Hien T; Azzu, Nadine; Sáez, Agustín; Åström, Jens; An, Jiandong; Blochtein, Betina; Buchori, Damayanti; Chamorro García, Fermín J; Oliveira da Silva, Fabiana; Devkota, Kedar; Ribeiro, Márcia de Fátima; Freitas, Leandro; Gaglianone, Maria C; Goss, Maria; Irshad, Mohammad; Kasina, Muo; Pacheco Filho, Alípio J S; Kiill, Lucia H Piedade; Kwapong, Peter; Parra, Guiomar Nates; Pires, Carmen; Pires, Viviane; Rawal, Ranbeer S; Rizali, Akhmad; Saraiva, Antonio M; Veldtman, Ruan; Viana, Blandina F; Witter, Sidia; Zhang, Hong

    2016-01-22

    Ecological intensification, or the improvement of crop yield through enhancement of biodiversity, may be a sustainable pathway toward greater food supplies. Such sustainable increases may be especially important for the 2 billion people reliant on small farms, many of which are undernourished, yet we know little about the efficacy of this approach. Using a coordinated protocol across regions and crops, we quantify to what degree enhancing pollinator density and richness can improve yields on 344 fields from 33 pollinator-dependent crop systems in small and large farms from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. For fields less than 2 hectares, we found that yield gaps could be closed by a median of 24% through higher flower-visitor density. For larger fields, such benefits only occurred at high flower-visitor richness. Worldwide, our study demonstrates that ecological intensification can create synchronous biodiversity and yield outcomes.

  20. Effects of a Possible Pollinator Crisis on Food Crop Production in Brazil

    PubMed Central

    Nunes, Cássio A.; Santos, Natália B.; D`Amico, Ana R.; Fernandes, G. Wilson; Quesada, Maurício; Braga, Rodrigo F.; Neves, Ana Carolina O.

    2016-01-01

    Animal pollinators contribute to human food production and security thereby ensuring an important component of human well-being. The recent decline of these agents in Europe and North America has aroused the concern of a potential global pollinator crisis. In order to prioritize efforts for pollinator conservation, we evaluated the extent to which food production depends on animal pollinators in Brazil—one of the world’s agriculture leaders—by comparing cultivated area, produced volume and yield value of major food crops that are pollinator dependent with those that are pollinator non-dependent. In addition, we valued the ecosystem service of pollination based on the degree of pollinator dependence of each crop and the consequence of a decline in food production to the Brazilian Gross Domestic Product and Brazilian food security. A total of 68% of the 53 major food crops in Brazil depend to some degree on animals for pollination. Pollinator non-dependent crops produce a greater volume of food, mainly because of the high production of sugarcane, but the cultivated area and monetary value of pollinator dependent crops are higher (59% of total cultivated area and 68% of monetary value). The loss of pollination services for 29 of the major food crops would reduce production by 16.55–51 million tons, which would amount to 4.86–14.56 billion dollars/year, and reduce the agricultural contribution to the Brazilian GDP by 6.46%– 19.36%. These impacts would be largely absorbed by family farmers, which represent 74.4% of the agricultural labor force in Brazil. The main effects of a pollinator crisis in Brazil would be felt by the poorer and more rural classes due to their lower income and direct or exclusive dependence on this ecosystem service. PMID:27902787

  1. Effects of a Possible Pollinator Crisis on Food Crop Production in Brazil.

    PubMed

    Novais, Samuel M A; Nunes, Cássio A; Santos, Natália B; D Amico, Ana R; Fernandes, G Wilson; Quesada, Maurício; Braga, Rodrigo F; Neves, Ana Carolina O

    2016-01-01

    Animal pollinators contribute to human food production and security thereby ensuring an important component of human well-being. The recent decline of these agents in Europe and North America has aroused the concern of a potential global pollinator crisis. In order to prioritize efforts for pollinator conservation, we evaluated the extent to which food production depends on animal pollinators in Brazil-one of the world's agriculture leaders-by comparing cultivated area, produced volume and yield value of major food crops that are pollinator dependent with those that are pollinator non-dependent. In addition, we valued the ecosystem service of pollination based on the degree of pollinator dependence of each crop and the consequence of a decline in food production to the Brazilian Gross Domestic Product and Brazilian food security. A total of 68% of the 53 major food crops in Brazil depend to some degree on animals for pollination. Pollinator non-dependent crops produce a greater volume of food, mainly because of the high production of sugarcane, but the cultivated area and monetary value of pollinator dependent crops are higher (59% of total cultivated area and 68% of monetary value). The loss of pollination services for 29 of the major food crops would reduce production by 16.55-51 million tons, which would amount to 4.86-14.56 billion dollars/year, and reduce the agricultural contribution to the Brazilian GDP by 6.46%- 19.36%. These impacts would be largely absorbed by family farmers, which represent 74.4% of the agricultural labor force in Brazil. The main effects of a pollinator crisis in Brazil would be felt by the poorer and more rural classes due to their lower income and direct or exclusive dependence on this ecosystem service.

  2. Resource Effects on Solitary Bee Reproduction in a Managed Crop Pollination System.

    PubMed

    Pitts-Singer, Theresa L

    2015-08-01

    Population density may affect solitary bee maternal resource allocation. The number of Megachile rotundata (F.), alfalfa leafcutting bee, females released for seed production of Medicago sativa L., alfalfa, may limit flower availability for nest provisioning. In turn, pollinator abundance also may affect crop yield. The M. sativa pollination system presents an opportunity to test for effects of density dependence and maternal manipulation on M. rotundata reproduction. A multiyear study was performed on M. sativa fields upon which M. rotundata densities were altered to induce low, medium, and high density situations. Numbers of adult bees and open flowers were recorded weekly; bee reproduction variables were collected once. Fields varied in plant performance for each site and year, and the intended bee densities were not realized. Therefore, the variable density index (DI) was derived to describe the number of female bees per area of flowers over the study period. As DI increased, percentages of pollinated flowers, established females, and healthy brood significantly increased, and the number of pollinated flowers per female and of dead or diseased brood significantly decreased. Sex ratio was significantly more female biased as DI increased. Overwintered offspring weights were similar regardless of DI, but significantly differed by year for both sexes, and for males also by field and year × field interaction. Overall, resource limitation was not found in this field study. Other density-dependent factors may have induced a bee dispersal response soon after bees were released in the fields that circumvented the need for, or impact of, maternal manipulation.

  3. Caveats to quantifying ecosystem services: fruit abortion blurs benefits from crop pollination.

    PubMed

    Bos, Merijn M; Veddeler, Dorthe; Bogdanski, Anne K; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Tscharntke, Teja; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Tylianakis, Jason M

    2007-09-01

    The recent trend to place monetary values on ecosystem services has led to studies on the economic importance of pollinators for agricultural crops. Several recent studies indicate regional, long-term pollinator declines, and economic consequences have been derived from declining pollination efficiencies. However, use of pollinator services as economic incentives for conservation must consider environmental factors such as drought, pests, and diseases, which can also limit yields. Moreover, "flower excess" is a well-known reproductive strategy of plants as insurance against unpredictable, external factors that limit reproduction. With three case studies on the importance of pollination levels for amounts of harvested fruits of three tropical crops (passion fruit in Brazil, coffee in Ecuador, and cacao in Indonesia) we illustrate how reproductive strategies and environmental stress can obscure initial benefits from improved pollination. By interpreting these results with findings from evolutionary sciences, agronomy, and studies on wild-plant populations, we argue that studies on economic benefits from pollinators should include the total of ecosystem processes that (1) lead to successful pollination and (2) mobilize nutrients and improve plant quality to the extent that crop yields indeed benefit from enhanced pollinator services. Conservation incentives that use quantifications of nature's services to human welfare will benefit from approaches at the ecosystem level that take into account the broad spectrum of biological processes that limit or deliver the service.

  4. Masting promotes individual- and population-level reproduction by increasing pollination efficiency.

    PubMed

    Moreira, Xoaquín; Abdala-Roberts, Luis; Linhart, Yan B; Mooney, Kailen A

    2014-04-01

    Masting is a reproductive strategy defined as the intermittent and synchronized production of large seed crops by a plant population. The pollination efficiency hypothesis proposes that masting increases pollination success in plants. Despite its general appeal, no previous studies have used long-term data together with population- and individual-level analyses to assess pollination efficiency between mast and non-mast events. Here we rigorously tested the pollination efficiency hypothesis in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), a long-lived monoecious, wind-pollinated species, using a data set on 217 trees monitored annually for 20 years. Relative investment in male and female function by individual trees did not vary between mast and non-mast years. At both the population and individual level, the rate of production of mature female cones relative to male strobili production was higher in mast than non-mast years, consistent with the predicted benefit of reproductive synchrony on reproductive success. In addition, at the individual level we found a higher conversion of unfertilized female conelets into mature female cones during a mast year compared to a non-mast year. Collectively, parallel results at the population and individual tree level provide robust evidence for the ecological, and potentially also evolutionary, benefits of masting through increased pollination efficiency.

  5. Complementary ecosystem services provided by pest predators and pollinators increase quantity and quality of coffee yields.

    PubMed

    Classen, Alice; Peters, Marcell K; Ferger, Stefan W; Helbig-Bonitz, Maria; Schmack, Julia M; Maassen, Genevieve; Schleuning, Matthias; Kalko, Elisabeth K V; Böhning-Gaese, Katrin; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf

    2014-03-22

    Wild animals substantially support crop production by providing ecosystem services, such as pollination and natural pest control. However, the strengths of synergies between ecosystem services and their dependencies on land-use management are largely unknown. Here, we took an experimental approach to test the impact of land-use intensification on both individual and combined pollination and pest control services in coffee production systems at Mount Kilimanjaro. We established a full-factorial pollinator and vertebrate exclosure experiment along a land-use gradient from traditional homegardens (agroforestry systems), shaded coffee plantations to sun coffee plantations (total sample size = 180 coffee bushes). The exclusion of vertebrates led to a reduction in fruit set of ca 9%. Pollinators did not affect fruit set, but significantly increased fruit weight of coffee by an average of 7.4%. We found no significant decline of these ecosystem services along the land-use gradient. Pest control and pollination service were thus complementary, contributing to coffee production by affecting the quantity and quality of a major tropical cash crop across different coffee production systems at Mount Kilimanjaro.

  6. Complementary ecosystem services provided by pest predators and pollinators increase quantity and quality of coffee yields

    PubMed Central

    Classen, Alice; Peters, Marcell K.; Ferger, Stefan W.; Helbig-Bonitz, Maria; Schmack, Julia M.; Maassen, Genevieve; Schleuning, Matthias; Kalko, Elisabeth K. V.; Böhning-Gaese, Katrin; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf

    2014-01-01

    Wild animals substantially support crop production by providing ecosystem services, such as pollination and natural pest control. However, the strengths of synergies between ecosystem services and their dependencies on land-use management are largely unknown. Here, we took an experimental approach to test the impact of land-use intensification on both individual and combined pollination and pest control services in coffee production systems at Mount Kilimanjaro. We established a full-factorial pollinator and vertebrate exclosure experiment along a land-use gradient from traditional homegardens (agroforestry systems), shaded coffee plantations to sun coffee plantations (total sample size = 180 coffee bushes). The exclusion of vertebrates led to a reduction in fruit set of ca 9%. Pollinators did not affect fruit set, but significantly increased fruit weight of coffee by an average of 7.4%. We found no significant decline of these ecosystem services along the land-use gradient. Pest control and pollination service were thus complementary, contributing to coffee production by affecting the quantity and quality of a major tropical cash crop across different coffee production systems at Mount Kilimanjaro. PMID:24500173

  7. Evaluation of native bees as pollinators of cucurbit crops under floating row covers.

    PubMed

    Minter, Logan M; Bessin, Ricardo T

    2014-10-01

    Production of cucurbit crops presents growers with numerous challenges. Several severe pests and diseases can be managed through the use of rotation, trap cropping, mechanical barriers, such as row covers, and chemical applications. However, considerations must also be made for pollinating insects, as adequate pollination affects the quantity and quality of fruit. Insecticides may negatively affect pollinators; a concern enhanced in recent years due to losses in managed Apis melifera L. colonies. Row covers can be used in place of chemical control before pollination, but when removed, pests have access to fields along with the pollinators. If pollination services of native bees could be harnessed for use under continuous row covers, both concerns could be balanced for growers. The potential of two bee species which specialize on cucurbit flowers, Peponapis pruinosa Say and Xenoglossa strenua Cresson, were assessed under continuous row covers, employed over acorn squash. Experimental treatments included plots with either naturally or artificially introduced bees under row covers and control plots with row covers either permanently removed at crop flowering, or employed continuously with no added pollinating insects. Pests in plots with permanently removed row covers were managed using standard practices used in certified organic production. Marketable yields from plots inoculated with bees were indistinguishable from those produced under standard practices, indicating this system would provide adequate yields to growers without time and monetary inputs of insecticide applications. Additionally, application of this technique was investigated for muskmelon production and discussed along with considerations for farm management.

  8. Potential pollinators of tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum (Solanaceae), in open crops and the effect of a solitary bee in fruit set and quality.

    PubMed

    Santos, A O R; Bartelli, B F; Nogueira-Ferreira, F H

    2014-06-01

    We identified native bees that are floral visitors and potential pollinators of tomato in Cerrado areas, described the foraging behavior of these species, and verified the influence of the visitation of a solitary bee on the quantity and quality of fruits. Three areas of tomato crops, located in Minas Gerais, Brazil, were sampled between March and November 2012. We collected 185 bees belonging to 13 species. Exomalopsis (Exomalopsis) analis Spinola, 1853 (Hymenoptera: Apidae) was the most abundant. Ten species performed buzz pollination. Apis mellifera L. 1758 (Hymenoptera: Apidae) and Paratrigona lineata (Lepeletier, 1836) (Hymenoptera: Apidae) could also act as pollinators. The fruit set and number of seeds obtained from the pollination treatment by E. analis were higher than those in the control group. Our results allowed the identification of potential tomato pollinators in Cerrado areas and also contributed information regarding the impact of a single species (E. analis) on fruit set and quality. Although most of the visiting bees show the ability for tomato pollination, there is an absence of adequate management techniques, and its usage is difficult with the aim of increasing the crop production, which is the case for E. analis. Species such as Melipona quinquefasciata, P. lineata, and A. mellifera, which are easy to handle, are not used for pollination services. Finally, it is suggested that a combination of different bee species that are able to pollinate the tomato is necessary to prevent the super-exploitation of only a single species for pollination services and to guarantee the occurrence of potential pollinators in the crop area.

  9. Using cash cover crops to provide pollinator provisions

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    To date, the use of winter cover crops in MN and SD has been slow to be adopted. The short growing season and potential for late wet springs make cover crops risky to farmers with little economic return. The use of cash cover crops in this area offers the standard advantages of other cover crops, wi...

  10. Organic farming improves pollination success in strawberries.

    PubMed

    Andersson, Georg K S; Rundlöf, Maj; Smith, Henrik G

    2012-01-01

    Pollination of insect pollinated crops has been found to be correlated to pollinator abundance and diversity. Since organic farming has the potential to mitigate negative effects of agricultural intensification on biodiversity, it may also benefit crop pollination, but direct evidence of this is scant. We evaluated the effect of organic farming on pollination of strawberry plants focusing on (1) if pollination success was higher on organic farms compared to conventional farms, and (2) if there was a time lag from conversion to organic farming until an effect was manifested. We found that pollination success and the proportion of fully pollinated berries were higher on organic compared to conventional farms and this difference was already evident 2-4 years after conversion to organic farming. Our results suggest that conversion to organic farming may rapidly increase pollination success and hence benefit the ecosystem service of crop pollination regarding both yield quantity and quality.

  11. The effects of crop intensification on the diversity of native pollinator communities

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Recent increases in agricultural conversion are leading to a decline in native grasslands and natural resources critical for beneficial insects. However, little is known regarding how these regional changes are affecting pollinator diversity. Insect pollinators were collected at 12 locations in Broo...

  12. Crop pollination exposes honey bees to pesticides which alters their susceptibility to the gut pathogen Nosema ceranae.

    PubMed

    Pettis, Jeffery S; Lichtenberg, Elinor M; Andree, Michael; Stitzinger, Jennie; Rose, Robyn; Vanengelsdorp, Dennis

    2013-01-01

    Recent declines in honey bee populations and increasing demand for insect-pollinated crops raise concerns about pollinator shortages. Pesticide exposure and pathogens may interact to have strong negative effects on managed honey bee colonies. Such findings are of great concern given the large numbers and high levels of pesticides found in honey bee colonies. Thus it is crucial to determine how field-relevant combinations and loads of pesticides affect bee health. We collected pollen from bee hives in seven major crops to determine 1) what types of pesticides bees are exposed to when rented for pollination of various crops and 2) how field-relevant pesticide blends affect bees' susceptibility to the gut parasite Nosema ceranae. Our samples represent pollen collected by foragers for use by the colony, and do not necessarily indicate foragers' roles as pollinators. In blueberry, cranberry, cucumber, pumpkin and watermelon bees collected pollen almost exclusively from weeds and wildflowers during our sampling. Thus more attention must be paid to how honey bees are exposed to pesticides outside of the field in which they are placed. We detected 35 different pesticides in the sampled pollen, and found high fungicide loads. The insecticides esfenvalerate and phosmet were at a concentration higher than their median lethal dose in at least one pollen sample. While fungicides are typically seen as fairly safe for honey bees, we found an increased probability of Nosema infection in bees that consumed pollen with a higher fungicide load. Our results highlight a need for research on sub-lethal effects of fungicides and other chemicals that bees placed in an agricultural setting are exposed to.

  13. Crop Pollination Exposes Honey Bees to Pesticides Which Alters Their Susceptibility to the Gut Pathogen Nosema ceranae

    PubMed Central

    Pettis, Jeffery S.; Lichtenberg, Elinor M.; Andree, Michael; Stitzinger, Jennie; Rose, Robyn; vanEngelsdorp, Dennis

    2013-01-01

    Recent declines in honey bee populations and increasing demand for insect-pollinated crops raise concerns about pollinator shortages. Pesticide exposure and pathogens may interact to have strong negative effects on managed honey bee colonies. Such findings are of great concern given the large numbers and high levels of pesticides found in honey bee colonies. Thus it is crucial to determine how field-relevant combinations and loads of pesticides affect bee health. We collected pollen from bee hives in seven major crops to determine 1) what types of pesticides bees are exposed to when rented for pollination of various crops and 2) how field-relevant pesticide blends affect bees’ susceptibility to the gut parasite Nosema ceranae. Our samples represent pollen collected by foragers for use by the colony, and do not necessarily indicate foragers’ roles as pollinators. In blueberry, cranberry, cucumber, pumpkin and watermelon bees collected pollen almost exclusively from weeds and wildflowers during our sampling. Thus more attention must be paid to how honey bees are exposed to pesticides outside of the field in which they are placed. We detected 35 different pesticides in the sampled pollen, and found high fungicide loads. The insecticides esfenvalerate and phosmet were at a concentration higher than their median lethal dose in at least one pollen sample. While fungicides are typically seen as fairly safe for honey bees, we found an increased probability of Nosema infection in bees that consumed pollen with a higher fungicide load. Our results highlight a need for research on sub-lethal effects of fungicides and other chemicals that bees placed in an agricultural setting are exposed to. PMID:23894612

  14. Pollinator attractiveness increases with distance from flowering orchids.

    PubMed Central

    Wong, Bob B M; Salzmann, Charlotte; Schiestl, Florian P

    2004-01-01

    Orchids are extraordinary among plants because many species are pollinated through sexual duplicity by producing flowers that mimic female insects to lure unsuspecting males. Previous work showed that sexual deception by the orchid Chiloglottis trapeziformis can have a negative impact on its wasp pollinator Neozeleboria cryptoides. We report that female wasps may be capable of mitigating the cost of the orchids' deception. Although male wasps quickly habituated to areas planted with unrewarding flower decoys, we found that the effectiveness of the chemical cue used by the wingless females to attract males increases with increasing distance from an orchid patch. The apparent specificity of the males' site-based avoidance strategy means that females emerging in areas occupied by flowering orchids could, potentially, leave the orchid colony by walking to increase their attractiveness. PMID:15252987

  15. Does the invasive Lupinus polyphyllus increase pollinator visitation to a native herb through effects on pollinator population sizes?

    PubMed

    Jakobsson, Anna; Padrón, Benigno

    2014-01-01

    Invasive plants may compete with native species for abiotic factors as light, space and nutrients, and have also been shown to affect native pollination interactions. Studies have mainly focused on how invasive plants affect pollinator behaviour, i.e. attraction of pollinators to or away from native flowers. However, when an invasive plant provides resources utilized by native pollinators this could increase pollinator population sizes and thereby pollination success in natives. Effects mediated through changes in pollinator population sizes have been largely ignored in previous studies, and the dominance of negative interactions suggested by meta-analyses may therefore be biased. We investigated the impact of the invasive Lupinus polyphyllus on pollination in the native Lotus corniculatus using a study design comparing invaded and uninvaded sites before and after the flowering period of the invasive. We monitored wild bee abundance in transects, and visit rate and seed production of potted Lotus plants. Bumblebee abundance increased 3.9 times in invaded sites during the study period, whereas it was unaltered in uninvaded sites. Total visit rate per Lotus plant increased 2.1 times in invaded sites and decreased 4.4 times in uninvaded sites. No corresponding change in seed production of Lotus was found. The increase in visit rate to Lotus was driven by an increase in solitary bee visitation, whereas mainly bumblebees were observed to visit the invasive Lupinus. The mechanism by which the invasive increases pollinator visit rates to Lotus could be increased availability of other flower resources for solitary bees when bumblebees forage on Lupinus.

  16. Developing and establishing bee species as crop pollinators: the example of Osmia spp. (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) and fruit trees.

    PubMed

    Bosch, J; Bosch, J; Kemp, W P

    2002-02-01

    The development of a bee species as a new crop pollinator starts with the identification of a pollination-limited crop production deficit and the selection of one or more candidate pollinator species. The process continues with a series of studies on the developmental biology, pollinating efficacy, nesting behaviour, preference for different nesting substrates, and population dynamics of the candidate pollinator. Parallel studies investigate the biology of parasites, predators and pathogens. The information gained in these studies is combined with information on the reproductive biology of the crop to design a management system. Complete management systems should provide guidelines on rearing and releasing methods, bee densities required for adequate pollination, nesting materials, and control against parasites, predators and pathogens. Management systems should also provide methods to ensure a reliable pollinator supply. Pilot tests on a commercial scale are then conducted to test and eventually refine the management system. The process culminates with the delivery of a viable system to manage and sustain the new pollinator on a commercial scale. The process is illustrated by the development of three mason bees, Osmia cornifrons (Radoszkowski), O. lignaria Say and O. cornuta (Latreille) as orchard pollinators in Japan, the USA and Europe, respectively.

  17. Pollination Services of Mango Flower Pollinators

    PubMed Central

    Huda, A. Nurul; Salmah, M. R. Che; Hassan, A. Abu; Hamdan, A.; Razak, M. N. Abdul

    2015-01-01

    Measuring wild pollinator services in agricultural production is very important in the context of sustainable management. In this study, we estimated the contribution of native pollinators to mango fruit set production of two mango cultivars Mangifera indica (L). cv. ‘Sala’ and ‘Chok Anan’. Visitation rates of pollinators on mango flowers and number of pollen grains adhering to their bodies determined pollinator efficiency for reproductive success of the crop. Chok Anan failed to produce any fruit set in the absence of pollinators. In natural condition, we found that Sala produced 4.8% fruit set per hermaphrodite flower while Chok Anan produced 3.1% per flower. Hand pollination tremendously increased fruit set of naturally pollinated flower for Sala (>100%), but only 33% for Chok Anan. Pollinator contribution to mango fruit set was estimated at 53% of total fruit set production. Our results highlighted the importance of insect pollinations in mango production. Large size flies Eristalinus spp. and Chrysomya spp. were found to be effective pollen carriers and visited more mango flowers compared with other flower visitors. PMID:26246439

  18. Pollination Services of Mango Flower Pollinators.

    PubMed

    Huda, A Nurul; Salmah, M R Che; Hassan, A Abu; Hamdan, A; Razak, M N Abdul

    2015-01-01

    Measuring wild pollinator services in agricultural production is very important in the context of sustainable management. In this study, we estimated the contribution of native pollinators to mango fruit set production of two mango cultivars Mangifera indica (L). cv. 'Sala' and 'Chok Anan'. Visitation rates of pollinators on mango flowers and number of pollen grains adhering to their bodies determined pollinator efficiency for reproductive success of the crop. Chok Anan failed to produce any fruit set in the absence of pollinators. In natural condition, we found that Sala produced 4.8% fruit set per hermaphrodite flower while Chok Anan produced 3.1% per flower. Hand pollination tremendously increased fruit set of naturally pollinated flower for Sala (>100%), but only 33% for Chok Anan. Pollinator contribution to mango fruit set was estimated at 53% of total fruit set production. Our results highlighted the importance of insect pollinations in mango production. Large size flies Eristalinus spp. and Chrysomya spp. were found to be effective pollen carriers and visited more mango flowers compared with other flower visitors.

  19. Spatial and Temporal Trends of Global Pollination Benefit

    PubMed Central

    Lautenbach, Sven; Seppelt, Ralf; Liebscher, Juliane; Dormann, Carsten F.

    2012-01-01

    Pollination is a well-studied and at the same time a threatened ecosystem service. A significant part of global crop production depends on or profits from pollination by animals. Using detailed information on global crop yields of 60 pollination dependent or profiting crops, we provide a map of global pollination benefits on a 5′ by 5′ latitude-longitude grid. The current spatial pattern of pollination benefits is only partly correlated with climate variables and the distribution of cropland. The resulting map of pollination benefits identifies hot spots of pollination benefits at sufficient detail to guide political decisions on where to protect pollination services by investing in structural diversity of land use. Additionally, we investigated the vulnerability of the national economies with respect to potential decline of pollination services as the portion of the (agricultural) economy depending on pollination benefits. While the general dependency of the agricultural economy on pollination seems to be stable from 1993 until 2009, we see increases in producer prices for pollination dependent crops, which we interpret as an early warning signal for a conflict between pollination service and other land uses at the global scale. Our spatially explicit analysis of global pollination benefit points to hot spots for the generation of pollination benefits and can serve as a base for further planning of land use, protection sites and agricultural policies for maintaining pollination services. PMID:22563427

  20. Mitochondrial DNA variability in populations of Centris aenea (Hymenoptera, Apidae), a crop-pollinating bee in Brazil.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, V S; Aguiar, C M L; Oliveira, E J F; Costa, M A; Santos, G M M; Silva, J G

    2013-03-15

    Centris spp are oil-collecting solitary bees that are valuable pollinators of crops such as Brazil nut, cashew, and acerola. We investigated the genetic variability of populations of C. aenea in the northeastern region of Brazil. Total DNA was extracted from 59 individuals from 6 locations in the States of Pernambuco and Bahia and a 600-650-bp fragment of the mitochondrial COI/COII region amplified by PCR, followed by digestion with the restriction enzymes DraI and SspI. PCR-RFLP analysis revealed eight different haplotypes among the populations. Haplotype A1, revealed by DraI, was the most frequent (50%), and haplotypes A3 and A4 were exclusive to Feira de Santana, Bahia and Morro do Chapéu, Bahia, respectively. Among the haplotypes revealed by SspI, B2 was the most frequent (37%) and B3 was exclusive to Feira de Santana. This information revealing high haplotype diversity will be useful for developing management strategies for Centris, especially because of increasing interest in the rearing and/ or relocation of these bees for crop pollination.

  1. The diversity and abundance of small arthropods in onion, Allium cepa, seed crops, and their potential role in pollination.

    PubMed

    Walker, M K; Howlett, B G; Wallace, A R; McCallum, J A; Teulon, D A J

    2011-01-01

    Onion, Allium cepa L. (Asparagales: Amaryllidaceae), crop fields grown for seed production require arthropod pollination for adequate seed yield. Although many arthropod species visit A. cepa flowers, for most there is little information on their role as pollinators. Small flower visiting arthropods (body width < 3 mm) in particular are rarely assessed. A survey of eight flowering commercial A. cepa seed fields in the North and South Islands of New Zealand using window traps revealed that small arthropods were highly abundant among all except one field. Insects belonging to the orders Diptera and Thysanoptera were the most abundant and Hymenoptera, Collembola, Psocoptera, Hemiptera, and Coleoptera were also present. To test whether small arthropods might contribute to pollination, seed sets from umbels caged within 3 mm diameter mesh cages were compared with similarly caged, hand-pollinated umbels and uncaged umbels. Caged umbels that were not hand-pollinated set significantly fewer seeds (average eight seeds/umbel, n = 10) than caged hand-pollinated umbels (average 146 seeds/umbel) and uncaged umbels (average 481 seeds/umbel). Moreover, sticky traps placed on umbels within cages captured similar numbers of small arthropods as sticky traps placed on uncaged umbels, suggesting cages did not inhibit the movement of small arthropods to umbels. Therefore, despite the high abundance of small arthropods within fields, evidence to support their role as significant pollinators of commercial A. cepa seed crops was not found.

  2. Parameterization of the InVEST Crop Pollination Model to spatially predict abundance of wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Aiton) native bee pollinators in Maine, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Groff, Shannon C.; Loftin, Cynthia S.; Drummond, Frank; Bushmann, Sara; McGill, Brian J.

    2016-01-01

    Non-native honeybees historically have been managed for crop pollination, however, recent population declines draw attention to pollination services provided by native bees. We applied the InVEST Crop Pollination model, developed to predict native bee abundance from habitat resources, in Maine's wild blueberry crop landscape. We evaluated model performance with parameters informed by four approaches: 1) expert opinion; 2) sensitivity analysis; 3) sensitivity analysis informed model optimization; and, 4) simulated annealing (uninformed) model optimization. Uninformed optimization improved model performance by 29% compared to expert opinion-informed model, while sensitivity-analysis informed optimization improved model performance by 54%. This suggests that expert opinion may not result in the best parameter values for the InVEST model. The proportion of deciduous/mixed forest within 2000 m of a blueberry field also reliably predicted native bee abundance in blueberry fields, however, the InVEST model provides an efficient tool to estimate bee abundance beyond the field perimeter.

  3. Strong pollinator-mediated selection for increased flower brightness and contrast in a deceptive orchid.

    PubMed

    Sletvold, Nina; Trunschke, Judith; Smit, Mart; Verbeek, Jeffrey; Ågren, Jon

    2016-03-01

    Contrasting flower color patterns that putatively attract or direct pollinators toward a reward are common among angiosperms. In the deceptive orchid Anacamptis morio, the lower petal, which makes up most of the floral display, has a light central patch with dark markings. Within populations, there is pronounced variation in petal brightness, patch size, amount of dark markings, and contrast between patch and petal margin. We tested whether pollinators mediate selection on these color traits and on morphology (plant height, number of flowers, corolla size, spur length), and whether selection is consistent with facilitated or negative frequency-dependent pollination. Pollinators mediated strong selection for increased petal brightness (Δβpoll = 0.42) and contrast (Δβpoll = 0.51). Pollinators also tended to mediate stabilizing selection on brightness (Δγpoll = -0.27, n.s.) favoring the most common phenotype in the population. Selection for reduced petal brightness among hand-pollinated plants indicated a fitness cost associated with brightness. The results demonstrate that flower color traits influence pollination success and seed production in A. morio, indicating that they affect attractiveness to pollinators, efficiency of pollen transfer, or both. The documented selection is consistent with facilitated pollination and selection for color convergence toward cooccurring rewarding species.

  4. Functionality of Varroa-Resistant Honey Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) When Used in Migratory Beekeeping for Crop Pollination

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Two types of honey bees, Apis mellifera L., that were bred for resistance to Varroa destructor Anderson & Trueman were evaluated for performance when used for beekeeping in an intensive, migratory crop pollination system. Colonies of these stocks (Russian honey bees [RHB] and outcrosses of bees with...

  5. Roadmap to increased cover crop adoption

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Cover crops are increasingly utilized by farmers and promoted by agronomists for the multiple benefits they contribute to soil and crop management systems. Yet, only a small percentage of cropland is planted to cover crops. In June of 2012, the National Wildlife Federation brought together 36 of the...

  6. Functionality of Varroa-resistant honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) when used in migratory beekeeping for crop pollination.

    PubMed

    Danka, Robert G; De Guzman, Lilia I; Rinderer, Thomas E; Sylvester, H Allen; Wagener, Christine M; Bourgeois, A Lelania; Harris, Jeffrey W; Villa, José D

    2012-04-01

    Two types of honey bees, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae), bred for resistance to Varroa destructor Anderson & Trueman were evaluated for performance when used in migratory crop pollination. Colonies of Russian honey bees (RHB) and outcrossed bees with Varroa-sensitive hygiene (VSH) were managed without miticide treatments and compared with colonies of Italian honey bees that served as controls. Control colonies were managed as groups which either were treated twice each year against V. destructor (CT) or kept untreated (CU). Totals of 240 and 247 colonies were established initially for trials in 2008 and 2009, respectively. RHB and VSH colonies generally had adult and brood populations similar to those of the standard CT group regarding pollination requirements. For pollination of almonds [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A.Webb] in February, percentages of colonies meeting the required six or more frames of adult bees were 57% (VSH), 56% (CT), 39% (RHB), and 34% (CU). RHB are known to have small colonies in early spring, but this can be overcome with appropriate feeding. For later pollination requirements in May to July, 94-100% of colonies in the four groups met pollination size requirements for apples (Malus domestica Borkh.), cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton), and lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium Aiton). Infestations with V. destructor usually were lowest in CT colonies and tended to be lower in VSH colonies than in RHB and CU colonies. This study demonstrates that bees with the VSH trait and pure RHB offer alternatives for beekeepers to use for commercial crop pollination while reducing reliance on miticides. The high frequency of queen loss (only approximately one fourth of original queens survived each year) suggests that frequent requeening is necessary to maintain desired genetics.

  7. Ecological and evolutionary conditions for fruit abortion to regulate pollinating seed-eaters and increase plant production

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Holland, J. Nathaniel; DeAngelis, Donald L.

    2002-01-01

    Coevolved mutualisms, such as those between senita cacti, yuccas, and their respective obligate pollinators, benefit both species involved in the interaction. However, in these pollination mutualisms the pollinator's larvae impose a cost on plants through consumption of developing seeds and fruit. The effects of pollinators on benefits and costs are expected to vary with the abundance of pollinators, because large population sizes result in more eggs and larval seed-eaters. Here, we develop the hypothesis that fruit abortion, which is common in yucca, senita, and plants in general, could in some cases have the function of limiting pollinator abundance and, thereby, increasing fruit production. Using a general steady-state model of fruit production and pollinator dynamics, we demonstrate that plants involved in pollinating seed-eater mutualisms can increase their fecundity by randomly aborting fruit. We show that the ecological conditions under which fruit abortion can improve plants fecundity are not unusual. They are best met when the plant is long-lived, the population dynamics of the pollinator are much faster than those of the plant, the loss of one fruit via abortion kills a larva that would have the expectation of destroying more than one fruit through its future egg laying as an adult moth, and the effects of fruit abortion on pollinator abundance are spatially localized. We then use the approach of adaptive dynamics to find conditions under which a fruit abortion strategy based on regulating the pollinator population could feasibly evolve in this type of plant–pollinator interaction.

  8. Ecological and evolutionary conditions for fruit abortion to regulate pollinating seed-eaters and increase plant reproduction.

    PubMed

    Holland, J Nathaniel; DeAngelis, Donald L

    2002-05-01

    Coevolved mutualisms, such as those between senita cacti, yuccas, and their respective obligate pollinators, benefit both species involved in the interaction. However, in these pollination mutualisms the pollinator's larvae impose a cost on plants through consumption of developing seeds and fruit. The effects of pollinators on benefits and costs are expected to vary with the abundance of pollinators, because large population sizes result in more eggs and larval seed-eaters. Here, we develop the hypothesis that fruit abortion, which is common in yucca, senita, and plants in general, could in some cases have the function of limiting pollinator abundance and, thereby, increasing fruit production. Using a general steady-state model of fruit production and pollinator dynamics, we demonstrate that plants involved in pollinating seed-eater mutualisms can increase their fecundity by randomly aborting fruit. We show that the ecological conditions under which fruit abortion can improve plants fecundity are not unusual. They are best met when the plant is long-lived, the population dynamics of the pollinator are much faster than those of the plant, the loss of one fruit via abortion kills a larva that would have the expectation of destroying more than one fruit through its future egg laying as an adult moth, and the effects of fruit abortion on pollinator abundance are spatially localized. We then use the approach of adaptive dynamics to find conditions under which a fruit abortion strategy based on regulating the pollinator population could feasibly evolve in this type of plant-pollinator interaction.

  9. When bigger is not better: intraspecific competition for pollination increases with population size in invasive milkweeds.

    PubMed

    Ward, Megan; Johnson, Steven D; Zalucki, Myron P

    2013-04-01

    One of the essential requirements for an introduced plant species to become invasive is an ability to reproduce outside the native range, particularly when initial populations are small. If a reproductive Allee effect is operating, plants in small populations will have reduced reproductive success relative to plants in larger populations. Alternatively, if plants in small populations experience less competition for pollination than those in large populations, they may actually have higher levels of reproductive success than plants in large populations. To resolve this uncertainty, we investigated how the per capita fecundity of plants was affected by population size in three invasive milkweed species. Field surveys of seed production in natural populations of different sizes but similar densities were conducted for three pollinator-dependent invasive species, namely Asclepias curassavica, Gomphocarpus fruticosus and G. physocarpus. Additionally, supplemental hand-pollinations were performed in small and large populations in order to determine whether reproductive output was limited by pollinator activity in these populations. Reproductive Allee effects were not detected in any of the study species. Instead, plants in small populations exhibited remarkably high levels of reproductive output compared to those in large populations. Increased fruit production following supplemental hand-pollinations suggested that the lower reproductive output of naturally pollinated plants in large populations is a consequence of pollen limitation rather than limitation due to abiotic resources. This is consistent with increased intraspecific competition for pollination amongst plants in large populations. It is likely that the invasion of these milkweed species in Australia has been enhanced because plants in small founding populations experience less intraspecific competition for pollinators than those in large populations, and thus have the ability to produce copious amounts of

  10. Differential pollen placement on an Old World nectar bat increases pollination efficiency

    PubMed Central

    Stewart, Alyssa B.; Dudash, Michele R.

    2016-01-01

    Background and Aims Plant species that share pollinators are potentially subject to non-adaptive interspecific pollen transfer, resulting in reduced reproductive success. Mechanisms that increase pollination efficiency between conspecific individuals are therefore highly beneficial. Many nocturnally flowering plant species in Thailand are pollinated by the nectar bat Eonycteris spelaea (Pteropodidae). This study tested the hypothesis that plant species within a community reduce interspecific pollen movement by placing pollen on different areas of the bat’s body. Methods Using flight cage trials, pollen transfer by E. spelaea was compared between conspecific versus heterospecific flowers across four bat-pollinated plant genera. Pollen from four locations on the bat’s body was also quantified to determine if pollen placement varies by plant species. Key Results It was found that E. spelaea transfers significantly more pollen between conspecific than heterospecific flowers, and that diverse floral designs produce significantly different patterns of pollen deposition on E. spelaea. Conclusions In the Old World tropics, differential pollen placement is a mechanism that reduces competition among bat-pollinated plant species sharing a common pollinator. PMID:26482654

  11. Diversity of wild bees supports pollination services in an urbanized landscape.

    PubMed

    Lowenstein, David M; Matteson, Kevin C; Minor, Emily S

    2015-11-01

    Plantings in residential neighborhoods can support wild pollinators. However, it is unknown how effectively wild pollinators maintain pollination services in small, urban gardens with diverse floral resources. We used a 'mobile garden' experimental design, whereby potted plants of cucumber, eggplant, and purple coneflower were brought to 30 residential yards in Chicago, IL, USA, to enable direct assessment of pollination services provided by wild pollinator communities. We measured fruit and seed set and investigated the effect of within-yard characteristics and adjacent floral resources on plant pollination. Increased pollinator visitation and taxonomic richness generally led to increases in fruit and seed set for all focal plants. Furthermore, fruit and seed set were correlated across the three species, suggesting that pollination services vary across the landscape in ways that are consistent among different plant species. Plant species varied in terms of which pollinator groups provided the most visits and benefit for pollination. Cucumber pollination was linked to visitation by small sweat bees (Lasioglossum spp.), whereas eggplant pollination was linked to visits by bumble bees. Purple coneflower was visited by the most diverse group of pollinators and, perhaps due to this phenomenon, was more effectively pollinated in florally-rich gardens. Our results demonstrate how a diversity of wild bees supports pollination of multiple plant species, highlighting the importance of pollinator conservation within cities. Non-crop resources should continue to be planted in urban gardens, as these resources have a neutral and potentially positive effect on crop pollination.

  12. Do Pollinators Contribute to Nutritional Health?

    PubMed Central

    Ellis, Alicia M.; Myers, Samuel S.; Ricketts, Taylor H.

    2015-01-01

    Despite suggestions that animal pollinators are crucial for human nutritional health, no studies have actually tested this claim. Here, we combined data on crop pollination requirements, food nutrient densities, and actual human diets to predict the effects of pollinator losses on the risk of nutrient deficiency. In four developing countries and across five nutrients, we found that 0 to 56% of populations would become newly at risk if pollinators were removed. Increases in risk were most pronounced for vitamin A in populations with moderate levels of total nutrient intake. Overall, the effects of pollinator decline varied widely among populations and nutrients. We conclude that the importance of pollinators to human nutrition depends critically on the composition of local diets, and cannot be reliably predicted from global commodity analyses. We identify conditions under which severe health effects of pollinator loss are most likely to occur. PMID:25575027

  13. Do pollinators contribute to nutritional health?

    PubMed

    Ellis, Alicia M; Myers, Samuel S; Ricketts, Taylor H

    2015-01-01

    Despite suggestions that animal pollinators are crucial for human nutritional health, no studies have actually tested this claim. Here, we combined data on crop pollination requirements, food nutrient densities, and actual human diets to predict the effects of pollinator losses on the risk of nutrient deficiency. In four developing countries and across five nutrients, we found that 0 to 56% of populations would become newly at risk if pollinators were removed. Increases in risk were most pronounced for vitamin A in populations with moderate levels of total nutrient intake. Overall, the effects of pollinator decline varied widely among populations and nutrients. We conclude that the importance of pollinators to human nutrition depends critically on the composition of local diets, and cannot be reliably predicted from global commodity analyses. We identify conditions under which severe health effects of pollinator loss are most likely to occur.

  14. Herbivory Increases Fruit Set in Silene latifolia: A Consequence of Induced Pollinator-Attracting Floral Volatiles?

    PubMed

    Cozzolino, Salvatore; Fineschi, Silvia; Litto, Maria; Scopece, Giovanni; Trunschke, Judith; Schiestl, Florian P

    2015-07-01

    Although the effect of herbivory on plant reproduction has been investigated in some detail, little is known about how herbivores affect floral signalling. Here, we investigated the effect of foliar herbivory by the African Cotton Leafworm (Spodoptera littoralis) on floral signalling and fruit set in the White Campion (Silene latifolia). We found no effects of herbivory on floral traits involved in visual signalling (flower number, corolla diameter, calyx length, petal length) or in amount of nectar produced. However, Spodoptera-infested plants emitted higher amounts of the two floral volatiles, (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate and β-ocimene, than control plants. Open pollinated, infested plants also were found to produce more fruits than control plants, but only with nocturnal pollinators. Experimental addition of the two induced floral volatiles to non-infested Silene flowers also led to the production of more fruits with nocturnal pollination. This suggests that higher fruit production in herbivore-infested plants was caused by increased nocturnal pollinator attraction, mediated by the induced floral emission of these two volatiles. Our results show that the effects of herbivory on plant reproductive success are not necessarily detrimental, as plants can compensate herbivory with increased investment in pollinator attraction.

  15. Using the Animal Model to Accelerate Response to Selection in a Self-Pollinating Crop

    PubMed Central

    Cowling, Wallace A.; Stefanova, Katia T.; Beeck, Cameron P.; Nelson, Matthew N.; Hargreaves, Bonnie L. W.; Sass, Olaf; Gilmour, Arthur R.; Siddique, Kadambot H. M.

    2015-01-01

    We used the animal model in S0 (F1) recurrent selection in a self-pollinating crop including, for the first time, phenotypic and relationship records from self progeny, in addition to cross progeny, in the pedigree. We tested the model in Pisum sativum, the autogamous annual species used by Mendel to demonstrate the particulate nature of inheritance. Resistance to ascochyta blight (Didymella pinodes complex) in segregating S0 cross progeny was assessed by best linear unbiased prediction over two cycles of selection. Genotypic concurrence across cycles was provided by pure-line ancestors. From cycle 1, 102/959 S0 plants were selected, and their S1 self progeny were intercrossed and selfed to produce 430 S0 and 575 S2 individuals that were evaluated in cycle 2. The analysis was improved by including all genetic relationships (with crossing and selfing in the pedigree), additive and nonadditive genetic covariances between cycles, fixed effects (cycles and spatial linear trends), and other random effects. Narrow-sense heritability for ascochyta blight resistance was 0.305 and 0.352 in cycles 1 and 2, respectively, calculated from variance components in the full model. The fitted correlation of predicted breeding values across cycles was 0.82. Average accuracy of predicted breeding values was 0.851 for S2 progeny of S1 parent plants and 0.805 for S0 progeny tested in cycle 2, and 0.878 for S1 parent plants for which no records were available. The forecasted response to selection was 11.2% in the next cycle with 20% S0 selection proportion. This is the first application of the animal model to cyclic selection in heterozygous populations of selfing plants. The method can be used in genomic selection, and for traits measured on S0-derived bulks such as grain yield. PMID:25943522

  16. Resource effects on solitary bee reproduction in a managed crop pollination system

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The number of solitary bees (Megachile rotundata) released for pollination in a managed system (Medicago sativa seed production) and the number of flowers available for brood provisioning may affect reproduction through maternal resource allocation and investment. Overwhelming, limited, or adequate...

  17. Contrasting effects of mass-flowering crops on bee pollination of hedge plants at different spatial and temporal scales.

    PubMed

    Kovács-Hostyánszki, Anikó; Haenke, Sebastian; Batáry, Péter; Jauker, Birgit; Báldi, András; Tscharntke, Teja; Holzschuh, Andrea

    2013-12-01

    Landscape-wide mass-flowering of oilseed rape (canola Brassica napus) can considerably affect wild bee communities and pollination success of wild plants. We aimed to assess the impact of oilseed rape on the pollination of wild plants and bee abundance during and after oilseed-rape bloom, including effects on crop-noncrop spillover at landscape and adjacent-field scales. We focused on two shrub species (hawthorn Crataegus spp., dog rose Rosa canina) and adjacent herb flowering in forest edges, connected hedges, and isolated hedges in Lower Saxony, Germany. We selected 35 landscape circles of 1 km radius, differing in the amount of oilseed rape; 18 were adjacent to oilseed rape and 17 to cereal fields, and we quantified bee density via pan traps at all sites. Adjacent oilseed rape positively affected fruit mass and seed number per fruit of simultaneously flowering hawthorn (no effect on dog rose, which flowers after the oilseed rape bloom). At the landscape scale, oilseed rape had a negative effect on bumble bee density in the hedges during flowering due to dilution of pollinators per unit area and the consequently intensified competition between oilseed rape and wild shrubs, but a positive effect after flowering when bees moved to the hedges, which still provided resources. In contrast, positive landscape-scale effects of oilseed rape were found throughout the season in forest edges, suggesting that edges support nesting activity and enhanced food resources. Our results show that oilseed rape effects on bee abundances and pollination success in seminatural habitats depend on the spatial and temporal scale considered and on the habitat type, the wild plant species, and the time of crop flowering. These scale-dependent positive and negative effects should be considered in evaluations of landscape-scale configuration and composition of crops. Food resources provided by mass-flowering crops should be most beneficial for landscape-wide enhancement of wild bee

  18. Pollination Reservoirs in Lowbush Blueberry (Ericales: Ericaceae).

    PubMed

    Venturini, E M; Drummond, F A; Hoshide, A K; Dibble, A C; Stack, L B

    2017-01-09

    Pollinator-dependent agriculture heavily relies upon a single pollinator-the honey bee. To diversify pollination strategies, growers are turning to alternatives. Densely planted reservoirs of pollen- and nectar-rich flowers (pollination reservoirs, hereafter "PRs") may improve pollination services provided by wild bees. Our focal agroecosystem, lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Aiton), exists in a simple landscape uniquely positioned to benefit from PRs. First, we contrast bee visitation rates and use of three types of PR. We consider the effects of PRs on wild bee diversity and the composition of bumble bee pollen loads. We contrast field-level crop pollination services between PRs and controls four years postestablishment. Last, we calculate the time to pay for PR investment. Social bees preferentially used clover plantings; solitary bees preferentially used wildflower plantings. On average, bumble bee pollen loads in treatment fields contained 37% PR pollen. PRs significantly increased visitation rates to the crop in year 4, and exerted a marginally significant positive influence on fruit set. The annualized costs of PRs were covered by the fourth year using the measured increase in pollination services. Our findings provide evidence of the positive impact of PRs on crop pollination services.

  19. Using cash cover crops to provide pollinator provisions in the Upper Midwest

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    To date, the use of winter cover crops in MN and SD has been slow to be adopted. The short growing season and potential for late, wet springs make cover crops risky to farmers with little economic return. The use of cash cover crops in this area offers the standard advantages of other cover crops, w...

  20. Insect pollination reduces yield loss following heat stress in faba bean (Vicia faba L.).

    PubMed

    Bishop, Jacob; Jones, Hannah Elizabeth; Lukac, Martin; Potts, Simon Geoffrey

    2016-03-15

    Global food security, particularly crop fertilization and yield production, is threatened by heat waves that are projected to increase in frequency and magnitude with climate change. Effects of heat stress on the fertilization of insect-pollinated plants are not well understood, but experiments conducted primarily in self-pollinated crops, such as wheat, show that transfer of fertile pollen may recover yield following stress. We hypothesized that in the partially pollinator-dependent crop, faba bean (Vicia faba L.), insect pollination would elicit similar yield recovery following heat stress. We exposed potted faba bean plants to heat stress for 5 days during floral development and anthesis. Temperature treatments were representative of heat waves projected in the UK for the period 2021-2050 and onwards. Following temperature treatments, plants were distributed in flight cages and either pollinated by domesticated Bombus terrestris colonies or received no insect pollination. Yield loss due to heat stress at 30 °C was greater in plants excluded from pollinators (15%) compared to those with bumblebee pollination (2.5%). Thus, the pollinator dependency of faba bean yield was 16% at control temperatures (18-26 °C) and extreme stress (34 °C), but was 53% following intermediate heat stress at 30 °C. These findings provide the first evidence that the pollinator dependency of crops can be modified by heat stress, and suggest that insect pollination may become more important in crop production as the probability of heat waves increases.

  1. Contrasting Pollinators and Pollination in Native and Non-Native Regions of Highbush Blueberry Production

    PubMed Central

    Gibbs, Jason; Elle, Elizabeth; Bobiwash, Kyle; Haapalainen, Tiia; Isaacs, Rufus

    2016-01-01

    Highbush blueberry yields are dependent on pollination by bees, and introduction of managed honey bees is the primary strategy used for pollination of this crop. Complementary pollination services are also provided by wild bees, yet highbush blueberry is increasingly grown in regions outside its native range where wild bee communities may be less adapted to the crop and growers may still be testing appropriate honey bee stocking densities. To contrast crop pollination in native and non-native production regions, we sampled commercial ‘Bluecrop’ blueberry fields in British Columbia and Michigan with grower-selected honey bee stocking rates (0–39.5 hives per ha) to compare bee visitors to blueberry flowers, pollination and yield deficits, and how those vary with local- and landscape-scale factors. Observed and Chao-1 estimated species richness, as well as Shannon diversity of wild bees visiting blueberries were significantly higher in Michigan where the crop is within its native range. The regional bee communities were also significantly different, with Michigan farms having greater dissimilarity than British Columbia. Blueberry fields in British Columbia had fewer visits by honey bees than those in Michigan, irrespective of stocking rate, and they also had lower berry weights and a significant pollination deficit. In British Columbia, pollination service increased with abundance of wild bumble bees, whereas in Michigan the abundance of honey bees was the primary predictor of pollination. The proportion of semi-natural habitat at local and landscape scales was positively correlated with wild bee abundance in both regions. Wild bee abundance declined significantly with distance from natural borders in Michigan, but not in British Columbia where large-bodied bumble bees dominated the wild bee community. Our results highlight the varying dependence of crop production on different types of bees and reveal that strategies for pollination improvement in the same crop

  2. Pollination of lark daisy on roadsides declines as traffic speed increases along an Amazonian highway.

    PubMed

    Dargas, J H F; Chaves, S R; Fischer, E

    2016-05-01

    Ecological disturbances caused by roadways have previously been reported, but traffic speed has not been addressed. We investigate effects of traffic speed on pollination of Centratherum punctatum (Asteraceae) along an Amazonian highway roadside. We hypothesised that frequency of flower visitors, duration of single visits and pollen deposition on stigmas will vary negatively as traffic speed increases. After measuring vehicle velocities, we classified three road sections as low-, mid- and high-velocity traffic. The main pollinator bee, Augochlora sp., visited C. punctatum inflorescences with decreasing frequency from low- to high-velocity roadside sections, whereas the nectar thief butterflies did the opposite. Duration of single visits by bees and butterflies was shorter, and arrival of pollen on C. punctatum stigmas was lower, in high- than in low-velocity roadside. Air turbulence due to passing vehicles increases with velocity and disturbed the flower visitors. Overall, results support that traffic velocity negatively affects foraging of flower visitors and the pollination of C. punctatum on roadsides.

  3. Pesticide use within a pollinator-dependent crop has negative effects on the abundance and species richness of sweat bees, Lasioglossum spp., and on bumble bee colony growth.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Pesticides are implicated in current bee declines. Wild bees that nest or forage within agroecosystems may be exposed to numerous pesticides applied throughout their life cycles, with potential additive or synergistic effects. In pollinator-dependent crops, pesticides may reduce bee populations, cre...

  4. Changes in the Relative Abundance and Movement of Insect Pollinators During the Flowering Cycle of Brassica rapa Crops: Implications for Gene Flow

    PubMed Central

    Mesa, Laura A.; Howlett, Bradley G.; Grant, Jan E.; Didham, Raphael K.

    2013-01-01

    The potential movement of transgenes from genetically modified crops to non-genetically modified crops via insect-mediated pollen dispersal has been highlighted as one of the areas of greatest concern in regards to genetically modified crops. Pollen movement depends sensitively on spatial and temporal variation in the movement of insect pollinators between crop fields. This study tested the degree of variation in the diversity and relative abundance of flower-visiting insects entering versus leaving pak choi, Brassica rapa var. chinensis L. (Brassicales: Brassicaceae), crops throughout different stages of the flowering cycle. The relative abundance of flower-visiting insects varied significantly with Brassica crop phenology. Greater numbers of flower-visiting insects were captured inside rather than outside the crop fields, with the highest capture rates of flower-visitors coinciding with the peak of flowering in both spring-flowering and summer-flowering crops. Moreover, the ratio of flower-visiting insects entering versus leaving crop fields also varied considerably with changing crop phenology. Despite high variation in relative capture rates, the data strongly indicate non-random patterns of variation in insect movement in relation to crop phenology, with early-season aggregation of flower-visiting insects entering and remaining in the crop, and then mass emigration of flower-visiting insects leaving the crop late in the flowering season. Although pollen movement late in the flowering cycle might contribute relatively little to total seed set (and hence crop production), the findings here suggest that extensive late-season pollinator redistribution in the landscape could contribute disproportionately to long-distance gene movement between crops. PMID:23937538

  5. Synergistic effects of non-Apis bees and honey bees for pollination services.

    PubMed

    Brittain, Claire; Williams, Neal; Kremen, Claire; Klein, Alexandra-Maria

    2013-03-07

    In diverse pollinator communities, interspecific interactions may modify the behaviour and increase the pollination effectiveness of individual species. Because agricultural production reliant on pollination is growing, improving pollination effectiveness could increase crop yield without any increase in agricultural intensity or area. In California almond, a crop highly dependent on honey bee pollination, we explored the foraging behaviour and pollination effectiveness of honey bees in orchards with simple (honey bee only) and diverse (non-Apis bees present) bee communities. In orchards with non-Apis bees, the foraging behaviour of honey bees changed and the pollination effectiveness of a single honey bee visit was greater than in orchards where non-Apis bees were absent. This change translated to a greater proportion of fruit set in these orchards. Our field experiments show that increased pollinator diversity can synergistically increase pollination service, through species interactions that alter the behaviour and resulting functional quality of a dominant pollinator species. These results of functional synergy between species were supported by an additional controlled cage experiment with Osmia lignaria and Apis mellifera. Our findings highlight a largely unexplored facilitative component of the benefit of biodiversity to ecosystem services, and represent a way to improve pollinator-dependent crop yields in a sustainable manner.

  6. Plant diversity increases spatio-temporal niche complementarity in plant-pollinator interactions.

    PubMed

    Venjakob, Christine; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Ebeling, Anne; Tscharntke, Teja; Scherber, Christoph

    2016-04-01

    Ongoing biodiversity decline impairs ecosystem processes, including pollination. Flower visitation, an important indicator of pollination services, is influenced by plant species richness. However, the spatio-temporal responses of different pollinator groups to plant species richness have not yet been analyzed experimentally. Here, we used an experimental plant species richness gradient to analyze plant-pollinator interactions with an unprecedented spatio-temporal resolution. We observed four pollinator functional groups (honeybees, bumblebees, solitary bees, and hoverflies) in experimental plots at three different vegetation strata between sunrise and sunset. Visits were modified by plant species richness interacting with time and space. Furthermore, the complementarity of pollinator functional groups in space and time was stronger in species-rich mixtures. We conclude that high plant diversity should ensure stable pollination services, mediated via spatio-temporal niche complementarity in flower visitation.

  7. Crop Yield Response to Increasing Biochar Rates

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The benefit or detriment to crop yield from biochar application varies with biochar type/rate, soil, crop, or climate. The objective of this research was to identify yield response of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), corn (Zea mayes L.), and peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) to hardwood biochar applied at...

  8. Managed Bumblebees Outperform Honeybees in Increasing Peach Fruit Set in China: Different Limiting Processes with Different Pollinators

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Paul H.; Vaissière, Bernard E.; Zhou, Zhiyong; Gai, Qinbao; Dong, Jie; An, Jiandong

    2015-01-01

    Peach Prunus persica (L.) Batsch is self-compatible and largely self-fertile, but under greenhouse conditions pollinators must be introduced to achieve good fruit set and quality. Because little work has been done to assess the effectiveness of different pollinators on peach trees under greenhouse conditions, we studied ‘Okubo’ peach in greenhouse tunnels near Beijing between 2012 and 2014. We measured pollen deposition, pollen-tube growth rates, ovary development, and initial fruit set after the flowers were visited by either of two managed pollinators: bumblebees, Bombus patagiatus Nylander, and honeybees, Apis mellifera L. The results show that B. patagiatus is more effective than A. mellifera as a pollinator of peach in greenhouses because of differences in two processes. First, B. patagiatus deposits more pollen grains on peach stigmas than A. mellifera, both during a single visit and during a whole day of open pollination. Second, there are differences in the fertilization performance of the pollen deposited. Half of the flowers visited by B. patagiatus are fertilized 9–11 days after bee visits, while for flowers visited by A. mellifera, half are fertilized 13–15 days after bee visits. Consequently, fruit development is also accelerated by bumblebees, showing that the different pollinators have not only different pollination efficiency, but also influence the subsequent time course of fertilization and fruit set. Flowers visited by B. patagiatus show faster ovary growth and ultimately these flowers produce more fruit. Our work shows that pollinators may influence fruit production beyond the amount of pollen delivered. We show that managed indigenous bumblebees significantly outperform introduced honeybees in increasing peach initial fruit set under greenhouse conditions. PMID:25799170

  9. Managed bumblebees outperform honeybees in increasing peach fruit set in China: different limiting processes with different pollinators.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Hong; Huang, Jiaxing; Williams, Paul H; Vaissière, Bernard E; Zhou, Zhiyong; Gai, Qinbao; Dong, Jie; An, Jiandong

    2015-01-01

    Peach Prunus persica (L.) Batsch is self-compatible and largely self-fertile, but under greenhouse conditions pollinators must be introduced to achieve good fruit set and quality. Because little work has been done to assess the effectiveness of different pollinators on peach trees under greenhouse conditions, we studied 'Okubo' peach in greenhouse tunnels near Beijing between 2012 and 2014. We measured pollen deposition, pollen-tube growth rates, ovary development, and initial fruit set after the flowers were visited by either of two managed pollinators: bumblebees, Bombus patagiatus Nylander, and honeybees, Apis mellifera L. The results show that B. patagiatus is more effective than A. mellifera as a pollinator of peach in greenhouses because of differences in two processes. First, B. patagiatus deposits more pollen grains on peach stigmas than A. mellifera, both during a single visit and during a whole day of open pollination. Second, there are differences in the fertilization performance of the pollen deposited. Half of the flowers visited by B. patagiatus are fertilized 9-11 days after bee visits, while for flowers visited by A. mellifera, half are fertilized 13-15 days after bee visits. Consequently, fruit development is also accelerated by bumblebees, showing that the different pollinators have not only different pollination efficiency, but also influence the subsequent time course of fertilization and fruit set. Flowers visited by B. patagiatus show faster ovary growth and ultimately these flowers produce more fruit. Our work shows that pollinators may influence fruit production beyond the amount of pollen delivered. We show that managed indigenous bumblebees significantly outperform introduced honeybees in increasing peach initial fruit set under greenhouse conditions.

  10. Managed Bumble Bees (Bombus impatiens) (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Caged With Blueberry Bushes at High Density Did Not Increase Fruit Set or Fruit Weight Compared to Open Pollination.

    PubMed

    Campbell, J W; O'Brien, J; Irvin, J H; Kimmel, C B; Daniels, J C; Ellis, J D

    2017-02-17

    Highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) is an important crop grown throughout Florida. Currently, most blueberry growers use honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) to provide pollination services for highbush blueberries even though bumble bees (Bombus spp.) have been shown to be more efficient at pollinating blueberries on a per bee basis. In general, contribution of bumble bees to the pollination of commercial highbush blueberries in Florida is unknown. Herein, we determined if managed bumble bees could contribute to highbush blueberry pollination. There were four treatments in this study: two treatments of caged commercial bumble bee (Bombus impatiens Cresson) colonies (low and high weight hives), a treatment excluding all pollinators, and a final treatment which allowed all pollinators (managed and wild pollinators) in the area have access to the plot. All treatments were located within a highbush blueberry field containing two cultivars of blooming plants, 'Emerald' and 'Millennia', with each cage containing 16 mature blueberry plants. We gathered data on fruit set, berry weight, and number of seeds produced per berry. When pollinators were excluded, fruit set was significantly lower in both cultivars (<8%) compared to that in all of the other treatments (>58%). Berry weight was not significantly different among the treatments, and the number of seeds per berry did not show a clear response. This study emphasizes the importance of bumble bees as an effective pollinator of blueberries and the potential beneficial implications of the addition of bumble bees in commercial blueberry greenhouses or high tunnels.

  11. Echium as an oilseed crop in Minnesota: Flowering dates, pollinators, and seed yields

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Echium (Echium plantagineum) can be a serious winter annual weed in Mediterranean-type environments. However, it also can be an alternative oilseed crop in summer-wet temperate regions. It produces seed oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids. One of these is stearidonic acid, which is desired highly by th...

  12. Milkweed (Gentianales: Apocynaceae): a farmscape resource for increasing parasitism of stink bugs (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) and providing nectar to insect pollinators and monarch butterflies.

    PubMed

    Tillman, P G; Carpenter, J E

    2014-04-01

    In peanut-cotton farmscapes in Georgia, the stink bugs Nezara viridula (L.) and Chinavia hilaris (Say) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) and the leaffooted bug, Leptoglossus phyllopus (L.) (Hemiptera: Coreidae), disperse at crop-to-crop interfaces to feed on bolls in cotton. The main objective of this study was to determine whether insecticide-free tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica L.), a nectar-producing plant, can increase parasitism of these bugs by Trichopoda pennipes (F.) (Diptera: Tachinidae) and provide nectar to monarch butterflies and insect pollinators in these farmscapes. Peanut-cotton plots with and without flowering milkweed plants were established in 2009 and 2010. Adult T. pennipes, monarch butterflies, honey bees, and native insect pollinators readily fed on floral nectar of milkweed. Monarch larvae feeding on milkweed vegetation successfully developed into pupae. In 2009, N. viridula was the primary host of T. pennipes in cotton, and parasitism of this pest by the parasitoid was significantly higher in milkweed cotton (61.6%) than in control cotton (13.3%). In 2010, parasitism of N. viridula, C. hilaris, and L. phyllopus by T. pennipes was significantly higher in milkweed cotton (24.0%) than in control cotton (1.1%). For both years of the study, these treatment differences were not owing to a response by the parasitoid to differences in host density, because density of hosts was not significantly different between treatments. In conclusion, incorporation of milkweed in peanut-cotton plots increased stink bug parasitism in cotton and provided nectar to insect pollinators and monarch butterflies.

  13. Benefits of increasing plant diversity in sustainable agroecosystems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Recent studies have revealed many potential benefits of increasing plant diversity in agroecosystems and production forests, including enhancing yields of crops, forage, and wood; stabilizing yields across time and space; enhancing pollinators and pollination; suppressing weeds and other pests; and ...

  14. Lack of pollinators limits fruit production in commercial blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum).

    PubMed

    Benjamin, Faye E; Winfree, Rachael

    2014-12-01

    Modern agriculture relies on domesticated pollinators such as the honey bee (Apis mellifera L.), and to a lesser extent on native pollinators, for the production of animal-pollinated crops. There is growing concern that pollinator availability may not keep pace with increasing agricultural production. However, whether crop production is in fact pollen-limited at the field scale has rarely been studied. Here, we ask whether commercial highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) production in New Jersey is limited by a lack of pollination even when growers provide honey bees at recommended densities. We studied two varieties of blueberry over 3 yr to determine whether blueberry crop production is pollen-limited and to measure the relative contributions of honey bees and native bees to blueberry pollination. We found two lines of evidence for pollen limitation. First, berries receiving supplemental hand-pollination were generally heavier than berries receiving ambient pollination. Second, mean berry mass increased significantly and nonasymptotically with honey bee flower visitation rate. While honey bees provided 86% of pollination and thus drove the findings reported above, native bees still contributed 14% of total pollination even in our conventionally managed, high-input agricultural system. Honey bees and native bees were also similarly efficient as pollinators on a per-visit basis. Overall, our study shows that pollination can be a limiting factor in commercial fruit production. Yields might increase with increased honey bee stocking rates and improved dispersal of hives within crop fields, and with habitat restoration to increase pollination provided by native bees.

  15. Cage-Fighting Bees: Can Aggressive Competition Increase Pollination Efficacy for an Oligolectic Native Bee?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Pollination efficacy of the oligolectic bee Ptilothrix bombiformis was measured as the number of pollen grains delivered to virgin Hibiscus stigmas. Such specialized bee foragers are often assumed to be highly efficient pollinators. Intriguingly, however, we discovered females fight over host blooms...

  16. Two Bee-Pollinated Plant Species Show Higher Seed Production when Grown in Gardens Compared to Arable Farmland

    PubMed Central

    Cussans, John; Goulson, David; Sanderson, Roy; Goffe, Louis; Darvill, Ben; Osborne, Juliet L.

    2010-01-01

    Background Insect pollinator abundance, in particular that of bees, has been shown to be high where there is a super-abundance of floral resources; for example in association with mass-flowering crops and also in gardens where flowering plants are often densely planted. Since land management affects pollinator numbers, it is also likely to affect the resultant pollination of plants growing in these habitats. We hypothesised that the seed or fruit set of two plant species, typically pollinated by bumblebees and/or honeybees might respond in one of two ways: 1) pollination success could be reduced when growing in a floriferous environment, via competition for pollinators, or 2) pollination success could be enhanced because of increased pollinator abundance in the vicinity. Methodology/Principal Findings We compared the pollination success of experimental plants of Glechoma hederacea L. and Lotus corniculatus L. growing in gardens and arable farmland. On the farms, the plants were placed either next to a mass-flowering crop (oilseed rape, Brassica napus L. or field beans, Vicia faba L.) or next to a cereal crop (wheat, Triticum spp.). Seed set of G. hederacea and fruit set of L. corniculatus were significantly higher in gardens compared to arable farmland. There was no significant difference in pollination success of G. hederacea when grown next to different crops, but for L. corniculatus, fruit set was higher in the plants growing next to oilseed rape when the crop was in flower. Conclusions/Significance The results show that pollination services can limit fruit set of wild plants in arable farmland, but there is some evidence that the presence of a flowering crop can facilitate their pollination (depending on species and season). We have also demonstrated that gardens are not only beneficial to pollinators, but also to the process of pollination. PMID:20668704

  17. Pollinator population size and pollination ecosystem service responses to enhancing floral and nesting resources.

    PubMed

    Häussler, Johanna; Sahlin, Ullrika; Baey, Charlotte; Smith, Henrik G; Clough, Yann

    2017-03-01

    Modeling pollination ecosystem services requires a spatially explicit, process-based approach because they depend on both the behavioral responses of pollinators to the amount and spatial arrangement of habitat and on the within- and between-season dynamics of pollinator populations in response to land use. We describe a novel pollinator model predicting flower visitation rates by wild central-place foragers (e.g., nesting bees) in spatially explicit landscapes. The model goes beyond existing approaches by: (1) integrating preferential use of more rewarding floral and nesting resources; (2) considering population growth over time; (3) allowing different dispersal distances for workers and reproductives; (4) providing visitation rates for use in crop pollination models. We use the model to estimate the effect of establishing grassy field margins offering nesting resources and a low quantity of flower resources, and/or late-flowering flower strips offering no nesting resources but abundant flowers, on bumble bee populations and visitation rates to flowers in landscapes that differ in amounts of linear seminatural habitats and early mass-flowering crops. Flower strips were three times more effective in increasing pollinator populations and visitation rates than field margins, and this effect increased over time. Late-blooming flower strips increased early-season visitation rates, but decreased visitation rates in other late-season flowers. Increases in population size over time in response to flower strips and amounts of linear seminatural habitats reduced this apparent competition for pollinators. Our spatially explicit, process-based model generates emergent patterns reflecting empirical observations, such that adding flower resources may have contrasting short- and long-term effects due to apparent competition for pollinators and pollinator population size increase. It allows exploring these effects and comparing effect sizes in ways not possible with other

  18. Crop domestication facilitated rapid geographical expansion of a specialist pollinator, the squash bee Peponapis pruinosa.

    PubMed

    López-Uribe, Margarita M; Cane, James H; Minckley, Robert L; Danforth, Bryan N

    2016-06-29

    Squash was first domesticated in Mexico and is now found throughout North America (NA) along with Peponapis pruinosa, a pollen specialist bee species of the squash genus Cucurbita The origin and spread of squash cultivation is well-studied archaeologically and phylogenetically; however, no study has documented how cultivation of this or any other crop has influenced species in mutualistic interactions. We used molecular markers to reconstruct the demographic range expansion and colonization routes of P. pruinosa from its native range into temperate NA. Populations east of the Rocky Mountains expanded from the wild host plant's range in Mexico and were established by a series of founder events. Eastern North America was most likely colonized from squash bee populations in the present-day continental Midwest USA and not from routes that followed the Gulf and Atlantic coasts from Mexico. Populations of P. pruinosa west of the Rockies spread north from the warm deserts much more recently, showing two genetically differentiated populations with no admixture: one in California and the other one in eastern Great Basin. These bees have repeatedly endured severe bottlenecks as they colonized NA, following human spread of their Cucurbita pollen hosts during the Holocene.

  19. Effects of pollination timing and distance on seed production in a dioecious weed Silene latifolia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, Jay F.; Duddu, Hema S. N.; Shirtliffe, Steven J.; Benaragama, Dilshan; Syrovy, Lena D.; Stanley, Katherine A.; Haile, Teketel A.

    2015-11-01

    Silene latifolia Poir. (white cockle or white campion) is an important invasive weed in North American agriculture. It exhibits dioecy, therefore, both male and female plants are required in order for seed production to occur. However, dioecious species being invasive is not common because of their limitations in pollination and subsequent seed production. The objective of this study is to determine the effect of pollination timing and distance on seed production of Silene latifolia. A series of experiments including pollination exclusion, timing and pollination distance were conducted in 2009 and 2010 at or around Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. For pollination exclusion, exclosures were built around the natural female plants for exclosure, sham-exclosure, and male and female combined treatments. Pollination timing was studied by applying exclosure, non-exclosure, night-exclosure, and day-exclosure treatments to individual female plants. Female plants were transplanted along a linear interval at six different distances from the pollen source to study the effect of pollination distance. S. latifolia was exclusively insect-pollinated and pollination occurred both day and night; however, in one year, pollination occurred mainly at night. Female plants that were in the range of 0-4 m from a compatible pollen source experienced no limitation to pollination. However, when the distance was increased further up to 128 m, pollination levels and subsequent seed production were declined. Moreover, there were differences in seed production between years suggesting that pollination was affected by the environmental conditions during pollination and the crop that white cockle was grown in. These experiments indicate that seed production in S. latifolia is limited by insect-pollination. Although there was pollination limitation for seed production at greater distances from a pollen source, the high fecundity rate (3000-18000 seeds per plant) resulted in a large seed output. Thus, we

  20. Increasing Crop Diversity Mitigates Weather Variations and Improves Yield Stability

    PubMed Central

    Gaudin, Amélie C. M.; Tolhurst, Tor N.; Ker, Alan P.; Janovicek, Ken; Tortora, Cristina; Martin, Ralph C.; Deen, William

    2015-01-01

    Cropping sequence diversification provides a systems approach to reduce yield variations and improve resilience to multiple environmental stresses. Yield advantages of more diverse crop rotations and their synergistic effects with reduced tillage are well documented, but few studies have quantified the impact of these management practices on yields and their stability when soil moisture is limiting or in excess. Using yield and weather data obtained from a 31-year long term rotation and tillage trial in Ontario, we tested whether crop rotation diversity is associated with greater yield stability when abnormal weather conditions occur. We used parametric and non-parametric approaches to quantify the impact of rotation diversity (monocrop, 2-crops, 3-crops without or with one or two legume cover crops) and tillage (conventional or reduced tillage) on yield probabilities and the benefits of crop diversity under different soil moisture and temperature scenarios. Although the magnitude of rotation benefits varied with crops, weather patterns and tillage, yield stability significantly increased when corn and soybean were integrated into more diverse rotations. Introducing small grains into short corn-soybean rotation was enough to provide substantial benefits on long-term soybean yields and their stability while the effects on corn were mostly associated with the temporal niche provided by small grains for underseeded red clover or alfalfa. Crop diversification strategies increased the probability of harnessing favorable growing conditions while decreasing the risk of crop failure. In hot and dry years, diversification of corn-soybean rotations and reduced tillage increased yield by 7% and 22% for corn and soybean respectively. Given the additional advantages associated with cropping system diversification, such a strategy provides a more comprehensive approach to lowering yield variability and improving the resilience of cropping systems to multiple environmental

  1. Increasing crop diversity mitigates weather variations and improves yield stability.

    PubMed

    Gaudin, Amélie C M; Tolhurst, Tor N; Ker, Alan P; Janovicek, Ken; Tortora, Cristina; Martin, Ralph C; Deen, William

    2015-01-01

    Cropping sequence diversification provides a systems approach to reduce yield variations and improve resilience to multiple environmental stresses. Yield advantages of more diverse crop rotations and their synergistic effects with reduced tillage are well documented, but few studies have quantified the impact of these management practices on yields and their stability when soil moisture is limiting or in excess. Using yield and weather data obtained from a 31-year long term rotation and tillage trial in Ontario, we tested whether crop rotation diversity is associated with greater yield stability when abnormal weather conditions occur. We used parametric and non-parametric approaches to quantify the impact of rotation diversity (monocrop, 2-crops, 3-crops without or with one or two legume cover crops) and tillage (conventional or reduced tillage) on yield probabilities and the benefits of crop diversity under different soil moisture and temperature scenarios. Although the magnitude of rotation benefits varied with crops, weather patterns and tillage, yield stability significantly increased when corn and soybean were integrated into more diverse rotations. Introducing small grains into short corn-soybean rotation was enough to provide substantial benefits on long-term soybean yields and their stability while the effects on corn were mostly associated with the temporal niche provided by small grains for underseeded red clover or alfalfa. Crop diversification strategies increased the probability of harnessing favorable growing conditions while decreasing the risk of crop failure. In hot and dry years, diversification of corn-soybean rotations and reduced tillage increased yield by 7% and 22% for corn and soybean respectively. Given the additional advantages associated with cropping system diversification, such a strategy provides a more comprehensive approach to lowering yield variability and improving the resilience of cropping systems to multiple environmental

  2. Large-scale pollination experiment demonstrates the importance of insect pollination in winter oilseed rape.

    PubMed

    Lindström, Sandra A M; Herbertsson, Lina; Rundlöf, Maj; Smith, Henrik G; Bommarco, Riccardo

    2016-03-01

    Insect pollination, despite its potential to contribute substantially to crop production, is not an integrated part of agronomic planning. A major reason for this are knowledge gaps in the contribution of pollinators to yield, which partly result from difficulties in determining area-based estimates of yield effects from insect pollination under field conditions. We have experimentally manipulated honey bee Apis mellifera densities at 43 oilseed rape Brassica napus fields over 2 years in Scandinavia. Honey bee hives were placed in 22 fields; an additional 21 fields without large apiaries in the surrounding landscape were selected as controls. Depending on the pollination system in the parental generation, the B. napus cultivars in the crop fields are classified as either open-pollinated or first-generation hybrids, with both types being open-pollinated in the generation of plants cultivated in the fields. Three cultivars of each type were grown. We measured the activity of flower-visiting insects during flowering and estimated yields by harvesting with small combine harvesters. The addition of honey bee hives to the fields dramatically increased abundance of flower-visiting honey bees in those fields. Honey bees affected yield, but the effect depended on cultivar type (p = 0.04). Post-hoc analysis revealed that open-pollinated cultivars, but not hybrid cultivars, had 11% higher yields in fields with added honey bees than those grown in the control fields (p = 0.07). To our knowledge, this is the first whole-field study in replicated landscapes to assess the benefit of insect pollination in oilseed rape. Our results demonstrate that honey bees have the potential to increase oilseed rape yields, thereby emphasizing the importance of pollinator management for optimal cultivation of oilseed rape.

  3. Calorie increase and water savings of redistributing global crop production

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davis, K. F.; Seveso, A.; Rulli, M. C.; D'Odorico, P.

    2015-12-01

    Human demand for crop production is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades as a result of population growth, richer diets and biofuel use. In order for food production to keep pace, unprecedented amounts of resources - water, fertilizers, energy - will be required. This has led to calls for 'sustainable intensification' in which yields are increased on existing croplands while seeking to minimize impacts on water and other agricultural resources. Recent studies have quantified aspects of this, showing that there is a large potential to improve crop yields and increase harvest frequencies to better meet human demand. Though promising, both solutions would necessitate large additional inputs of water and fertilizer in order to be achieved under current technologies. However, the question of whether the current distribution of crops is, in fact, the best for realizing maximized production has not been considered to date. To this end, we ask: Is it possible to increase calorie production and minimize water demand by simply growing crops where soil and climate conditions are best suited? Here we use maps of agro-ecological suitability - a measure of physical and chemical soil fertility - for 15 major food crops to identify differences between current crop distributions and where they can most suitably be planted. By redistributing crops across currently cultivated lands, we determine the potential improvement in calorie production as well as the associated change in water demand. We also consider what distribution of crops would maintain current calorie production while minimizing crop water demand. In doing all of this, our study provides a novel tool for improving crop calorie production without necessarily increasing resource demands.

  4. Floral colour signal increases short-range detectability of a sexually deceptive orchid to its bee pollinator.

    PubMed

    Streinzer, Martin; Paulus, Hannes F; Spaethe, Johannes

    2009-05-01

    Orchids of the genus Ophrys are pollinated by males of solitary bees and wasps through sexual deception. The flowers mimic the behaviourally active compounds of the sex pheromone of receptive females and thus attract males that seek to copulate. Odour is the main attractant while visual stimuli have been assumed so far to play only a minor role. In contrast to most species of the genus, Heldreich's orchid Ophrys heldreichii, which is pollinated by males of the long-horned bee Tetralonia berlandi, possesses a bright pink perianth that appears conspicuous to a human observer. We investigated the role of this floral colour signal in pollinator attraction. We filmed approach flights of male bees to flowers in which we removed the original perianth and in which we substituted the perianth with an artificial one of a particular selected colour. At distances >30 cm, male search time correlated only with wind speed but not with the spectral parameters of the perianth, i.e. chromatic and green receptor-specific contrast. By contrast, in the close range (<30 cm), where the perianth subtends a visual angle of at least 5 deg. to the bee's eye, search time decreased with increasing green receptor contrast between perianth and background; however, no correlation with chromatic contrast or wind speed was found. Our results indicate that pollinators are first attracted by olfactory signals from a distance. Once in the vicinity of the flower where spatial vision of the males is sufficient, they are guided exclusively by vision. However, it can be expected that possession of a ;non-private' colour signal would increase the risk of pollen loss in sexually deceptive orchids by accidentally attracting non-specific flower visitors. We therefore discuss the occurrence of colour signals in the genus Ophrys in respect to the species-specific visual system of the pollinators.

  5. Legumes can increase cadmium contamination in neighboring crops.

    PubMed

    Liu, Ling; Zhang, Qian; Hu, Liangliang; Tang, Jianjun; Xu, Ligen; Yang, Xiantian; Yong, Jean W H; Chen, Xin

    2012-01-01

    Legumes are widely used in many cropping systems because they share their nitrogen fixation products and phosphorus mobilization activities with their neighbors. In the current study, however, we showed that co-cultivation with legumes increased cadmium (Cd) contamination in the adjacent crops. Both field and mesocosm experiments indicated that legumes increased Cd levels in edible parts and shoots of four neighboring crops and five maize varieties tested, regardless of the Cd levels in the soil. This enhanced Cd accumulation in crops was attributed to root interactions that alter the rhizosphere environment. Co-cultivation with legumes reduced soil pH, which somewhat increased the exchangeable forms of Cd. Our results have demonstrated the inevitable increases in Cd levels of crops as a direct result of co-cultivation with legumes even under situations when these levels are below the permissible threshold. With this new revelation, we need to consider carefully the current cropping systems involving legumes and perhaps to re-design the current and future cropping systems in view of avoiding food contamination by Cd.

  6. Pollination increases ethylene production in Lilium hybrida cv. Brindisi flowers but does not affect the time to tepal senescence or tepal abscission.

    PubMed

    Pacifici, Silvia; Prisa, Domenico; Burchi, Gianluca; van Doorn, Wouter G

    2015-01-15

    In many species, pollination induces a rapid increase in ethylene production, which induces early petal senescence, petal abscission, or flower closure. Cross-pollination in Lilium hybrida cv. Brindisi resulted in a small increase in flower ethylene production. In intact plants and in isolated flowers, pollination had no effect on the time to tepal senescence or tepal abscission. When applied to closed buds of unpollinated flowers, exogenous ethylene slightly hastened the time to tepal senescence and abscission. However, exogenous ethylene had no effect when the flowers had just opened, i.e. at the time of pollination. Experiments with silver thiosulphate, which blocks the ethylene receptor, indicated that endogenous ethylene had a slight effect on the regulation of tepal senescence and tepal abscission, although only at the time the tepals were still inside buds and not in open flowers. Low ethylene-sensitivity after anthesis therefore explains why pollination had no effect on the processes studied.

  7. Insect pollination reduces yield loss following heat stress in faba bean (Vicia faba L.)

    PubMed Central

    Bishop, Jacob; Jones, Hannah Elizabeth; Lukac, Martin; Potts, Simon Geoffrey

    2016-01-01

    Global food security, particularly crop fertilization and yield production, is threatened by heat waves that are projected to increase in frequency and magnitude with climate change. Effects of heat stress on the fertilization of insect-pollinated plants are not well understood, but experiments conducted primarily in self-pollinated crops, such as wheat, show that transfer of fertile pollen may recover yield following stress. We hypothesized that in the partially pollinator-dependent crop, faba bean (Vicia faba L.), insect pollination would elicit similar yield recovery following heat stress. We exposed potted faba bean plants to heat stress for 5 days during floral development and anthesis. Temperature treatments were representative of heat waves projected in the UK for the period 2021–2050 and onwards. Following temperature treatments, plants were distributed in flight cages and either pollinated by domesticated Bombus terrestris colonies or received no insect pollination. Yield loss due to heat stress at 30 °C was greater in plants excluded from pollinators (15%) compared to those with bumblebee pollination (2.5%). Thus, the pollinator dependency of faba bean yield was 16% at control temperatures (18–26 °C) and extreme stress (34 °C), but was 53% following intermediate heat stress at 30 °C. These findings provide the first evidence that the pollinator dependency of crops can be modified by heat stress, and suggest that insect pollination may become more important in crop production as the probability of heat waves increases. PMID:26989276

  8. Development of a novel recessive genetic male sterility system for hybrid seed production in maize and other cross-pollinating crops.

    PubMed

    Wu, Yongzhong; Fox, Tim W; Trimnell, Mary R; Wang, Lijuan; Xu, Rui-Ji; Cigan, A Mark; Huffman, Gary A; Garnaat, Carl W; Hershey, Howard; Albertsen, Marc C

    2016-03-01

    We have developed a novel hybridization platform that utilizes nuclear male sterility to produce hybrids in maize and other cross-pollinating crops. A key component of this platform is a process termed Seed Production Technology (SPT). This process incorporates a transgenic SPT maintainer line capable of propagating nontransgenic nuclear male-sterile lines for use as female parents in hybrid production. The maize SPT maintainer line is a homozygous recessive male sterile transformed with a SPT construct containing (i) a complementary wild-type male fertility gene to restore fertility, (ii) an α-amylase gene to disrupt pollination and (iii) a seed colour marker gene. The sporophytic wild-type allele complements the recessive mutation, enabling the development of pollen grains, all of which carry the recessive allele but with only half carrying the SPT transgenes. Pollen grains with the SPT transgenes exhibit starch depletion resulting from expression of α-amylase and are unable to germinate. Pollen grains that do not carry the SPT transgenes are nontransgenic and are able to fertilize homozygous mutant plants, resulting in nontransgenic male-sterile progeny for use as female parents. Because transgenic SPT maintainer seeds express a red fluorescent protein, they can be detected and efficiently separated from seeds that do not contain the SPT transgenes by mechanical colour sorting. The SPT process has the potential to replace current approaches to pollen control in commercial maize hybrid seed production. It also has important applications for other cross-pollinating crops where it can unlock the potential for greater hybrid productivity through expanding the parental germplasm pool.

  9. Milkweed: A resource for increasing stink bug parasitism and aiding insect pollinator and monarch butterfly conservation

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The flowers of milkweed species can produce a rich supply of nectar, and therefore, planting an insecticide-free milkweed habitat in agricultural farmscapes could possibly conserve monarch butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators, as well as enhance parasitism of insect pests. In peanut-cotton...

  10. Enhancing Legume Ecosystem Services through an Understanding of Plant–Pollinator Interplay

    PubMed Central

    Suso, María J.; Bebeli, Penelope J.; Christmann, Stefanie; Mateus, Célia; Negri, Valeria; Pinheiro de Carvalho, Miguel A. A.; Torricelli, Renzo; Veloso, Maria M.

    2016-01-01

    Legumes are bee-pollinated, but to a different extent. The importance of the plant–pollinator interplay (PPI), in flowering crops such as legumes lies in a combination of the importance of pollination for the production service and breeding strategies, plus the increasing urgency in mitigating the decline of pollinators through the development and implementation of conservation measures. To realize the full potential of the PPI, a multidisciplinary approach is required. This article assembles an international team of genebank managers, geneticists, plant breeders, experts on environmental governance and agro-ecology, and comprises several sections. The contributions in these sections outline both the state of the art of knowledge in the field and the novel aspects under development, and encompass a range of reviews, opinions and perspectives. The first three sections explore the role of PPI in legume breeding strategies. PPI based approaches to crop improvement can make it possible to adapt and re-design breeding strategies to meet both goals of: (1) optimal productivity, based on an efficient use of pollinators, and (2) biodiversity conservation. The next section deals with entomological aspects and focuses on the protection of the “pest control service” and pollinators in legume crops. The final section addresses general approaches to encourage the synergy between food production and pollination services at farmer field level. Two basic approaches are proposed: (a) Farming with Alternative Pollinators and (b) Crop Design System. PMID:27047514

  11. Enhancing Legume Ecosystem Services through an Understanding of Plant-Pollinator Interplay.

    PubMed

    Suso, María J; Bebeli, Penelope J; Christmann, Stefanie; Mateus, Célia; Negri, Valeria; Pinheiro de Carvalho, Miguel A A; Torricelli, Renzo; Veloso, Maria M

    2016-01-01

    Legumes are bee-pollinated, but to a different extent. The importance of the plant-pollinator interplay (PPI), in flowering crops such as legumes lies in a combination of the importance of pollination for the production service and breeding strategies, plus the increasing urgency in mitigating the decline of pollinators through the development and implementation of conservation measures. To realize the full potential of the PPI, a multidisciplinary approach is required. This article assembles an international team of genebank managers, geneticists, plant breeders, experts on environmental governance and agro-ecology, and comprises several sections. The contributions in these sections outline both the state of the art of knowledge in the field and the novel aspects under development, and encompass a range of reviews, opinions and perspectives. The first three sections explore the role of PPI in legume breeding strategies. PPI based approaches to crop improvement can make it possible to adapt and re-design breeding strategies to meet both goals of: (1) optimal productivity, based on an efficient use of pollinators, and (2) biodiversity conservation. The next section deals with entomological aspects and focuses on the protection of the "pest control service" and pollinators in legume crops. The final section addresses general approaches to encourage the synergy between food production and pollination services at farmer field level. Two basic approaches are proposed: (a) Farming with Alternative Pollinators and (b) Crop Design System.

  12. Evaluating pollination deficits in pumpkin production in New York.

    PubMed

    Petersen, J D; Huseth, A S; Nault, B A

    2014-10-01

    Potential decreases in crop yield from reductions in bee-mediated pollination services threaten food production demands of a growing population. Many fruit and vegetable growers supplement their fields with bee colonies during crop bloom. The extent to which crop production requires supplementary pollination services beyond those provided by wild bees is not well documented. Pumpkin, Cucurbita pepo L., requires bee-mediated pollination for fruit development. Previous research identified the common eastern bumble bee, Bombus impatiens (Cresson), as the most efficient pumpkin pollinator. Two concomitant studies were conducted to examine pollination deficits in New York pumpkin fields from 2011 to 2013. In the first study, fruit weight, seed set, and B. impatiens visits to pumpkin flowers were compared across fields supplemented with B. impatiens colonies at a recommended stocking density of five colonies per hectare, a high density of 15 colonies per hectare, or not supplemented with bees. In the second study, fruit weight and seed set of pumpkins that received supplemental pollen through hand-pollination were compared with those that were open-pollinated by wild bees. Results indicated that supplementing pumpkin fields with B. impatiens colonies, regardless of stocking density, did not increase fruit weight, seed set, or B. impatiens visits to pumpkin flowers. Fruit weight and seed set did not differ between hand- and open-pollinated treatments. In general, we conclude that pumpkin production in central New York is not limited by inadequate pollination services provided by wild bees and that on average, supplementation with B. impatiens colonies did not improve pumpkin yield.

  13. Disease associations between honeybees and bumblebees as a threat to wild pollinators.

    PubMed

    Fürst, M A; McMahon, D P; Osborne, J L; Paxton, R J; Brown, M J F

    2014-02-20

    Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) pose a risk to human welfare, both directly and indirectly, by affecting managed livestock and wildlife that provide valuable resources and ecosystem services, such as the pollination of crops. Honeybees (Apis mellifera), the prevailing managed insect crop pollinator, suffer from a range of emerging and exotic high-impact pathogens, and population maintenance requires active management by beekeepers to control them. Wild pollinators such as bumblebees (Bombus spp.) are in global decline, one cause of which may be pathogen spillover from managed pollinators like honeybees or commercial colonies of bumblebees. Here we use a combination of infection experiments and landscape-scale field data to show that honeybee EIDs are indeed widespread infectious agents within the pollinator assemblage. The prevalence of deformed wing virus (DWV) and the exotic parasite Nosema ceranae in honeybees and bumblebees is linked; as honeybees have higher DWV prevalence, and sympatric bumblebees and honeybees are infected by the same DWV strains, Apis is the likely source of at least one major EID in wild pollinators. Lessons learned from vertebrates highlight the need for increased pathogen control in managed bee species to maintain wild pollinators, as declines in native pollinators may be caused by interspecies pathogen transmission originating from managed pollinators.

  14. Disease associations between honeybees and bumblebees as a threat to wild pollinators

    PubMed Central

    Fürst, M.A.; McMahon, D.P.; Osborne, J.L.; Paxton, R.J.; Brown, M.J.F.

    2014-01-01

    Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) pose a risk to human welfare, both directly1 and indirectly, by affecting managed livestock and wildlife that provide valuable resources and ecosystem services, such as the pollination of crops2. Honey bees (Apis mellifera), the prevailing managed insect crop pollinator, suffer from a range of emerging and exotic high impact pathogens3,4 and population maintenance requires active management by beekeepers to control them. Wild pollinators such as bumble bees (Bombus spp.) are in global decline5,6, one cause of which may be pathogen spillover from managed pollinators like honey bees7,8 or commercial colonies of bumble bees9. In our study, a combination of infection experiments with landscape scale field data indicates that honey bee EIDs are indeed widespread infectious agents within the pollinator assemblage. The prevalence of deformed wing virus (DWV) and the exotic Nosema ceranae is linked between honey bees and bumble bees, with honey bees having higher DWV prevalence, and sympatric bumble bees and honey bees sharing DWV strains; Apis is therefore the likely source of at least one major EID in wild pollinators. Lessons learned from vertebrates10,11 highlight the need for increased pathogen control in managed bee species to maintain wild pollinators, as declines in native pollinators may be caused by interspecies pathogen transmission originating from managed pollinators. PMID:24553241

  15. Ants and termites increase crop yield in a dry climate

    PubMed Central

    Evans, Theodore A.; Dawes, Tracy Z.; Ward, Philip R.; Lo, Nathan

    2011-01-01

    Agricultural intensification has increased crop yields, but at high economic and environmental cost. Harnessing ecosystem services of naturally occurring organisms is a cheaper but under-appreciated approach, because the functional roles of organisms are not linked to crop yields, especially outside the northern temperate zone. Ecosystem services in soil come from earthworms in these cooler and wetter latitudes; what may fulfill their functional role in agriculture in warmer and drier habitats, where they are absent, is unproven. Here we show in a field experiment that ants and termites increase wheat yield by 36% from increased soil water infiltration due to their tunnels and improved soil nitrogen. Our results suggest that ants and termites have similar functional roles to earthworms, and that they may provide valuable ecosystem services in dryland agriculture, which may become increasingly important for agricultural sustainability in arid climates. PMID:21448161

  16. Methods for generating or increasing revenues from crops

    DOEpatents

    Copenhaver, Gregory P.; Keith, Kevin; Preuss, Daphne

    2007-03-20

    The present invention provides methods of doing business and providing services. For example, methods of increasing the revenue of crops are provided. To this end, the method includes the use of a nucleic acid sequences of plant centromeres. This will permit construction of stably inherited recombinant DNA constructs and mini chromosomes which can serve as vectors for the construction of transgenic plant and animal cells.

  17. Viruses of commercialized insect pollinators.

    PubMed

    Gisder, Sebastian; Genersch, Elke

    2016-08-03

    Managed insect pollinators are indispensable in modern agriculture. They are used worldwide not only in the open field but also in greenhouses to enhance fruit set, seed production, and crop yield. Managed honey bee (Apis mellifera, Apis cerana) colonies provide the majority of commercial pollination although other members of the superfamily Apoidea are also exploited and commercialized as managed pollinators. In the recent past, it became more and more evident that viral diseases play a key role in devastating honey bee colony losses and it was also recognized that many viruses originally thought to be honey bee specific can also be detected in other pollinating insects. However, while research on viruses infecting honey bees started more than 50years ago and the knowledge on these viruses is growing ever since, little is known on virus diseases of other pollinating bee species. Recent virus surveys suggested that many of the viruses thought to be honey bee specific are actually circulating in the pollinator community and that pollinator management and commercialization of pollinators provide ample opportunity for viral diseases to spread. However, the direction of disease transmission is not always clear and the impact of these viral diseases on the different hosts remains elusive in many cases. With our review we want to provide an up-to-date overview on the viruses detected in different commercialized pollinators in order to encourage research in the field of pollinator virology that goes beyond molecular detection of viruses. A deeper understanding of this field of virology is urgently needed to be able to evaluate the impact of viruses on pollinator health and the role of different pollinators in spreading viral diseases and to be able to decide on appropriate measures to prevent virus-driven pollinator decline.

  18. Genetically modified crops for biomass increase. Genes and strategies.

    PubMed

    Rojas, Cristian Antonio; Hemerly, Adrianna Silva; Ferreira, Paulo Cavalcanti Gomes

    2010-01-01

    Genetically modified crops (GMCs) have been developed to accelerate the creation of new varieties with improved characteristics such as disease resistance, stress tolerance and higher quality composition. However, agriculture, without minimizing its role in food, feed and fiber source, has become important for the energy matrix of many countries. GMCs are also attractive systems that could fulfill the requirements for these new necessities. An increase of crop yields in an environmental friendly system is a new goal for plant biology research in the twenty-first century. In particular, biomass yield improvement is needed to render the use of biofuels economically feasible. In this context, research directed toward increasing biomass production has attracted much attention and a considerable effort is being made to reach new goals. Nonetheless, in some cases differentiated strategies are needed, as biomass improvement requires approaches other than those employed with traditional crops. This review summarizes the various approaches applied so far to modulate plant growth applying molecular biology-based strategies and increase biomass production, and it highlights several outstanding issues about the developmental constraints that must be addressed.

  19. Bats and birds increase crop yield in tropical agroforestry landscapes.

    PubMed

    Maas, Bea; Clough, Yann; Tscharntke, Teja

    2013-12-01

    Human welfare is significantly linked to ecosystem services such as the suppression of pest insects by birds and bats. However, effects of biocontrol services on tropical cash crop yield are still largely unknown. For the first time, we manipulated the access of birds and bats in an exclosure experiment (day, night and full exclosures compared to open controls in Indonesian cacao agroforestry) and quantified the arthropod communities, the fruit development and the final yield over a long time period (15 months). We found that bat and bird exclusion increased insect herbivore abundance, despite the concurrent release of mesopredators such as ants and spiders, and negatively affected fruit development, with final crop yield decreasing by 31% across local (shade cover) and landscape (distance to primary forest) gradients. Our results highlight the tremendous economic impact of common insectivorous birds and bats, which need to become an essential part of sustainable landscape management.

  20. Economic Dependence of U.S. Industrial Sectors on Animal-Mediated Pollination Service.

    PubMed

    Chopra, Shauhrat S; Bakshi, Bhavik R; Khanna, Vikas

    2015-12-15

    Declining animal pollinator health and diversity in the U.S. is a matter of growing concern and has particularly gained attention since the emergence of colony collapse disorder (CCD) in 2006. Failure to maintain adequate animal-mediated pollination service to support increasing demand for pollination-dependent crops poses risks for the U.S. economy. We integrate the Economic Input-Output (EIO) model and network analysis with data on pollinator dependence of crops to understand the economic dependence of U.S. industrial sectors on animal-mediated pollination service. The novelty of this work lies in its ability to identify industrial sectors and industrial communities (groups of closely linked sectors) that are most vulnerable to scarcity of pollination service provided by various animal species. While the economic dependence of agricultural sectors on pollination service is significant (US$14.2-23.8 billion), the higher-order economic dependence of the rest of the U.S. industrial sectors is substantially high as well (US$10.3-21.1 billion). The results are compelling as they highlight the critical importance of animal-induced pollination service for the U.S. economy, and the need to account for the role of ecosystem goods and services in product life cycles.

  1. The increasing importance of herbicides in worldwide crop production.

    PubMed

    Gianessi, Leonard P

    2013-10-01

    Herbicide use is increasingly being adopted around the world. Many developing countries (India, China, Bangladesh) are facing shortages of workers to hand weed fields as millions of people move from rural to urban areas. In these countries, herbicides are far cheaper and more readily available than labor for hand weeding. History shows that in industrializing countries in the past, including the United States, Germany, Japan and South Korea, the same phenomenon has occurred-as workers have left agriculture, herbicides have been adopted. It is inevitable that herbicide use will increase in sub-Saharan Africa, not only because millions of people are leaving rural areas, creating shortages of hand weeders, but also because of the need to increase crop yields. Hand weeding has never been a very efficient method of weed control-often performed too late and not frequently enough. Uncontrolled weeds have been a major cause of low crop yields in sub-Saharan Africa for a long time. In many parts of the world, herbicides are being increasingly used to replace tillage in order to improve environmental conditions. In comparison with tillage, herbicide use reduces erosion, fuel use, greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient run-off and conserves water.

  2. Breeding technologies to increase crop production in a changing world.

    PubMed

    Tester, Mark; Langridge, Peter

    2010-02-12

    To feed the several billion people living on this planet, the production of high-quality food must increase with reduced inputs, but this accomplishment will be particularly challenging in the face of global environmental change. Plant breeders need to focus on traits with the greatest potential to increase yield. Hence, new technologies must be developed to accelerate breeding through improving genotyping and phenotyping methods and by increasing the available genetic diversity in breeding germplasm. The most gain will come from delivering these technologies in developing countries, but the technologies will have to be economically accessible and readily disseminated. Crop improvement through breeding brings immense value relative to investment and offers an effective approach to improving food security.

  3. Proximity to forest edge does not affect crop production despite pollen limitation.

    PubMed

    Chacoff, Natacha P; Aizen, Marcelo A; Aschero, Valeria

    2008-04-22

    A decline in pollination function has been linked to agriculture expansion and intensification. In northwest Argentina, pollinator visits to grapefruit, a self-compatible but pollinator-dependent crop, decline by approximately 50% at 1km from forest edges. We evaluated whether this decrease in visitation also reduces the pollination service in this crop. We analysed the quantity and quality of pollen deposited on stigmas, and associated limitation of fruit production at increasing distances (edge: 10, 100, 500 and 1000m) from the remnants of Yungas forest. We also examined the quantitative and qualitative efficiency of honeybees as pollen vectors. Pollen receipt and pollen tubes in styles decreased with increasing distance from forest edge; however, this decline did not affect fruit production. Supplementation of natural pollen with self- and cross-pollen revealed that both pollen quantity and quality limited fruit production. Despite pollen limitation, honeybees cannot raise fruit production because they often do not deposit sufficient high-quality pollen per visit to elicit fruit development. However, declines in visitation frequency well below seven visits during a flower's lifespan could decrease production beyond current yields. In this context, the preservation of forest remnants, which act as pollinator sources, could contribute to resilience in crop production. Like wild plants, pollen limitation of the yield among animal-pollinated crops may be common and indicative not only of pollinator scarcity, but also of poor pollination quality, whereby pollinator efficiency, rather than just abundance, can play a broader role than previously appreciated.

  4. Modelling pollination services across agricultural landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Lonsdorf, Eric; Kremen, Claire; Ricketts, Taylor; Winfree, Rachael; Williams, Neal; Greenleaf, Sarah

    2009-01-01

    Background and Aims Crop pollination by bees and other animals is an essential ecosystem service. Ensuring the maintenance of the service requires a full understanding of the contributions of landscape elements to pollinator populations and crop pollination. Here, the first quantitative model that predicts pollinator abundance on a landscape is described and tested. Methods Using information on pollinator nesting resources, floral resources and foraging distances, the model predicts the relative abundance of pollinators within nesting habitats. From these nesting areas, it then predicts relative abundances of pollinators on the farms requiring pollination services. Model outputs are compared with data from coffee in Costa Rica, watermelon and sunflower in California and watermelon in New Jersey–Pennsylvania (NJPA). Key Results Results from Costa Rica and California, comparing field estimates of pollinator abundance, richness or services with model estimates, are encouraging, explaining up to 80 % of variance among farms. However, the model did not predict observed pollinator abundances on NJPA, so continued model improvement and testing are necessary. The inability of the model to predict pollinator abundances in the NJPA landscape may be due to not accounting for fine-scale floral and nesting resources within the landscapes surrounding farms, rather than the logic of our model. Conclusions The importance of fine-scale resources for pollinator service delivery was supported by sensitivity analyses indicating that the model's predictions depend largely on estimates of nesting and floral resources within crops. Despite the need for more research at the finer-scale, the approach fills an important gap by providing quantitative and mechanistic model from which to evaluate policy decisions and develop land-use plans that promote pollination conservation and service delivery. PMID:19324897

  5. Corridors restore animal-mediated pollination in fragmented tropical forest landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Kormann, Urs; Scherber, Christoph; Tscharntke, Teja; Klein, Nadja; Larbig, Manuel; Valente, Jonathon J.; Hadley, Adam S.; Betts, Matthew G.

    2016-01-01

    Tropical biodiversity and associated ecosystem functions have become heavily eroded through habitat loss. Animal-mediated pollination is required in more than 94% of higher tropical plant species and 75% of the world's leading food crops, but it remains unclear if corridors avert deforestation-driven pollination breakdown in fragmented tropical landscapes. Here, we used manipulative resource experiments and field observations to show that corridors functionally connect neotropical forest fragments for forest-associated hummingbirds and increase pollen transfer. Further, corridors boosted forest-associated pollinator availability in fragments by 14.3 times compared with unconnected equivalents, increasing overall pollination success. Plants in patches without corridors showed pollination rates equal to bagged control flowers, indicating pollination failure in isolated fragments. This indicates, for the first time, that corridors benefit tropical forest ecosystems beyond boosting local species richness, by functionally connecting mutualistic network partners. We conclude that small-scale adjustments to landscape configuration safeguard native pollinators and associated pollination services in tropical forest landscapes. PMID:26817765

  6. Corridors restore animal-mediated pollination in fragmented tropical forest landscapes.

    PubMed

    Kormann, Urs; Scherber, Christoph; Tscharntke, Teja; Klein, Nadja; Larbig, Manuel; Valente, Jonathon J; Hadley, Adam S; Betts, Matthew G

    2016-01-27

    Tropical biodiversity and associated ecosystem functions have become heavily eroded through habitat loss. Animal-mediated pollination is required in more than 94% of higher tropical plant species and 75% of the world's leading food crops, but it remains unclear if corridors avert deforestation-driven pollination breakdown in fragmented tropical landscapes. Here, we used manipulative resource experiments and field observations to show that corridors functionally connect neotropical forest fragments for forest-associated hummingbirds and increase pollen transfer. Further, corridors boosted forest-associated pollinator availability in fragments by 14.3 times compared with unconnected equivalents, increasing overall pollination success. Plants in patches without corridors showed pollination rates equal to bagged control flowers, indicating pollination failure in isolated fragments. This indicates, for the first time, that corridors benefit tropical forest ecosystems beyond boosting local species richness, by functionally connecting mutualistic network partners. We conclude that small-scale adjustments to landscape configuration safeguard native pollinators and associated pollination services in tropical forest landscapes.

  7. Crop Insurance Increases Water Withdrawals for Irrigation in Agriculture

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Konar, M.; Deryugina, T.; Lin, X.

    2015-12-01

    Agricultural production remains particularly vulnerable to weather fluctuations and extreme events, such as droughts, floods, and heat waves. Crop insurance is a risk management tool that has been developed to mitigate some of this weather risk and protect farmer income in times of poor production. However, it is not clear what the implications of crop insurance are for crop irrigation. By providing a guaranteed level of income in case of crop failure, crop insurance can reduce the farmer's incentive to irrigate. Thus, crop insurance can decrease water use in times of drought and promote water sustainability. However, to minimize this "moral hazard", the insurer may require farmers to irrigate crops more than necessary. Further, by shifting crop production, crop insurance may increase demand for water. Thus, it is unclear whether crop insurance increases or decreases crop water use. Here, we determine the empirical relationship between crop insurance and irrigation withdrawals in the United States. To establish causality, we exploit variation in crop insurance policies over time, using an instrumental variables approach. We find that a 1% increase in insured crop acreage leads to a 0.223% increase in irrigation withdrawals, primarily from groundwater aquifers.

  8. Modest enhancements to conventional grassland diversity improve the provision of pollination services.

    PubMed

    Orford, Katherine A; Murray, Phil J; Vaughan, Ian P; Memmott, Jane

    2016-06-01

    Grassland for livestock production is a major form of land use throughout Europe and its intensive management threatens biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in agricultural landscapes. Modest increases to conventional grassland biodiversity could have considerable positive impacts on the provision of ecosystem services, such as pollination, to surrounding habitats.Using a field-scale experiment in which grassland seed mixes and sward management were manipulated, complemented by surveys on working farms and phytometer experiments, the impact of conventional grassland diversity and management on the functional diversity and ecosystem service provision of pollinator communities were investigated.Increasing plant richness, by the addition of both legumes and forbs, was associated with significant enhancements in the functional diversity of grassland pollinator communities. This was associated with increased temporal stability of flower-visitor interactions at the community level. Visitation networks revealed pasture species Taraxacum sp. (Wigg.) (dandelion) and Cirsium arvense (Scop.) (creeping thistle) to have the highest pollinator visitation frequency and richness. Cichorium intybus (L.) (chichory) was highlighted as an important species having both high pollinator visitation and desirable agronomic properties.Increased sward richness was associated with an increase in the pollination of two phytometer species; Fragaria × ananassa (strawberry) and Silene dioica (red campion), but not Vicia faba (broad bean). Enhanced functional diversity, richness and abundance of the pollinator communities associated with more diverse neighbouring pastures were found to be potential mechanisms for improved pollination. Synthesis and applications. A modest increase in conventional grassland plant diversity with legumes and forbs, achievable with the expertise and resources available to most grassland farmers, could enhance pollinator functional diversity, richness and abundance

  9. The Neonicotinoid Insecticide Imidacloprid Repels Pollinating Flies and Beetles at Field-Realistic Concentrations

    PubMed Central

    Easton, Amy H.; Goulson, Dave

    2013-01-01

    Neonicotinoids are widely used systemic insecticides which, when applied to flowering crops, are translocated to the nectar and pollen where they may impact upon pollinators. Given global concerns over pollinator declines, this potential impact has recently received much attention. Field exposure of pollinators to neonicotinoids depends on the concentrations present in flowering crops and the degree to which pollinators choose to feed upon them. Here we describe a simple experiment using paired yellow pan traps with or without insecticide to assess whether the commonly used neonicotinoid imidacloprid repels or attracts flying insects. Both Diptera and Coleoptera exhibited marked avoidance of traps containing imidacloprid at a field-realistic dose of 1 µg L−1, with Diptera avoiding concentrations as low as 0.01 µg L−1. This is to our knowledge the first evidence for any biological activity at such low concentrations, which are below the limits of laboratory detection using most commonly available techniques. Catch of spiders in pan traps was also slightly reduced by the highest concentrations of imidacloprid used (1 µg L−1), but catch was increased by lower concentrations. It remains to be seen if the repellent effect on insects occurs when neonicotinoids are present in real flowers, but if so then this could have implications for exposure of pollinators to neonicotinoids and for crop pollination. PMID:23382980

  10. Improved storage of the pollinator, Megachile rotundata

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, is the 3rd most common pollinator used for crop pollination in North America and low-temperature storage protocols are a critical component of M. rotundata management. There are four times during the production cycle that bees may need to be subj...

  11. Interaction intensity and pollinator-mediated selection.

    PubMed

    Trunschke, Judith; Sletvold, Nina; Ågren, Jon

    2017-02-27

    In animal-pollinated plants, the opportunity for selection and the strength of pollinator-mediated selection are expected to increase with the degree of pollen limitation. However, whether differences in pollen limitation can explain variation in pollinator-mediated and net selection among animal-pollinated species is poorly understood. In the present study, we quantified pollen limitation, variance in relative fitness and pollinator-mediated selection on five traits important for pollinator attraction (flowering start, plant height, flower number, flower size) and pollination efficiency (spur length) in natural populations of 12 orchid species. Pollinator-mediated selection was quantified by subtracting estimates of selection gradients for plants receiving supplemental hand-pollination from estimates obtained for open-pollinated control plants. Mean pollen limitation ranged from zero to 0.96. Opportunity for selection, pollinator-mediated selection and net selection were all positively related to pollen limitation, whereas nonpollinator-mediated selection was not. Opportunity for selection varied five-fold, strength of pollinator-mediated selection varied three-fold and net selection varied 1.5-fold among species. Supplemental hand-pollination reduced both opportunity for selection and selection on floral traits. The results show that the intensity of biotic interactions is an important determinant of the selection regime, and indicate that the potential for pollinator-mediated selection and divergence in floral traits is particularly high in species that are strongly pollen-limited.

  12. Insect pollination enhances seed yield, quality, and market value in oilseed rape.

    PubMed

    Bommarco, Riccardo; Marini, Lorenzo; Vaissière, Bernard E

    2012-08-01

    The relationships between landscape intensification, the abundance and diversity of pollinating insects, and their contributions to crop yield, quality, and market value are poorly studied, despite observed declines in wild and domesticated pollinators. Abundance and species richness of pollinating insects were estimated in ten fields of spring oilseed rape, Brassica napus var. SW Stratos™, located along a gradient of landscape compositions ranging from simple landscapes dominated by arable land to heterogeneous landscapes with extensive cover of semi-natural habitats. In each field, we assessed the contribution of wind and insect pollination to seed yield, seed quality (individual seed weight and oil and chlorophyll contents), and market value in a block experiment with four replicates and two treatments: (1) all flowers were accessible to insects, self and wind pollination, and (2) flowers enclosed in tulle net bags (mesh: 1 × 1 mm) were accessible only to wind and self pollination. Complex landscapes enhanced the overall abundance of wild insects as well as the abundance and species richness of hoverflies. This did not translate to a higher yield, probably due to consistent pollination by honey bees across all fields. However, the pollination experiment showed that insects increased seed weight per plant by 18% and market value by 20%. Seed quality was enhanced by insect pollination, rendering heavier seeds as well as higher oil and lower chlorophyll contents, clearly showing that insect pollination is required to reach high seed yield and quality in oilseed rape. Our study demonstrates considerable and previously underestimated contributions from pollinating insects to both the yield and the market value of oilseed rape.

  13. A transformation method for obtaining marker-free plants of a cross-pollinating and vegetatively propagated crop.

    PubMed

    de Vetten, Nick; Wolters, Anne-Marie; Raemakers, Krit; van der Meer, Ingrid; ter Stege, Renaldo; Heeres, Els; Heeres, Paul; Visser, Richard

    2003-04-01

    It is generally thought that transformation of plant cells using Agrobacterium tumefaciens occurs at a very low frequency. Therefore, selection marker genes are used to identify the rare plants that have taken up foreign DNA. Genes encoding antibiotic and herbicide resistance are widely used for this purpose in plant transformation. Over the past several years, consumer and environmental groups have expressed concern about the use of antibiotic- and herbicide-resistance genes from an ecological and food safety perspective. Although no scientific basis has been determined for these concerns, generating marker-free plants would certainly contribute to the public acceptance of transgenic crops. Several methods have been reported to create marker gene-free transformed plants, for example co-transformation, transposable elements, site-specific recombination, or intrachromosomal recombination. Not only are most of these systems time-consuming and inefficient, but they are also employed on the assumption that isolation of transformants without a selective marker gene is not feasible. Here we present a method that permits the identification of transgenic plants without the use of selectable markers. This strategy relies on the transformation of tissue explants or cells with a virulent A. tumefaciens strain and selection of transformed cells or shoots after PCR analysis. Incubation of potato explants with A. tumefaciens strain AGL0 resulted in transformed shoots at an efficiency of 1-5% of the harvested shoots, depending on the potato genotype used. Because this system does not require genetic segregation or site-specific DNA-deletion systems to remove marker genes, it may provide a reliable and efficient tool for generating transgenic plants for commercial use, especially in vegetatively propagated species like potato and cassava.

  14. Stingless Bees as Alternative Pollinators of Canola.

    PubMed

    Witter, Sidia; Nunes-Silva, Patrícia; Lisboa, Bruno B; Tirelli, Flavia P; Sattler, Aroni; Both Hilgert-Moreira, Suzane; Blochtein, Betina

    2015-06-01

    Alternative pollinators can ensure pollination services if the availability of the managed or most common pollinator is compromised. In this study, the behavior and pollination efficiency of Apis mellifera L. and two species of stingless bees, Plebeia emerina Friese and Tetragonisca fiebrigi Schwarz, were evaluated and compared in flowers of Brassica napus L. 'Hyola 61'. A. mellifera was an efficient pollinator when collecting nectar because it effectively touched the reproductive organs of the flower. In contrast, stingless bees were efficient pollinators only when collecting pollen. The number of pollen grains deposited on the stigma after a single visit by worker bees of the three species was greater than the number of grains resulting from pollination without the bee visits. On average, the three species deposited enough pollen grains to fertilize all of the flower ovules. A. mellifera and P. emerina had similar pollination efficiency because no significant differences were observed in the characteristics of the siliques produced. Although T. fiebrigi is also an effective pollinator, the seed mass produced by their pollination was lower. Native bees promoted similar rates of fruit set compared with A. mellifera. Thus, P. emerina has potential to be used for pollination in canola crops.

  15. Apple Pollination: Demand Depends on Variety and Supply Depends on Pollinator Identity

    PubMed Central

    Garratt, M. P. D.; Breeze, T. D.; Boreux, V.; Coston, D. J.; Jenner, N.; Dean, R.; Westbury, D. B.; Biesmeijer, J. C.; Potts, S. G.

    2016-01-01

    Insect pollination underpins apple production but the extent to which different pollinator guilds supply this service, particularly across different apple varieties, is unknown. Such information is essential if appropriate orchard management practices are to be targeted and proportional to the potential benefits pollinator species may provide. Here we use a novel combination of pollinator effectiveness assays (floral visit effectiveness), orchard field surveys (flower visitation rate) and pollinator dependence manipulations (pollinator exclusion experiments) to quantify the supply of pollination services provided by four different pollinator guilds to the production of four commercial varieties of apple. We show that not all pollinators are equally effective at pollinating apples, with hoverflies being less effective than solitary bees and bumblebees, and the relative abundance of different pollinator guilds visiting apple flowers of different varieties varies significantly. Based on this, the taxa specific economic benefits to UK apple production have been established. The contribution of insect pollinators to the economic output in all varieties was estimated to be £92.1M across the UK, with contributions varying widely across taxa: solitary bees (£51.4M), honeybees (£21.4M), bumblebees (£18.6M) and hoverflies (£0.7M). This research highlights the differences in the economic benefits of four insect pollinator guilds to four major apple varieties in the UK. This information is essential to underpin appropriate investment in pollination services management and provides a model that can be used in other entomolophilous crops to improve our understanding of crop pollination ecology. PMID:27152628

  16. Bird pollination of Canary Island endemic plants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ollerton, Jeff; Cranmer, Louise; Stelzer, Ralph J.; Sullivan, Steve; Chittka, Lars

    2009-02-01

    The Canary Islands are home to a guild of endemic, threatened bird-pollinated plants. Previous work has suggested that these plants evolved floral traits as adaptations to pollination by flower specialist sunbirds, but subsequently, they appear to have co-opted generalist passerine birds as sub-optimal pollinators. To test this idea, we carried out a quantitative study of the pollination biology of three of the bird-pollinated plants, Canarina canariensis (Campanulaceae), Isoplexis canariensis (Veronicaceae) and Lotus berthelotii (Fabaceae), on the island of Tenerife. Using colour vision models, we predicted the detectability of flowers to bird and bee pollinators. We measured pollinator visitation rates, nectar standing crops as well as seed-set and pollen removal and deposition. These data showed that the plants are effectively pollinated by non-flower specialist passerine birds that only occasionally visit flowers. The large nectar standing crops and extended flower longevities (>10 days) of Canarina and Isoplexis suggests that they have evolved a bird pollination system that effectively exploits these low frequency non-specialist pollen vectors and is in no way sub-optimal. Seed set in two of the three species was high and was significantly reduced or zero in flowers where pollinator access was restricted. In L. berthelotii, however, no fruit set was observed, probably because the plants were self-incompatible horticultural clones of a single genet. We also show that, while all three species are easily detectable for birds, the orange Canarina and the red Lotus (but less so the yellow-orange Isoplexis) should be difficult to detect for insect pollinators without specialised red receptors, such as bumblebees. Contrary to expectations if we accept that the flowers are primarily adapted to sunbird pollination, the chiffchaff ( Phylloscopus canariensis) was an effective pollinator of these species.

  17. Bird pollination of Canary Island endemic plants.

    PubMed

    Ollerton, Jeff; Cranmer, Louise; Stelzer, Ralph J; Sullivan, Steve; Chittka, Lars

    2009-02-01

    The Canary Islands are home to a guild of endemic, threatened bird-pollinated plants. Previous work has suggested that these plants evolved floral traits as adaptations to pollination by flower specialist sunbirds, but subsequently, they appear to have co-opted generalist passerine birds as sub-optimal pollinators. To test this idea, we carried out a quantitative study of the pollination biology of three of the bird-pollinated plants, Canarina canariensis (Campanulaceae), Isoplexis canariensis (Veronicaceae) and Lotus berthelotii (Fabaceae), on the island of Tenerife. Using colour vision models, we predicted the detectability of flowers to bird and bee pollinators. We measured pollinator visitation rates, nectar standing crops as well as seed-set and pollen removal and deposition. These data showed that the plants are effectively pollinated by non-flower specialist passerine birds that only occasionally visit flowers. The large nectar standing crops and extended flower longevities (>10 days) of Canarina and Isoplexis suggests that they have evolved a bird pollination system that effectively exploits these low frequency non-specialist pollen vectors and is in no way sub-optimal. Seed set in two of the three species was high and was significantly reduced or zero in flowers where pollinator access was restricted. In L. berthelotii, however, no fruit set was observed, probably because the plants were self-incompatible horticultural clones of a single genet. We also show that, while all three species are easily detectable for birds, the orange Canarina and the red Lotus (but less so the yellow-orange Isoplexis) should be difficult to detect for insect pollinators without specialised red receptors, such as bumblebees. Contrary to expectations if we accept that the flowers are primarily adapted to sunbird pollination, the chiffchaff (Phylloscopus canariensis) was an effective pollinator of these species.

  18. Distance from forest edge affects bee pollinators in oilseed rape fields

    PubMed Central

    Bailey, Samantha; Requier, Fabrice; Nusillard, Benoît; Roberts, Stuart P M; Potts, Simon G; Bouget, Christophe

    2014-01-01

    Wild pollinators have been shown to enhance the pollination of Brassica napus (oilseed rape) and thus increase its market value. Several studies have previously shown that pollination services are greater in crops adjoining forest patches or other seminatural habitats than in crops completely surrounded by other crops. In this study, we investigated the specific importance of forest edges in providing potential pollinators in B. napus fields in two areas in France. Bees were caught with yellow pan traps at increasing distances from both warm and cold forest edges into B. napus fields during the blooming period. A total of 4594 individual bees, representing six families and 83 taxa, were collected. We found that both bee abundance and taxa richness were negatively affected by the distance from forest edge. However, responses varied between bee groups and edge orientations. The ITD (Inter-Tegular distance) of the species, a good proxy for bee foraging range, seems to limit how far the bees can travel from the forest edge. We found a greater abundance of cuckoo bees (Nomada spp.) of Andrena spp. and Andrena spp. males at forest edges, which we assume indicate suitable nesting sites, or at least mating sites, for some abundant Andrena species and their parasites (Fig. 1). Synthesis and Applications. This study provides one of the first examples in temperate ecosystems of how forest edges may actually act as a reservoir of potential pollinators and directly benefit agricultural crops by providing nesting or mating sites for important early spring pollinators. Policy-makers and land managers should take forest edges into account and encourage their protection in the agricultural matrix to promote wild bees and their pollination services. PMID:24634722

  19. Distance from forest edge affects bee pollinators in oilseed rape fields.

    PubMed

    Bailey, Samantha; Requier, Fabrice; Nusillard, Benoît; Roberts, Stuart P M; Potts, Simon G; Bouget, Christophe

    2014-02-01

    Wild pollinators have been shown to enhance the pollination of Brassica napus (oilseed rape) and thus increase its market value. Several studies have previously shown that pollination services are greater in crops adjoining forest patches or other seminatural habitats than in crops completely surrounded by other crops. In this study, we investigated the specific importance of forest edges in providing potential pollinators in B. napus fields in two areas in France. Bees were caught with yellow pan traps at increasing distances from both warm and cold forest edges into B. napus fields during the blooming period. A total of 4594 individual bees, representing six families and 83 taxa, were collected. We found that both bee abundance and taxa richness were negatively affected by the distance from forest edge. However, responses varied between bee groups and edge orientations. The ITD (Inter-Tegular distance) of the species, a good proxy for bee foraging range, seems to limit how far the bees can travel from the forest edge. We found a greater abundance of cuckoo bees (Nomada spp.) of Andrena spp. and Andrena spp. males at forest edges, which we assume indicate suitable nesting sites, or at least mating sites, for some abundant Andrena species and their parasites (Fig. 1). Synthesis and Applications. This study provides one of the first examples in temperate ecosystems of how forest edges may actually act as a reservoir of potential pollinators and directly benefit agricultural crops by providing nesting or mating sites for important early spring pollinators. Policy-makers and land managers should take forest edges into account and encourage their protection in the agricultural matrix to promote wild bees and their pollination services.

  20. Increasing Cropping System Diversity Balances Productivity, Profitability and Environmental Health

    PubMed Central

    Davis, Adam S.; Hill, Jason D.; Chase, Craig A.; Johanns, Ann M.; Liebman, Matt

    2012-01-01

    Balancing productivity, profitability, and environmental health is a key challenge for agricultural sustainability. Most crop production systems in the United States are characterized by low species and management diversity, high use of fossil energy and agrichemicals, and large negative impacts on the environment. We hypothesized that cropping system diversification would promote ecosystem services that would supplement, and eventually displace, synthetic external inputs used to maintain crop productivity. To test this, we conducted a field study from 2003–2011 in Iowa that included three contrasting systems varying in length of crop sequence and inputs. We compared a conventionally managed 2-yr rotation (maize-soybean) that received fertilizers and herbicides at rates comparable to those used on nearby farms with two more diverse cropping systems: a 3-yr rotation (maize-soybean-small grain + red clover) and a 4-yr rotation (maize-soybean-small grain + alfalfa-alfalfa) managed with lower synthetic N fertilizer and herbicide inputs and periodic applications of cattle manure. Grain yields, mass of harvested products, and profit in the more diverse systems were similar to, or greater than, those in the conventional system, despite reductions of agrichemical inputs. Weeds were suppressed effectively in all systems, but freshwater toxicity of the more diverse systems was two orders of magnitude lower than in the conventional system. Results of our study indicate that more diverse cropping systems can use small amounts of synthetic agrichemical inputs as powerful tools with which to tune, rather than drive, agroecosystem performance, while meeting or exceeding the performance of less diverse systems. PMID:23071739

  1. Increasing cropping system diversity balances productivity, profitability and environmental health.

    PubMed

    Davis, Adam S; Hill, Jason D; Chase, Craig A; Johanns, Ann M; Liebman, Matt

    2012-01-01

    Balancing productivity, profitability, and environmental health is a key challenge for agricultural sustainability. Most crop production systems in the United States are characterized by low species and management diversity, high use of fossil energy and agrichemicals, and large negative impacts on the environment. We hypothesized that cropping system diversification would promote ecosystem services that would supplement, and eventually displace, synthetic external inputs used to maintain crop productivity. To test this, we conducted a field study from 2003-2011 in Iowa that included three contrasting systems varying in length of crop sequence and inputs. We compared a conventionally managed 2-yr rotation (maize-soybean) that received fertilizers and herbicides at rates comparable to those used on nearby farms with two more diverse cropping systems: a 3-yr rotation (maize-soybean-small grain + red clover) and a 4-yr rotation (maize-soybean-small grain + alfalfa-alfalfa) managed with lower synthetic N fertilizer and herbicide inputs and periodic applications of cattle manure. Grain yields, mass of harvested products, and profit in the more diverse systems were similar to, or greater than, those in the conventional system, despite reductions of agrichemical inputs. Weeds were suppressed effectively in all systems, but freshwater toxicity of the more diverse systems was two orders of magnitude lower than in the conventional system. Results of our study indicate that more diverse cropping systems can use small amounts of synthetic agrichemical inputs as powerful tools with which to tune, rather than drive, agroecosystem performance, while meeting or exceeding the performance of less diverse systems.

  2. The robustness of plant-pollinator assemblages: linking plant interaction patterns and sensitivity to pollinator loss.

    PubMed

    Astegiano, Julia; Massol, François; Vidal, Mariana Morais; Cheptou, Pierre-Olivier; Guimarães, Paulo R

    2015-01-01

    partners may increase the probability of disruption of interactions, the fact that the plants most sensitive to pollinator loss interacted with more particular pollinator assemblages suggest that the persistence of these plants and their pollinators might be highly compromised.

  3. Buzziness as usual? Questioning the global pollination crisis.

    PubMed

    Ghazoul, Jaboury

    2005-07-01

    Concerns have been raised that invertebrate pollinators of crops and wild plants are in decline as a result of modern agricultural practices, habitat degradation, and introduced pests and diseases. This has led to demands for a response by land managers, conservationists and political decision makers to the impending 'global pollinator crisis'. In questioning this crisis, it becomes apparent that perceptions of a pollinator crisis are driven mainly by reported declines of crop-pollinating honeybees in North America, and bumblebees and butterflies in Europe, whereas native pollinator communities elsewhere show mixed responses to environmental change. Additionally, few staple food crops depend on pollinator services, and most crops that do are grown at small scales in diversified agro-ecosystems that are likely to support healthy pollinator communities, or in highly managed systems that are largely independent of wild pollinators. Consequently, justifying conservation action on the basis of deteriorating pollinator services might be misplaced. Nevertheless, existing initiatives to monitor pollinators are well founded, given the uncertainty about the dynamics of pollinator populations.

  4. Increasing cropping system diversity balances productivity, profitability and environmental health

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Balancing productivity, profitability, and environmental health is a key challenge for agricultural sustainability. Most crop production systems in the United States are characterized by low species and management diversity, high use of fossil energy and agrichemicals, and can have large negative im...

  5. Exotic plant infestation is associated with decreased modularity and increased numbers of connectors in mixed-grass prairie pollination networks

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Larson, Diane L.; Rabie, Paul A.; Droege, Sam; Larson, Jennifer L.; Haar, Milton

    2016-01-01

    The majority of pollinating insects are generalists whose lifetimes overlap flowering periods of many potentially suitable plant species. Such generality is instrumental in allowing exotic plant species to invade pollination networks. The particulars of how existing networks change in response to an invasive plant over the course of its phenology are not well characterized, but may shed light on the probability of long-term effects on plant-pollinator interactions and the stability of network structure. Here we describe changes in network topology and modular structure of infested and non-infested networks during the flowering season of the generalist non-native flowering plant, Cirsium arvense in mixed-grass prairie at Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA. Objectives were to compare network-level effects of infestation as they propagate over the season in infested and non-infested (with respect to C. arvense) networks. We characterized plant-pollinator networks on 5 non-infested and 7 infested 1-ha plots during 4 sample periods that collectively covered the length of C. arvense flowering period. Two other abundantly-flowering invasive plants were present during this time: Melilotus officinalis had highly variable floral abundance in both C. arvense-infested and non-infested plots andConvolvulus arvensis, which occurred almost exclusively in infested plots and peaked early in the season. Modularity, including roles of individual species, and network topology were assessed for each sample period as well as in pooled infested and non-infested networks. Differences in modularity and network metrics between infested and non-infested networks were limited to the third and fourth sample periods, during flower senescence of C. arvenseand the other invasive species; generality of pollinators rose concurrently, suggesting rewiring of the network and a lag effect of earlier floral abundance. Modularity was lower and number of connectors higher in infested

  6. Exotic Plant Infestation Is Associated with Decreased Modularity and Increased Numbers of Connectors in Mixed-Grass Prairie Pollination Networks

    PubMed Central

    Larson, Diane L.; Rabie, Paul A.; Droege, Sam; Larson, Jennifer L.; Haar, Milton

    2016-01-01

    The majority of pollinating insects are generalists whose lifetimes overlap flowering periods of many potentially suitable plant species. Such generality is instrumental in allowing exotic plant species to invade pollination networks. The particulars of how existing networks change in response to an invasive plant over the course of its phenology are not well characterized, but may shed light on the probability of long-term effects on plant-pollinator interactions and the stability of network structure. Here we describe changes in network topology and modular structure of infested and non-infested networks during the flowering season of the generalist non-native flowering plant, Cirsium arvense in mixed-grass prairie at Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA. Objectives were to compare network-level effects of infestation as they propagate over the season in infested and non-infested (with respect to C. arvense) networks. We characterized plant-pollinator networks on 5 non-infested and 7 infested 1-ha plots during 4 sample periods that collectively covered the length of C. arvense flowering period. Two other abundantly-flowering invasive plants were present during this time: Melilotus officinalis had highly variable floral abundance in both C. arvense-infested and non-infested plots and Convolvulus arvensis, which occurred almost exclusively in infested plots and peaked early in the season. Modularity, including roles of individual species, and network topology were assessed for each sample period as well as in pooled infested and non-infested networks. Differences in modularity and network metrics between infested and non-infested networks were limited to the third and fourth sample periods, during flower senescence of C. arvense and the other invasive species; generality of pollinators rose concurrently, suggesting rewiring of the network and a lag effect of earlier floral abundance. Modularity was lower and number of connectors higher in infested networks

  7. Integrated soil-crop system management: reducing environmental risk while increasing crop productivity and improving nutrient use efficiency in China.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Fusuo; Cui, Zhenling; Fan, Mingsheng; Zhang, Weifeng; Chen, Xinping; Jiang, Rongfeng

    2011-01-01

    During the past 47 yr (1961-2007), Chinese cereal production has increased by 3.2-fold, successfully feeding 22% of the global human population with only 9% of the world's arable land, but at high environmental cost and resource consumption. Worse, crop production has been stagnant since 1996 while the population and demand for food continue to rise. New advances for sustainability of agriculture and ecosystem services will be needed during the coming 50 yr to reduce environmental risk while increasing crop productivity and improving nutrient use efficiency. Here, we advocate and develop integrated soil-crop system management (ISSM). In this approach, the key points are (i) to take all possible soil quality improvement measures into consideration, (ii) to integrate the utilization of various nutrient resources and match nutrient supply to crop requirements, and (iii) to integrate soil and nutrient management with high-yielding cultivation systems. Recent field experiments have shed light on how ISSM can lead to significant increases in crop yields while increasing nutrient use efficiency and reducing environmental risk.

  8. A Tale of Two Bees: Looking at Pollination Fees for Both Almonds and Sweet Cherries

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The economic theory of supply and demand can explain the recent drastic changes in the pollination prices for almonds and cherries, following large acreage increases for these crops and a concurrent drop in honey bee availability due to colony collapse disorder (CCD). We constructed a model which s...

  9. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) pollination in California's Central Valley is limited by native bee nest site location.

    PubMed

    Sardiñas, Hillary S; Tom, Kathleen; Ponisio, Lauren Catherine; Rominger, Andrew; Kremen, Claire

    2016-03-01

    within sunflower fields, with edges receiving higher coverage than field centers. To generate more accurate maps of services, we advocate directly measuring the autecology of ecosystem service providers, which vary by crop system, pollinator species, and region. Improving estimates of the factors affecting pollinator populations can increase the accuracy of pollination service maps and help clarify the influence of farming practices on wild bees occurring in agricultural landscapes.

  10. Flowering plants under global pollinator decline.

    PubMed

    Thomann, Michel; Imbert, Eric; Devaux, Céline; Cheptou, Pierre-Olivier

    2013-07-01

    There is now compelling evidence of a reduction of pollinator richness and density at a global scale. In this opinion article, we argue that such pollinator decline intensifies pollen limitation and reduces plant reproductive success, threatening natural populations of extinction. We use genetic architecture and selection experiments on floral traits and evaluate the potential for plant reproductive strategies to adapt rapidly to new pollination environments. We propose that plant reproductive strategies could adapt to the current pollinator decline by decreasing or increasing their reliance to pollinators, for example, increasing autonomous selfing or reinforcing interactions with pollinators. We further discuss if and how adaptation of plant reproductive strategies can buffer the demographic consequences of pollinator decline, and possibly rescue plant populations from extinction.

  11. Natural and within-farmland biodiversity enhances crop productivity.

    PubMed

    Carvalheiro, Luísa Gigante; Veldtman, Ruan; Shenkute, Awraris Getachew; Tesfay, Gebreamlak Bezabih; Pirk, Christian Walter Werner; Donaldson, John Sydney; Nicolson, Susan Wendy

    2011-03-01

    Ongoing expansion of large-scale agriculture critically threatens natural habitats and the pollination services they offer. Creating patches with high plant diversity within farmland is commonly suggested as a measure to benefit pollinators. However, farmers rarely adopt such practice, instead removing naturally occurring plants (weeds). By combining pollinator exclusion experiments with analysis of honeybee behaviour and flower-visitation webs, we found that the presence of weeds allowed pollinators to persist within sunflower fields, maximizing the benefits of the remaining patches of natural habitat to productivity of this large-scale crop. Weed diversity increased flower visitor diversity, hence ameliorating the measured negative effects of isolation from natural habitat. Although honeybees were the most abundant visitors, diversity of flower visitors enhanced honeybee movement, being the main factor influencing productivity. Conservation of natural patches combined with promoting flowering plants within crops can maximize productivity and, therefore, reduce the need for cropland expansion, contributing towards sustainable agriculture.

  12. Pollinators visit related plant species across 29 plant–pollinator networks

    PubMed Central

    Vamosi, Jana C; Moray, Clea M; Garcha, Navdeep K; Chamberlain, Scott A; Mooers, Arne Ø

    2014-01-01

    Understanding the evolution of specialization in host plant use by pollinators is often complicated by variability in the ecological context of specialization. Flowering communities offer their pollinators varying numbers and proportions of floral resources, and the uniformity observed in these floral resources is, to some degree, due to shared ancestry. Here, we find that pollinators visit related plant species more so than expected by chance throughout 29 plant–pollinator networks of varying sizes, with “clade specialization” increasing with community size. As predicted, less versatile pollinators showed more clade specialization overall. We then asked whether this clade specialization varied with the ratio of pollinator species to plant species such that pollinators were changing their behavior when there was increased competition (and presumably a forced narrowing of the realized niche) by examining pollinators that were present in at least three of the networks. Surprisingly, we found little evidence that variation in clade specialization is caused by pollinator species changing their behavior in different community contexts, suggesting that clade specialization is observed when pollinators are either restricted in their floral choices due to morphological constraints or innate preferences. The resulting pollinator sharing between closely related plant species could result in selection for greater pollinator specialization. PMID:25360269

  13. Large-scale deployment of seed treatments has driven rapid increase in use of neonicotinoid insecticides and preemptive pest management in US field crops.

    PubMed

    Douglas, Margaret R; Tooker, John F

    2015-04-21

    Neonicotinoids are the most widely used class of insecticides worldwide, but patterns of their use in the U.S. are poorly documented, constraining attempts to understand their role in pest management and potential nontarget effects. We synthesized publicly available data to estimate and interpret trends in neonicotinoid use since their introduction in 1994, with a special focus on seed treatments, a major use not captured by the national pesticide-use survey. Neonicotinoid use increased rapidly between 2003 and 2011, as seed-applied products were introduced in field crops, marking an unprecedented shift toward large-scale, preemptive insecticide use: 34-44% of soybeans and 79-100% of maize hectares were treated in 2011. This finding contradicts recent analyses, which concluded that insecticides are used today on fewer maize hectares than a decade or two ago. If current trends continue, neonicotinoid use will increase further through application to more hectares of soybean and other crop species and escalation of per-seed rates. Alternatively, our results, and other recent analyses, suggest that carefully targeted efforts could considerably reduce neonicotinoid use in field crops without yield declines or economic harm to farmers, reducing the potential for pest resistance, nontarget pest outbreaks, environmental contamination, and harm to wildlife, including pollinator species.

  14. Valuing insect pollination services with cost of replacement.

    PubMed

    Allsopp, Mike H; de Lange, Willem J; Veldtman, Ruan

    2008-09-10

    Value estimates of ecosystem goods and services are useful to justify the allocation of resources towards conservation, but inconclusive estimates risk unsustainable resource allocations. Here we present replacement costs as a more accurate value estimate of insect pollination as an ecosystem service, although this method could also be applied to other services. The importance of insect pollination to agriculture is unequivocal. However, whether this service is largely provided by wild pollinators (genuine ecosystem service) or managed pollinators (commercial service), and which of these requires immediate action amidst reports of pollinator decline, remains contested. If crop pollination is used to argue for biodiversity conservation, clear distinction should be made between values of managed- and wild pollination services. Current methods either under-estimate or over-estimate the pollination service value, and make use of criticised general insect and managed pollinator dependence factors. We apply the theoretical concept of ascribing a value to a service by calculating the cost to replace it, as a novel way of valuing wild and managed pollination services. Adjusted insect and managed pollinator dependence factors were used to estimate the cost of replacing insect- and managed pollination services for the Western Cape deciduous fruit industry of South Africa. Using pollen dusting and hand pollination as suitable replacements, we value pollination services significantly higher than current market prices for commercial pollination, although lower than traditional proportional estimates. The complexity associated with inclusive value estimation of pollination services required several defendable assumptions, but made estimates more inclusive than previous attempts. Consequently this study provides the basis for continued improvement in context specific pollination service value estimates.

  15. Valuing Insect Pollination Services with Cost of Replacement

    PubMed Central

    Allsopp, Mike H.; de Lange, Willem J.; Veldtman, Ruan

    2008-01-01

    Value estimates of ecosystem goods and services are useful to justify the allocation of resources towards conservation, but inconclusive estimates risk unsustainable resource allocations. Here we present replacement costs as a more accurate value estimate of insect pollination as an ecosystem service, although this method could also be applied to other services. The importance of insect pollination to agriculture is unequivocal. However, whether this service is largely provided by wild pollinators (genuine ecosystem service) or managed pollinators (commercial service), and which of these requires immediate action amidst reports of pollinator decline, remains contested. If crop pollination is used to argue for biodiversity conservation, clear distinction should be made between values of managed- and wild pollination services. Current methods either under-estimate or over-estimate the pollination service value, and make use of criticised general insect and managed pollinator dependence factors. We apply the theoretical concept of ascribing a value to a service by calculating the cost to replace it, as a novel way of valuing wild and managed pollination services. Adjusted insect and managed pollinator dependence factors were used to estimate the cost of replacing insect- and managed pollination services for the Western Cape deciduous fruit industry of South Africa. Using pollen dusting and hand pollination as suitable replacements, we value pollination services significantly higher than current market prices for commercial pollination, although lower than traditional proportional estimates. The complexity associated with inclusive value estimation of pollination services required several defendable assumptions, but made estimates more inclusive than previous attempts. Consequently this study provides the basis for continued improvement in context specific pollination service value estimates. PMID:18781196

  16. A faster Rubisco with potential to increase photosynthesis in crops.

    PubMed

    Lin, Myat T; Occhialini, Alessandro; Andralojc, P John; Parry, Martin A J; Hanson, Maureen R

    2014-09-25

    In photosynthetic organisms, D-ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) is the major enzyme assimilating atmospheric CO2 into the biosphere. Owing to the wasteful oxygenase activity and slow turnover of Rubisco, the enzyme is among the most important targets for improving the photosynthetic efficiency of vascular plants. It has been anticipated that introducing the CO2-concentrating mechanism (CCM) from cyanobacteria into plants could enhance crop yield. However, the complex nature of Rubisco's assembly has made manipulation of the enzyme extremely challenging, and attempts to replace it in plants with the enzymes from cyanobacteria and red algae have not been successful. Here we report two transplastomic tobacco lines with functional Rubisco from the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC7942 (Se7942). We knocked out the native tobacco gene encoding the large subunit of Rubisco by inserting the large and small subunit genes of the Se7942 enzyme, in combination with either the corresponding Se7942 assembly chaperone, RbcX, or an internal carboxysomal protein, CcmM35, which incorporates three small subunit-like domains. Se7942 Rubisco and CcmM35 formed macromolecular complexes within the chloroplast stroma, mirroring an early step in the biogenesis of cyanobacterial β-carboxysomes. Both transformed lines were photosynthetically competent, supporting autotrophic growth, and their respective forms of Rubisco had higher rates of CO2 fixation per unit of enzyme than the tobacco control. These transplastomic tobacco lines represent an important step towards improved photosynthesis in plants and will be valuable hosts for future addition of the remaining components of the cyanobacterial CCM, such as inorganic carbon transporters and the β-carboxysome shell proteins.

  17. Global malnutrition overlaps with pollinator-dependent micronutrient production

    PubMed Central

    Chaplin-Kramer, Rebecca; Dombeck, Emily; Gerber, James; Knuth, Katherine A.; Mueller, Nathaniel D.; Mueller, Megan; Ziv, Guy; Klein, Alexandra-Maria

    2014-01-01

    Pollinators contribute around 10% of the economic value of crop production globally, but the contribution of these pollinators to human nutrition is potentially much higher. Crops vary in the degree to which they benefit from pollinators, and many of the most pollinator-dependent crops are also among the richest in micronutrients essential to human health. This study examines regional differences in the pollinator dependence of crop micronutrient content and reveals overlaps between this dependency and the severity of micronutrient deficiency in people around the world. As much as 50% of the production of plant-derived sources of vitamin A requires pollination throughout much of Southeast Asia, whereas other essential micronutrients such as iron and folate have lower dependencies, scattered throughout Africa, Asia and Central America. Micronutrient deficiencies are three times as likely to occur in areas of highest pollination dependence for vitamin A and iron, suggesting that disruptions in pollination could have serious implications for the accessibility of micronutrients for public health. These regions of high nutritional vulnerability are understudied in the pollination literature, and should be priority areas for research related to ecosystem services and human well-being. PMID:25232140

  18. Global malnutrition overlaps with pollinator-dependent micronutrient production.

    PubMed

    Chaplin-Kramer, Rebecca; Dombeck, Emily; Gerber, James; Knuth, Katherine A; Mueller, Nathaniel D; Mueller, Megan; Ziv, Guy; Klein, Alexandra-Maria

    2014-11-07

    Pollinators contribute around 10% of the economic value of crop production globally, but the contribution of these pollinators to human nutrition is potentially much higher. Crops vary in the degree to which they benefit from pollinators, and many of the most pollinator-dependent crops are also among the richest in micronutrients essential to human health. This study examines regional differences in the pollinator dependence of crop micronutrient content and reveals overlaps between this dependency and the severity of micronutrient deficiency in people around the world. As much as 50% of the production of plant-derived sources of vitamin A requires pollination throughout much of Southeast Asia, whereas other essential micronutrients such as iron and folate have lower dependencies, scattered throughout Africa, Asia and Central America. Micronutrient deficiencies are three times as likely to occur in areas of highest pollination dependence for vitamin A and iron, suggesting that disruptions in pollination could have serious implications for the accessibility of micronutrients for public health. These regions of high nutritional vulnerability are understudied in the pollination literature, and should be priority areas for research related to ecosystem services and human well-being.

  19. Hairiness: the missing link between pollinators and pollination

    PubMed Central

    Liñán-Cembrano, Gustavo; Beggs, Jacqueline R.; Howlett, Brad G.; Pattemore, David E.; Bartomeus, Ignasi

    2016-01-01

    Background Functional traits are the primary biotic component driving organism influence on ecosystem functions; in consequence, traits are widely used in ecological research. However, most animal trait-based studies use easy-to-measure characteristics of species that are at best only weakly associated with functions. Animal-mediated pollination is a key ecosystem function and is likely to be influenced by pollinator traits, but to date no one has identified functional traits that are simple to measure and have good predictive power. Methods Here, we show that a simple, easy to measure trait (hairiness) can predict pollinator effectiveness with high accuracy. We used a novel image analysis method to calculate entropy values for insect body surfaces as a measure of hairiness. We evaluated the power of our method for predicting pollinator effectiveness by regressing pollinator hairiness (entropy) against single visit pollen deposition (SVD) and pollen loads on insects. We used linear models and AICC model selection to determine which body regions were the best predictors of SVD and pollen load. Results We found that hairiness can be used as a robust proxy of SVD. The best models for predicting SVD for the flower species Brassica rapa and Actinidia deliciosa were hairiness on the face and thorax as predictors (R2 = 0.98 and 0.91 respectively). The best model for predicting pollen load for B. rapa was hairiness on the face (R2 = 0.81). Discussion We suggest that the match between pollinator body region hairiness and plant reproductive structure morphology is a powerful predictor of pollinator effectiveness. We show that pollinator hairiness is strongly linked to pollination—an important ecosystem function, and provide a rigorous and time-efficient method for measuring hairiness. Identifying and accurately measuring key traits that drive ecosystem processes is critical as global change increasingly alters ecological communities, and subsequently, ecosystem

  20. Orchid pollination biology.

    PubMed

    Anders Nilsson, L

    1992-08-01

    Orchids display many unsurpassed floral specializations, as both rewarders and frauds in their interaction with animal pollinators. Accumulating evidence indicates that their floral evolution is driven by pollinator traits and that expenditure for maximized sexual reproduction is parcelled out over their lifetimes in strategies for coping with pollinator and resource limitations. Recent advances in orchid pollination biology center mainly on floral evolutionary processes, pseudocopulation and other deceptive pollination systems, and flower and fruit production in relation to costs of sexual reproduction.

  1. Flowering Dynamics and Pollinator Visitation of Oilseed Echium (Echium plantagineum)

    PubMed Central

    Eberle, Carrie A.; Forcella, Frank; Gesch, Russ; Weyers, Sharon; Peterson, Dean; Eklund, James

    2014-01-01

    Echium (Echium plantagineum L.) is an alternative oilseed crop in summer-wet temperate regions that provides floral resources to pollinators. Its seed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as stearidonic acid, which is desired highly by the cosmetic industry. Seeds were sown in field plots over three years in western Minnesota in spring (early-sown) or early summer (late-sown), and flower abundance, pollinator visitation, and seed yields were studied. Initial flowering commenced 41 to 55 d after sowing, and anthesis duration (first flowering to harvest) was 34 to 70 d. Late sowing dates delayed anthesis, but increased the intensity of visitation by pollinators. Cumulative flower densities ranged from 1 to 4.5 billion ha−1. Flowers attracted numerous honey bees (Apis mellifera L.), as many as 35 per minute of observation, which represented about 50% of all insect visitors. Early-sown echium produced seed yields up to 750 kg ha−1, which were 2–29 times higher than those of late-sown echium. Early sowing of echium in Minnesota provides abundant floral resources for pollinators for up to two months and simultaneously produces seed yields whose profits rival those of corn (Zea mays L.). PMID:25427071

  2. Increased production of nutriments by genetically engineered crops.

    PubMed

    Sévenier, Robert; van der Meer, Ingrid M; Bino, Raoul; Koops, Andries J

    2002-06-01

    Plants are the basis of human nutrition and have been selected and improved to assure this purpose. Nowadays, new technologies such as genetic engineering and genomics approaches allow further improvement of plants. We describe here three examples for which these techniques have been employed. We introduced the first enzyme involved in fructan synthesis, the sucrose sucrose fructosyltransferase (isolated from Jerusalem artichoke), into sugar beet. The transgenic sugar beet showed a dramatic change in the nature of the accumulated sugar, 90% of the sucrose being converted into fructan. The use of transgenic sugar beet for the production and isolation of fructans will result in a more efficient plant production system of fructans and should promote their use in human food. The second example shows how the over-expression of the key enzyme of flavonoid biosynthesis could increase anti-oxidant levels in tomato. Introduction of a highly expressed chalcone isomerase led to a seventyfold increase of the amount of quercetin glucoside, which is a strong anti-oxidant in tomato. We were also able to modify the essential amino acid content of potato in order to increase its nutritional value. The introduction of a feedback insensitive bacterial gene involved in biosynthesis of aspartate family amino acids led to a sixfold increase of the lysine content. Because the use of a bacterial gene could appear to be controversial, we also introduced a mutated form of the plant key enzyme of lysine biosynthesis (dihydrodipicolinate synthase) in potato. This modification led to a 15 times increase of the lysine content of potato. This increase of the essential amino acid lysine influences the nutritional value of potato, which normally has low levels of several essential amino acids. These three examples show how the metabolism of primary constituents of the plant cell such as sugar or amino acids, but also of secondary metabolites such as flavonoids, can be modified by genetic

  3. Field Margins, Foraging Distances and Their Impacts on Nesting Pollinator Success

    PubMed Central

    Rands, Sean A.; Whitney, Heather M.

    2011-01-01

    The areas of wild land around the edges of agricultural fields are a vital resource for many species. These include insect pollinators, to whom field margins provide both nest sites and important resources (especially when adjacent crops are not in flower). Nesting pollinators travel relatively short distances from the nest to forage: most species of bee are known to travel less than two kilometres away. In order to ensure that these pollinators have sufficient areas of wild land within reach of their nests, agricultural landscapes need to be designed to accommodate the limited travelling distances of nesting pollinators. We used a spatially-explicit modelling approach to consider whether increasing the width of wild strips of land within the agricultural landscape will enhance the amount of wild resources available to a nesting pollinator, and if it would impact differently on pollinators with differing foraging strategies. This was done both by creating field structures with a randomised geography, and by using landscape data based upon the British agricultural landscape. These models demonstrate that enhancing field margins should lead to an increase in the availability of forage to pollinators that nest within the landscape. With the exception of species that only forage within a very short range of their nest (less than 125 m), a given amount of field margin manipulation should enhance the proportion of land available to a pollinator for foraging regardless of the distance over which it normally travels to find food. A fixed amount of field edge manipulation should therefore be equally beneficial for both longer-distance nesting foragers such as honeybees, and short-distance foragers such as solitary bees. PMID:21991390

  4. Variation in highbush blueberry floral volatile profiles as a function of pollination status, cultivar, time of day and flower part: implications for flower visitation by bees

    PubMed Central

    Rodriguez-Saona, Cesar; Parra, Leonardo; Quiroz, Andrés; Isaacs, Rufus

    2011-01-01

    Background and Aims Studies of the effects of pollination on floral scent and bee visitation remain rare, particularly in agricultural crops. To fill this gap, the hypothesis that bee visitation to flowers decreases after pollination through reduced floral volatile emissions in highbush blueberries, Vaccinium corymbosum, was tested. Other sources of variation in floral emissions and the role of floral volatiles in bee attraction were also examined. Methods Pollinator visitation to blueberry flowers was manipulated by bagging all flowers within a bush (pollinator excluded) or leaving them unbagged (open pollinated), and then the effect on floral volatile emissions and future bee visitation were measured. Floral volatiles were also measured from different blueberry cultivars, times of the day and flower parts, and a study was conducted to test the attraction of bees to floral volatiles. Key Results Open-pollinated blueberry flowers had 32 % lower volatile emissions than pollinator-excluded flowers. In particular, cinnamyl alcohol, a major component of the floral blend that is emitted exclusively from petals, was emitted in lower quantities from open-pollinated flowers. Although, no differences in cinnamyl alcohol emissions were detected among three blueberry cultivars or at different times of day, some components of the blueberry floral blend were emitted in higher amounts from certain cultivars and at mid-day. Field observations showed that more bees visited bushes with pollinator-excluded flowers. Also, more honey bees were caught in traps baited with a synthetic blueberry floral blend than in unbaited traps. Conclusions Greater volatile emissions may help guide bees to unpollinated flowers, and thus increase plant fitness and bee energetic return when foraging in blueberries. Furthermore, the variation in volatile emissions from blueberry flowers depending on pollination status, plant cultivar and time of day suggests an adaptive role of floral signals in

  5. Managing Cover Crops, Crop Rotation, and Poultry Manure to Increase Soil Health

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Public interest has been stimulated by increasing awareness that soil is a critically important component of the earth’s biosphere, functioning not only in the production of food and fiber but also in the maintenance of local, regional, and global environmental quality. A healthy soil is also the ba...

  6. Hotspots of human nutrition: Micronutrient supply, demand, and pollinator dependence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dombeck, E.; Chaplin-Kramer, R.; Mueller, M.; Mueller, N. D.; Foley, J. A.

    2012-12-01

    While our caloric needs can mostly be met by wind-pollinated crops such as cereals, a recent analysis of USDA data shows that animal-pollinated crops contain the vast majority of many essential nutrients, including vitamins A and C, calcium, fluoride, and folic acid. In this work we combined global crop yield data with data on nutritional content in each crop to map nutrient production around the world, and to illustrate the value of pollination services to human nutrition. Spatially explicit crop yields (at 5 min resolution) were multiplied by crop nutrient content and by crop dependence on pollination to map where reductions in total nutrient production would occur if pollination services were removed. Nutrient demand maps (human nutrient requirements multiplied by population density) were generated to identify regions where local reduction in pollination services could threaten nutritional security. Nutrient deficiency maps (nutrient supply minus nutrient demand) were also created to identify hotspots where local crop production is not adequate to meet local nutritional needs.

  7. Changes of multispectral soil patterns with increasing crop canopy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kristof, S. J.; Baumgardner, M. F.

    1972-01-01

    Multispectral data and automatic data processing were used to map surface soil patterns and to follow the changes in multispectral radiation from a field of maize (Zea mays L.) during a period from seeding to maturity. Panchromatic aerial photography was obtained in early May 1970 and multispectral scanner missions were flown on May 6, June 30, August 11 and September 5, 1970 to obtain energy measurements in 13 wavelength bands. The orange portion of the visible spectrum was used in analyzing the May and June data to cluster relative radiance of the soils into eight different radiance levels. The reflective infrared spectral band was used in analyzing the August and September data to cluster maize into different spectral categories. The computer-produced soil patterns had a striking similarity to the soil pattern of the aerial photograph. These patterns became less distinct as the maize canopy increased.

  8. Breeding and Domesticating Crops Adapted to Drought and Salinity: A New Paradigm for Increasing Food Production

    PubMed Central

    Fita, Ana; Rodríguez-Burruezo, Adrián; Boscaiu, Monica; Prohens, Jaime; Vicente, Oscar

    2015-01-01

    World population is expected to reach 9.2 × 109 people by 2050. Feeding them will require a boost in crop productivity using innovative approaches. Current agricultural production is very dependent on large amounts of inputs and water availability is a major limiting factor. In addition, the loss of genetic diversity and the threat of climate change make a change of paradigm in plant breeding and agricultural practices necessary. Average yields in all major crops are only a small fraction of record yields, and drought and soil salinity are the main factors responsible for yield reduction. Therefore there is the need to enhance crop productivity by improving crop adaptation. Here we review the present situation and propose the development of crops tolerant to drought and salt stress for addressing the challenge of dramatically increasing food production in the near future. The success in the development of crops adapted to drought and salt depends on the efficient and combined use of genetic engineering and traditional breeding tools. Moreover, we propose the domestication of new halophilic crops to create a ‘saline agriculture’ which will not compete in terms of resources with conventional agriculture. PMID:26617620

  9. Breeding and Domesticating Crops Adapted to Drought and Salinity: A New Paradigm for Increasing Food Production.

    PubMed

    Fita, Ana; Rodríguez-Burruezo, Adrián; Boscaiu, Monica; Prohens, Jaime; Vicente, Oscar

    2015-01-01

    World population is expected to reach 9.2 × 10(9) people by 2050. Feeding them will require a boost in crop productivity using innovative approaches. Current agricultural production is very dependent on large amounts of inputs and water availability is a major limiting factor. In addition, the loss of genetic diversity and the threat of climate change make a change of paradigm in plant breeding and agricultural practices necessary. Average yields in all major crops are only a small fraction of record yields, and drought and soil salinity are the main factors responsible for yield reduction. Therefore there is the need to enhance crop productivity by improving crop adaptation. Here we review the present situation and propose the development of crops tolerant to drought and salt stress for addressing the challenge of dramatically increasing food production in the near future. The success in the development of crops adapted to drought and salt depends on the efficient and combined use of genetic engineering and traditional breeding tools. Moreover, we propose the domestication of new halophilic crops to create a 'saline agriculture' which will not compete in terms of resources with conventional agriculture.

  10. The sudden collapse of pollinator communities.

    PubMed

    Lever, J Jelle; van Nes, Egbert H; Scheffer, Marten; Bascompte, Jordi

    2014-03-01

    Declines in pollinator populations may harm biodiversity and agricultural productivity. Little attention has, however, been paid to the systemic response of mutualistic communities to global environmental change. Using a modelling approach and merging network theory with theory on critical transitions, we show that the scale and nature of critical transitions is likely to be influenced by the architecture of mutualistic networks. Specifically, we show that pollinator populations may collapse suddenly once drivers of pollinator decline reach a critical point. A high connectance and/or nestedness of the mutualistic network increases the capacity of pollinator populations to persist under harsh conditions. However, once a tipping point is reached, pollinator populations collapse simultaneously. Recovering from this single community-wide collapse requires a relatively large improvement of conditions. These findings may have large implications for our view on the sustainability of pollinator communities and the services they provide.

  11. Wildlife-friendly farming increases crop yield: evidence for ecological intensification.

    PubMed

    Pywell, Richard F; Heard, Matthew S; Woodcock, Ben A; Hinsley, Shelley; Ridding, Lucy; Nowakowski, Marek; Bullock, James M

    2015-10-07

    Ecological intensification has been promoted as a means to achieve environmentally sustainable increases in crop yields by enhancing ecosystem functions that regulate and support production. There is, however, little direct evidence of yield benefits from ecological intensification on commercial farms growing globally important foodstuffs (grains, oilseeds and pulses). We replicated two treatments removing 3 or 8% of land at the field edge from production to create wildlife habitat in 50-60 ha patches over a 900 ha commercial arable farm in central England, and compared these to a business as usual control (no land removed). In the control fields, crop yields were reduced by as much as 38% at the field edge. Habitat creation in these lower yielding areas led to increased yield in the cropped areas of the fields, and this positive effect became more pronounced over 6 years. As a consequence, yields at the field scale were maintained--and, indeed, enhanced for some crops--despite the loss of cropland for habitat creation. These results suggested that over a 5-year crop rotation, there would be no adverse impact on overall yield in terms of monetary value or nutritional energy. This study provides a clear demonstration that wildlife-friendly management which supports ecosystem services is compatible with, and can even increase, crop yields.

  12. Modeling Pollinator Community Response to Contrasting Bioenergy Scenarios

    PubMed Central

    Bennett, Ashley B.; Meehan, Timothy D.; Gratton, Claudio; Isaacs, Rufus

    2014-01-01

    In the United States, policy initiatives aimed at increasing sources of renewable energy are advancing bioenergy production, especially in the Midwest region, where agricultural landscapes dominate. While policy directives are focused on renewable fuel production, biodiversity and ecosystem services will be impacted by the land-use changes required to meet production targets. Using data from field observations, we developed empirical models for predicting abundance, diversity, and community composition of flower-visiting bees based on land cover. We used these models to explore how bees might respond under two contrasting bioenergy scenarios: annual bioenergy crop production and perennial grassland bioenergy production. In the two scenarios, 600,000 ha of marginal annual crop land or marginal grassland were converted to perennial grassland or annual row crop bioenergy production, respectively. Model projections indicate that expansion of annual bioenergy crop production at this scale will reduce bee abundance by 0 to 71%, and bee diversity by 0 to 28%, depending on location. In contrast, converting annual crops on marginal soil to perennial grasslands could increase bee abundance from 0 to 600% and increase bee diversity between 0 and 53%. Our analysis of bee community composition suggested a similar pattern, with bee communities becoming less diverse under annual bioenergy crop production, whereas bee composition transitioned towards a more diverse community dominated by wild bees under perennial bioenergy crop production. Models, like those employed here, suggest that bioenergy policies have important consequences for pollinator conservation. PMID:25365559

  13. Modeling pollinator community response to contrasting bioenergy scenarios.

    PubMed

    Bennett, Ashley B; Meehan, Timothy D; Gratton, Claudio; Isaacs, Rufus

    2014-01-01

    In the United States, policy initiatives aimed at increasing sources of renewable energy are advancing bioenergy production, especially in the Midwest region, where agricultural landscapes dominate. While policy directives are focused on renewable fuel production, biodiversity and ecosystem services will be impacted by the land-use changes required to meet production targets. Using data from field observations, we developed empirical models for predicting abundance, diversity, and community composition of flower-visiting bees based on land cover. We used these models to explore how bees might respond under two contrasting bioenergy scenarios: annual bioenergy crop production and perennial grassland bioenergy production. In the two scenarios, 600,000 ha of marginal annual crop land or marginal grassland were converted to perennial grassland or annual row crop bioenergy production, respectively. Model projections indicate that expansion of annual bioenergy crop production at this scale will reduce bee abundance by 0 to 71%, and bee diversity by 0 to 28%, depending on location. In contrast, converting annual crops on marginal soil to perennial grasslands could increase bee abundance from 0 to 600% and increase bee diversity between 0 and 53%. Our analysis of bee community composition suggested a similar pattern, with bee communities becoming less diverse under annual bioenergy crop production, whereas bee composition transitioned towards a more diverse community dominated by wild bees under perennial bioenergy crop production. Models, like those employed here, suggest that bioenergy policies have important consequences for pollinator conservation.

  14. Orchid pollination by sexual deception: pollinator perspectives.

    PubMed

    Gaskett, A C

    2011-02-01

    The extraordinary taxonomic and morphological diversity of orchids is accompanied by a remarkable range of pollinators and pollination systems. Sexually deceptive orchids are adapted to attract specific male insects that are fooled into attempting to mate with orchid flowers and inadvertently acting as pollinators. This review summarises current knowledge, explores new hypotheses in the literature, and introduces some new approaches to understanding sexual deception from the perspective of the duped pollinator. Four main topics are addressed: (1) global patterns in sexual deception, (2) pollinator identities, mating systems and behaviours, (3) pollinator perception of orchid deceptive signals, and (4) the evolutionary implications of pollinator responses to orchid deception, including potential costs imposed on pollinators by orchids. A global list of known and putative sexually deceptive orchids and their pollinators is provided and methods for incorporating pollinator perspectives into sexual deception research are provided and reviewed. At present, almost all known sexually deceptive orchid taxa are from Australia or Europe. A few sexually deceptive species and genera are reported for New Zealand and South Africa. In Central and Southern America, Asia, and the Pacific many more species are likely to be identified in the future. Despite the great diversity of sexually deceptive orchid genera in Australia, pollination rates reported in the literature are similar between Australian and European species. The typical pollinator of a sexually deceptive orchid is a male insect of a species that is polygynous, monandrous, haplodiploid, and solitary rather than social. Insect behaviours involved in the pollination of sexually deceptive orchids include pre-copulatory gripping of flowers, brief entrapment, mating, and very rarely, ejaculation. Pollinator behaviour varies within and among pollinator species. Deception involving orchid mimicry of insect scent signals is

  15. More crop per drop - Increasing input efficiency in sprinkler irrigated potatoes.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kostka, Stan; Fang, Lisa; Ren, Haiqin; Glucksman, Robert; Gadd, Nick

    2014-05-01

    Water scarcity, climate change, and population growth are significant global challenges for producing sufficient food, fiber, and fuel in the 21st century. Feeding an increasingly hungry world necessitates innovative strategies and technologies to maximize crop production outputs while simultaneously increasing crop water productivity. In the 20th century, major advances in precision irrigation enabled producers to increase productivity while more efficiently applying water to crops. While pressurized irrigation systems can deliver water effectively to the soil surface, the efficiency of rootzone delivery may be compromised by intrinsic heterogeneities in soil wetting characteristics related to organic matter, biofilms, and hydrophobic coatings on soil particles and aggregates. Efficiently delivering applied irrigation water throughout the soil matrix is critical to increasing crop productivity. We propose that management of soil water access by surfactants is a viable management option to maintain or increase yields under deficit irrigation. Potato yield and tuber quality under sprinkler irrigation were evaluated under standard production practices or with the inclusion of an aqueous nonionic surfactant formulation (10 wt% alkoxylated polyols and 7% glucoethers) applied at 10L ha-1 between emergence and tuberization. Crop responses from multi-year evaluations conducted on irrigated potatoes in Idaho (USA) were compared to multi-year on farm grower evaluations in Australia and China. Surfactant treatment resulted in statistically significant increases in yield (+5%) and US No. 1 grades (+8%) while reducing culls (-10%) in trials conducted in Idaho, USA. Similar responses were observed in commercial grower evaluations conducted in Australia (+8% total yield, +18% mean tuber weight) and in China in 2011 (+8% total yield and +18% premium, -12% culls). Under diverse production conditions, a single application of the surfactant formulation improved crop water

  16. Wildflower Plantings Do Not Compete With Neighboring Almond Orchards for Pollinator Visits.

    PubMed

    Lundin, Ola; Ward, Kimiora L; Artz, Derek R; Boyle, Natalie K; Pitts-Singer, Theresa L; Williams, Neal M

    2017-04-03

    The engineering of flowering agricultural field borders has emerged as a research and policy priority to mitigate threats to pollinators. Studies have, however, rarely addressed the potential that flowering field borders might compete with neighboring crops for pollinator visits if they both are in bloom at the same time, despite this being a concern expressed by growers. We evaluated how wildflower plantings added to orchard borders in a large (512 ha) commercial almond orchard affected honey bee and wild bee visitation to orchard borders and the crop. The study was conducted over two consecutive seasons using three large (0.48 ha) wildflower plantings paired with control orchard borders in a highly simplified agricultural landscape in California. Honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) and wild bee visitation to wildflower plots were at least an order of magnitude higher than to control plots, but increased honey bee visitation to wildflower plots did not lead to any detectable shifts in honey bee visitation to almond flowers in the neighboring orchard. Wild bees were rarely observed visiting almond flowers irrespective of border treatment, indicating a limited short-term potential for augmenting crop pollination using wild bees in highly simplified agricultural landscapes. Although further studies are warranted on bee visitation and crop yield from spatially independent orchards, this study indicates that growers can support bees with alternative forage in almond orchards without risking competition between the wildflower plantings and the crop.

  17. Pollinator limitation on reproductive success in Iris tuberosa

    PubMed Central

    Pellegrino, Giuseppe

    2015-01-01

    Variation in plant and floral size can have conflicting effects on pollination and fruit production in flowering plants. This research examines the contributions of plant height, flower size and pollinator visitation to reproductive success in four populations of Iris tuberosa. The plants were pollinated exclusively by hymenopteran species, primarily during sunny days. Pollination supplementation increased the proportion of flowers that matured into fruit, with 95 % fruit set for hand-pollinated compared with 74.15 % for naturally pollinated flowers. The pollinator visitation rate and the proportion of fruit produced were not significantly different between tall and short plants or between small and large flowers. Furthermore, the increase in plant size and floral display did not increase the frequency of pollinator visitations and so did not increase the fruit set. Thus, despite the widespread effects of flowering plant size on pollinator attraction and plant reproduction in other species, these effects are lacking in I. tuberosa. This study quantifies the role of pollinators in the reproductive success of I. tuberosa. Pollinators visited tall/short plants and large/small flowers in equal proportion, suggesting that plant and floral display size do not affect pollinator attraction and reproductive success in I. tuberosa. These results suggest that sexual reproduction of I. tuberosa is fairly limited by pollinators and not by resource limitation. PMID:25527476

  18. African crop yield reductions due to increasingly unbalanced Nitrogen and Phosphorus consumption.

    PubMed

    van der Velde, Marijn; Folberth, Christian; Balkovič, Juraj; Ciais, Philippe; Fritz, Steffen; Janssens, Ivan A; Obersteiner, Michael; See, Linda; Skalský, Rastislav; Xiong, Wei; Peñuelas, Josep

    2014-04-01

    The impact of soil nutrient depletion on crop production has been known for decades, but robust assessments of the impact of increasingly unbalanced nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) application rates on crop production are lacking. Here, we use crop response functions based on 741 FAO maize crop trials and EPIC crop modeling across Africa to examine maize yield deficits resulting from unbalanced N : P applications under low, medium, and high input scenarios, for past (1975), current, and future N : P mass ratios of respectively, 1 : 0.29, 1 : 0.15, and 1 : 0.05. At low N inputs (10 kg ha(-1)), current yield deficits amount to 10% but will increase up to 27% under the assumed future N : P ratio, while at medium N inputs (50 kg N ha(-1)), future yield losses could amount to over 40%. The EPIC crop model was then used to simulate maize yields across Africa. The model results showed relative median future yield reductions at low N inputs of 40%, and 50% at medium and high inputs, albeit with large spatial variability. Dominant low-quality soils such as Ferralsols, which are strongly adsorbing P, and Arenosols with a low nutrient retention capacity, are associated with a strong yield decline, although Arenosols show very variable crop yield losses at low inputs. Optimal N : P ratios, i.e. those where the lowest amount of applied P produces the highest yield (given N input) where calculated with EPIC to be as low as 1 : 0.5. Finally, we estimated the additional P required given current N inputs, and given N inputs that would allow Africa to close yield gaps (ca. 70%). At current N inputs, P consumption would have to increase 2.3-fold to be optimal, and to increase 11.7-fold to close yield gaps. The P demand to overcome these yield deficits would provide a significant additional pressure on current global extraction of P resources.

  19. Benefits of supplementing an industrial waste anaerobic digester with energy crops for increased biogas production.

    PubMed

    Nges, Ivo Achu; Escobar, Federico; Fu, Xinmei; Björnsson, Lovisa

    2012-01-01

    Currently, there is increasing competition for waste as feedstock for the growing number of biogas plants. This has led to fluctuation in feedstock supply and biogas plants being operated below maximum capacity. The feasibility of supplementing a protein/lipid-rich industrial waste (pig manure, slaughterhouse waste, food processing and poultry waste) mesophilic anaerobic digester with carbohydrate-rich energy crops (hemp, maize and triticale) was therefore studied in laboratory scale batch and continuous stirred tank reactors (CSTR) with a view to scale-up to a commercial biogas process. Co-digesting industrial waste and crops led to significant improvement in methane yield per ton of feedstock and carbon-to-nitrogen ratio as compared to digestion of the industrial waste alone. Biogas production from crops in combination with industrial waste also avoids the need for micronutrients normally required in crop digestion. The batch co-digestion methane yields were used to predict co-digestion methane yield in full scale operation. This was done based on the ratio of methane yields observed for laboratory batch and CSTR experiments compared to full scale CSTR digestion of industrial waste. The economy of crop-based biogas production is limited under Swedish conditions; therefore, adding crops to existing industrial waste digestion could be a viable alternative to ensure a constant/reliable supply of feedstock to the anaerobic digester.

  20. Decreasing, not increasing, leaf area will raise crop yields under global atmospheric change.

    PubMed

    Srinivasan, Venkatraman; Kumar, Praveen; Long, Stephen P

    2017-04-01

    Without new innovations, present rates of increase in yields of food crops globally are inadequate to meet the projected rising food demand for 2050 and beyond. A prevailing response of crops to rising [CO2 ] is an increase in leaf area. This is especially marked in soybean, the world's fourth largest food crop in terms of seed production, and the most important vegetable protein source. Is this increase in leaf area beneficial, with respect to increasing yield, or is it detrimental? It is shown from theory and experiment using open-air whole-season elevation of atmospheric [CO2 ] that it is detrimental not only under future conditions of elevated [CO2 ] but also under today's [CO2 ]. A mechanistic biophysical and biochemical model of canopy carbon exchange and microclimate (MLCan) was parameterized for a modern US Midwest soybean cultivar. Model simulations showed that soybean crops grown under current and elevated (550 [ppm]) [CO2 ] overinvest in leaves, and this is predicted to decrease productivity and seed yield 8% and 10%, respectively. This prediction was tested in replicated field trials in which a proportion of emerging leaves was removed prior to expansion, so lowering investment in leaves. The experiment was conducted under open-air conditions for current and future elevated [CO2 ] within the Soybean Free Air Concentration Enrichment facility (SoyFACE) in central Illinois. This treatment resulted in a statistically significant 8% yield increase. This is the first direct proof that a modern crop cultivar produces more leaf than is optimal for yield under today's and future [CO2 ] and that reducing leaf area would give higher yields. Breeding or bioengineering for lower leaf area could, therefore, contribute very significantly to meeting future demand for staple food crops given that an 8% yield increase across the USA alone would amount to 6.5 million metric tons annually.

  1. Wildlife-friendly farming increases crop yield: evidence for ecological intensification

    PubMed Central

    Pywell, Richard F.; Heard, Matthew S.; Woodcock, Ben A.; Hinsley, Shelley; Ridding, Lucy; Nowakowski, Marek; Bullock, James M.

    2015-01-01

    Ecological intensification has been promoted as a means to achieve environmentally sustainable increases in crop yields by enhancing ecosystem functions that regulate and support production. There is, however, little direct evidence of yield benefits from ecological intensification on commercial farms growing globally important foodstuffs (grains, oilseeds and pulses). We replicated two treatments removing 3 or 8% of land at the field edge from production to create wildlife habitat in 50–60 ha patches over a 900 ha commercial arable farm in central England, and compared these to a business as usual control (no land removed). In the control fields, crop yields were reduced by as much as 38% at the field edge. Habitat creation in these lower yielding areas led to increased yield in the cropped areas of the fields, and this positive effect became more pronounced over 6 years. As a consequence, yields at the field scale were maintained—and, indeed, enhanced for some crops—despite the loss of cropland for habitat creation. These results suggested that over a 5-year crop rotation, there would be no adverse impact on overall yield in terms of monetary value or nutritional energy. This study provides a clear demonstration that wildlife-friendly management which supports ecosystem services is compatible with, and can even increase, crop yields. PMID:26423846

  2. Spatio-temporal patterns in pollination of deceptive Aristolochia rotunda L. (Aristolochiaceae).

    PubMed

    Oelschlägel, B; von Tschirnhaus, M; Nuss, M; Nikolić, T; Wanke, S; Dötterl, S; Neinhuis, C

    2016-11-01

    Pollination success of highly specialised flowers is susceptible to fluctuations of the pollinator fauna. Mediterranean Aristolochia rotunda has deceptive trap flowers exhibiting a highly specialised pollination system. The sole pollinators are kleptoparasitic flies in search of food. This study investigates these pollinators on a spatio-temporal scale and the impact of weather conditions on their availability. Two potential strategies of the plants to cope with pollinator limitation, i.e. autonomous selfing and an increased floral life span, were tested. A total of 6156 flowers were investigated for entrapped pollinators in 10 Croatian populations. Availability of the main pollinator was correlated to meteorological data. Artificial pollination experiments were conducted and the floral life span was recorded in two populations according to pollinator availability. Trachysiphonella ruficeps (Chloropidae) was identified as dominant pollinator, along with less abundant species of Chloropidae, Ceratopogonidae and Milichiidae. Pollinator compositions varied among populations. Weather conditions 15-30 days before pollination had a significant effect on availability of the main pollinator. Flowers were not autonomously selfing, and the floral life span exhibited considerable plasticity depending on pollinator availability. A. rotunda flowers rely on insect pollen vectors. Plants are specialised on a guild of kleptoparasitic flies, rather than on a single species. Pollinator variability may result in differing selection pressures among populations. The availability/abundance of pollinators depends on weather conditions during their larval development. Flowers show a prolonged trapping flower stage that likely increases outcrossing success during periods of pollinator limitation.

  3. Pollination and Plant Resources Change the Nutritional Quality of Almonds for Human Health

    PubMed Central

    Brittain, Claire; Kremen, Claire; Garber, Andrea; Klein, Alexandra-Maria

    2014-01-01

    Insect-pollinated crops provide important nutrients for human health. Pollination, water and nutrients available to crops can influence yield, but it is not known if the nutritional value of the crop is also influenced. Almonds are an important source of critical nutrients for human health such as unsaturated fat and vitamin E. We manipulated the pollination of almond trees and the resources available to the trees, to investigate the impact on the nutritional composition of the crop. The pollination treatments were: (a) exclusion of pollinators to initiate self-pollination and (b) hand cross-pollination; the plant resource treatments were: (c) reduced water and (d) no fertilizer. In an orchard in northern California, trees were exposed to a single treatment or a combination of two (one pollination and one resource). Both the fat and vitamin E composition of the nuts were highly influenced by pollination. Lower proportions of oleic to linoleic acid, which are less desirable from both a health and commercial perspective, were produced by the self-pollinated trees. However, higher levels of vitamin E were found in the self-pollinated nuts. In some cases, combined changes in pollination and plant resources sharpened the pollination effects, even when plant resources were not influencing the nutrients as an individual treatment. This study highlights the importance of insects as providers of cross-pollination for fruit quality that can affect human health, and, for the first time, shows that other environmental factors can sharpen the effect of pollination. This contributes to an emerging field of research investigating the complexity of interactions of ecosystem services affecting the nutritional value and commercial quality of crops. PMID:24587215

  4. Pollination and plant resources change the nutritional quality of almonds for human health.

    PubMed

    Brittain, Claire; Kremen, Claire; Garber, Andrea; Klein, Alexandra-Maria

    2014-01-01

    Insect-pollinated crops provide important nutrients for human health. Pollination, water and nutrients available to crops can influence yield, but it is not known if the nutritional value of the crop is also influenced. Almonds are an important source of critical nutrients for human health such as unsaturated fat and vitamin E. We manipulated the pollination of almond trees and the resources available to the trees, to investigate the impact on the nutritional composition of the crop. The pollination treatments were: (a) exclusion of pollinators to initiate self-pollination and (b) hand cross-pollination; the plant resource treatments were: (c) reduced water and (d) no fertilizer. In an orchard in northern California, trees were exposed to a single treatment or a combination of two (one pollination and one resource). Both the fat and vitamin E composition of the nuts were highly influenced by pollination. Lower proportions of oleic to linoleic acid, which are less desirable from both a health and commercial perspective, were produced by the self-pollinated trees. However, higher levels of vitamin E were found in the self-pollinated nuts. In some cases, combined changes in pollination and plant resources sharpened the pollination effects, even when plant resources were not influencing the nutrients as an individual treatment. This study highlights the importance of insects as providers of cross-pollination for fruit quality that can affect human health, and, for the first time, shows that other environmental factors can sharpen the effect of pollination. This contributes to an emerging field of research investigating the complexity of interactions of ecosystem services affecting the nutritional value and commercial quality of crops.

  5. Bee diversity effects on pollination depend on functional complementarity and niche shifts.

    PubMed

    Fründ, Jochen; Dormann, Carsten F; Holzschuh, Andrea; Tscharntke, Teja

    2013-09-01

    Biodiversity is important for many ecosystem processes. Global declines in pollinator diversity and abundance have been recognized, raising concerns about a pollination crisis of crops and wild plants. However, experimental evidence for effects of pollinator species diversity on plant reproduction is extremely scarce. We established communities with 1-5 bee species to test how seed production of a plant community is determined by bee diversity. Higher bee diversity resulted in higher seed production, but the strongest difference was observed for one compared to more than one bee species. Functional complementarity among bee species had a far higher explanatory power than bee diversity, suggesting that additional bee species only benefit pollination when they increase coverage of functional niches. In our experiment, complementarity was driven by differences in flower and temperature preferences. Interspecific interactions among bee species contributed to realized functional complementarity, as bees reduced interspecific overlap by shifting to alternative flowers in the presence of other species. This increased the number of plant species visited by a bee community and demonstrates a new mechanism for a biodiversity-function relationship ("interactive complementarity"). In conclusion, our results highlight both the importance of bee functional diversity for the reproduction of plant communities and the need to identify complementarity traits for accurately predicting pollination services by different bee communities.

  6. Cultivar Mixture Cropping Increased Water Use Efficiency in Winter Wheat under Limited Irrigation Conditions

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Yunqi; Zhang, Yinghua; Ji, Wei; Yu, Peng; Wang, Bin; Li, Jinpeng; Han, Meikun; Xu, Xuexin; Wang, Zhimin

    2016-01-01

    The effects of cultivar mixture cropping on yield, biomass, and water use efficiency (WUE) in winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) were investigated under non-irrigation (W0, no irrigation during growth stage), one time irrigation (W1, irrigation applied at stem elongation) and two times irrigation (W2, irrigation applied at stem elongation and anthesis) conditions. Nearly 90% of cultivar mixture cropping treatments experienced an increase in grain yield as compared with the mean of the pure stands under W0, those for W1 and W2 were 80% and 85%, respectively. Over 75% of cultivar mixture cropping treatments got greater biomass than the mean of the pure stands under the three irrigation conditions. Cultivar mixture cropping cost more water than pure stands under W0 and W1, whereas the water consumption under W2 decreased by 5.9%–6.8% as compared with pure stands. Approximately 90% of cultivar mixtures showed an increase of 5.4%–34.5% in WUE as compared with the mean of the pure stands, and about 75% of cultivar mixtures had 0.8%–28.5% higher WUE than the better pure stands under W0. Similarly, there were a majority of mixture cropping treatments with higher WUE than the mean and the better one of the pure stands under W1 and W2. On the whole, proper cultivar mixture cropping could increase yield and WUE, and a higher increase in WUE occurred under limited irrigation condition. PMID:27362563

  7. Biodiversity ensures plant-pollinator phenological synchrony against climate change.

    PubMed

    Bartomeus, Ignasi; Park, Mia G; Gibbs, Jason; Danforth, Bryan N; Lakso, Alan N; Winfree, Rachael

    2013-11-01

    Climate change has the potential to alter the phenological synchrony between interacting mutualists, such as plants and their pollinators. However, high levels of biodiversity might buffer the negative effects of species-specific phenological shifts and maintain synchrony at the community level, as predicted by the biodiversity insurance hypothesis. Here, we explore how biodiversity might enhance and stabilise phenological synchrony between a valuable crop, apple and its native pollinators. We combine 46 years of data on apple flowering phenology with historical records of bee pollinators over the same period. When the key apple pollinators are considered altogether, we found extensive synchrony between bee activity and apple peak bloom due to complementarity among bee species' activity periods, and also a stable trend over time due to differential responses to warming climate among bee species. A simulation model confirms that high biodiversity levels can ensure plant-pollinator phenological synchrony and thus pollination function.

  8. Indirect Effects of Field Management on Pollination Service and Seed Set in Hybrid Onion Seed Production.

    PubMed

    Gillespie, Sandra; Long, Rachael; Williams, Neal

    2015-12-01

    Pollination in crops, as in native ecosystems, is a stepwise process that can be disrupted at any stage. Healthy pollinator populations are critical for adequate visitation, but pollination still might fail if crop management interferes with the attraction and retention of pollinators. Farmers must balance the direct benefits of applying insecticide and managing irrigation rates against their potential to indirectly interfere with the pollination process. We investigated these issues in hybrid onion seed production, where previous research has shown that high insecticide use reduces pollinator attraction. We conducted field surveys of soil moisture, nectar production, pollinator visitation, pollen-stigma interactions, and seed set at multiple commercial fields across 2 yr. We then examined how management actions, such as irrigation rate (approximated by soil moisture), or insecticide use could affect the pollination process. Onions produced maximum nectar at intermediate soil moisture, and high nectar production attracted more pollinators. Insecticide use weakly affected pollinator visitation, but when applied close to bloom reduced pollen germination and pollen tube growth. Ultimately, neither soil moisture nor insecticide use directly affected seed set, but the high correlation between pollinator visitation and seed set suggests that crop management will ultimately affect yields via indirect effects on the pollination process.

  9. Residue management increases fallow water conservation and yield deficit irrigated crops grown in rotation with wheat

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    No-tillage (NT) residue management provides cover to increase precipitation capture compared with disk tillage (DT) or in the absence of a cover crop. Therefore, NT has the potential to reduce irrigation withdrawals from the declining Ogallala Aquifer. In a 4-year study, we quantified DT and NT effe...

  10. Benefits of supplementing an industrial waste anaerobic digester with energy crops for increased biogas production

    SciTech Connect

    Nges, Ivo Achu; Escobar, Federico; Fu Xinmei; Bjoernsson, Lovisa

    2012-01-15

    Highlights: Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer This study demonstrates the feasibility of co-digestion food industrial waste with energy crops. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Laboratory batch co-digestion led to improved methane yield and carbon to nitrogen ratio as compared to mono-digestion of industrial waste. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Co-digestion was also seen as a means of degrading energy crops with nutrients addition as crops are poor in nutrients. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Batch co-digestion methane yields were used to predict co-digestion methane yield in full scale operation. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer It was concluded that co-digestion led an over all economically viable process and ensured a constant supply of feedstock. - Abstract: Currently, there is increasing competition for waste as feedstock for the growing number of biogas plants. This has led to fluctuation in feedstock supply and biogas plants being operated below maximum capacity. The feasibility of supplementing a protein/lipid-rich industrial waste (pig manure, slaughterhouse waste, food processing and poultry waste) mesophilic anaerobic digester with carbohydrate-rich energy crops (hemp, maize and triticale) was therefore studied in laboratory scale batch and continuous stirred tank reactors (CSTR) with a view to scale-up to a commercial biogas process. Co-digesting industrial waste and crops led to significant improvement in methane yield per ton of feedstock and carbon-to-nitrogen ratio as compared to digestion of the industrial waste alone. Biogas production from crops in combination with industrial waste also avoids the need for micronutrients normally required in crop digestion. The batch co-digestion methane yields were used to predict co-digestion methane yield in full scale operation. This was done based on the ratio of methane yields observed for laboratory batch and CSTR experiments compared to full scale CSTR digestion of industrial waste. The economy of crop-based biogas

  11. Nectar robbery by bees Xylocopa virginica and Apis mellifera contributes to the pollination of rabbiteye blueberry.

    PubMed

    Sampson, Blair J; Danka, Robert G; Stringer, Stephen J

    2004-06-01

    Honey bees, Apis mellifera L., probe for nectar from robbery slits previously made by male carpenter bees, Xylocopa virginica (L.), at the flowers of rabbiteye blueberry, Vaccinium ashei Reade. This relationship between primary nectar robbers (carpenter bees) and secondary nectar thieves (honey bees) is poorly understood but seemingly unfavorable for V. ashei pollination. We designed two studies to measure the impact of nectar robbers on V. ashei pollination. First, counting the amount of pollen on stigmas (stigmatic pollen loading) showed that nectar robbers delivered fewer blueberry tetrads per stigma after single floral visits than did our benchmark pollinator, the southeastern blueberry bee, Habropoda laboriosa (F.), a recognized effective pollinator of blueberries. Increasing numbers of floral visits by carpenter bee and honey bee robbers yielded larger stigmatic loads. As few as three robbery visits were equivalent to one legitimate visit by a pollen-collecting H. laboriosa female. More than three robbery visits per flower slightly depressed stigmatic pollen loads. In our second study, a survey of 10 commercial blueberry farms demonstrated that corolla slitting by carpenter bees (i.e., robbery) has no appreciable affect on overall V. ashei fruit set. Our observations demonstrate male carpenter bees are benign or even potentially beneficial floral visitors of V ashei. Their robbery of blueberry flowers in the southeast may attract more honey bee pollinators to the crop.

  12. Costing conservation: an expert appraisal of the pollinator habitat benefits of England's entry level stewardship.

    PubMed

    Breeze, T D; Bailey, A P; Balcombe, K G; Potts, S G

    2014-01-01

    Pollination services provided by insects play a key role in English crop production and wider ecology. Despite growing evidence of the negative effects of habitat loss on pollinator populations, limited policy support is available to reverse this pressure. One measure that may provide beneficial habitat to pollinators is England's entry level stewardship agri-environment scheme. This study uses a novel expert survey to develop weights for a range of models which adjust the balance of Entry Level Stewardship options within the current area of spending. The annual costs of establishing and maintaining these option compositions were estimated at £59.3-£12.4 M above current expenditure. Although this produced substantial reduction in private cost:benefit ratios, the benefits of the scheme to pollinator habitat rose by 7-140 %; significantly increasing the public cost:benefit ratio. This study demonstrates that the scheme has significant untapped potential to provide good quality habitat for pollinators across England, even within existing expenditure. The findings should open debate on the costs and benefits of specific entry level stewardship management options and how these can be enhanced to benefit both participants and biodiversity more equitably.

  13. Scarcity of ecosystem services: an experimental manipulation of declining pollination rates and its economic consequences for agriculture

    PubMed Central

    Waterhouse, Benjamin; Wratten, Steve

    2016-01-01

    Ecosystem services (ES) such as pollination are vital for the continuous supply of food to a growing human population, but the decline in populations of insect pollinators worldwide poses a threat to food and nutritional security. Using a pollinator (honeybee) exclusion approach, we evaluated the impact of pollinator scarcity on production in four brassica fields, two producing hybrid seeds and two producing open-pollinated ones. There was a clear reduction in seed yield as pollination rates declined. Open-pollinated crops produced significantly higher yields than did the hybrid ones at all pollination rates. The hybrid crops required at least 0.50 of background pollination rates to achieve maximum yield, whereas in open-pollinated crops, 0.25 pollination rates were necessary for maximum yield. The total estimated economic value of pollination services provided by honeybees to the agricultural industry in New Zealand is NZD $1.96 billion annually. This study indicates that loss of pollination services can result in significant declines in production and have serious implications for the market economy in New Zealand. Depending on the extent of honeybee population decline, and assuming that results in declining pollination services, the estimated economic loss to New Zealand agriculture could be in the range of NZD $295–728 million annually. PMID:27441108

  14. Scarcity of ecosystem services: an experimental manipulation of declining pollination rates and its economic consequences for agriculture.

    PubMed

    Sandhu, Harpinder; Waterhouse, Benjamin; Boyer, Stephane; Wratten, Steve

    2016-01-01

    Ecosystem services (ES) such as pollination are vital for the continuous supply of food to a growing human population, but the decline in populations of insect pollinators worldwide poses a threat to food and nutritional security. Using a pollinator (honeybee) exclusion approach, we evaluated the impact of pollinator scarcity on production in four brassica fields, two producing hybrid seeds and two producing open-pollinated ones. There was a clear reduction in seed yield as pollination rates declined. Open-pollinated crops produced significantly higher yields than did the hybrid ones at all pollination rates. The hybrid crops required at least 0.50 of background pollination rates to achieve maximum yield, whereas in open-pollinated crops, 0.25 pollination rates were necessary for maximum yield. The total estimated economic value of pollination services provided by honeybees to the agricultural industry in New Zealand is NZD $1.96 billion annually. This study indicates that loss of pollination services can result in significant declines in production and have serious implications for the market economy in New Zealand. Depending on the extent of honeybee population decline, and assuming that results in declining pollination services, the estimated economic loss to New Zealand agriculture could be in the range of NZD $295-728 million annually.

  15. Efficiency of pollination and satiation of predators determine reproductive output in Iberian Juniperus thurifera woodlands.

    PubMed

    Mezquida, E T; Rodríguez-García, E; Olano, J M

    2016-01-01

    Fruit production in animal-dispersed plants has a strong influence on fitness because large crops increase the number of seeds dispersed by frugivores. Large crops are costly, and environmental control of plant resources is likely play a role in shaping temporal and spatial variations in seed production, particularly in fluctuating environments such as the Mediterranean. The number of fruits that start to develop and the proportion of viable seeds produced are also linked to the number of flowers formed and the efficiency of pollination in wind-pollinated plants. Finally, large fruit displays also attract seed predators, having a negative effect on seed output. We assessed the relative impact of environmental conditions on fruit production, and their combined effect on seed production, abortion and seed loss through three predispersal predators in Juniperus thurifera L., sampling 14 populations across the Iberian Peninsula. Wetter than average conditions during flowering and early fruit development led to larger crop sizes; this effect was amplified at tree level, with the most productive trees during more favourable years yielding fruits with more viable seeds and less empty and aborted seeds. In addition, large crops satiated the less mobile seed predator. The other two predispersal predators responded to plant traits, the presence of other seed predators and environmental conditions, but did not show a satiation response to the current-year crop. Our large-scale study on a dioecious, wind-pollinated Mediterranean juniper indicates that pollination efficiency and satiation of seed predators, mediated by environmental conditions, are important determinants of reproductive output in this juniper species.

  16. Native Bees Effectively Pollinate New World Cucurbita (C. pepo and C. maxima): An Internet Collaboration

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Wild squash bees have all five traits ascribed to the most effective crop pollinators. They are abundant, competitive, efficient, faithful to a specific crop and fast. Shared pollinator surveys covering 2,700 ha of US squash and pumpkin (n = 50 farms) show strong parallels among Cucurbita’s bee gui...

  17. Effect of pollinator abundance on self-fertilization and gene flow: application to GM Canola.

    PubMed

    Hoyle, Martin; Hayter, Katrina; Cresswell, James E

    2007-10-01

    Cross-pollination from fields of transgenic crops is of great public concern. Although cross-pollination in commercial canola (Brassica napus) fields has been empirically measured, field trials are expensive and do not identify the causes of cross-pollination. Therefore, theoretical models can be valuable because they can provide estimates of cross-pollination at any given site and time. We present a general analytical model of field-to-field gene flow due to the following competing mechanisms: the wind, bees, and autonomous pollination. We parameterize the model for the particular case of field-to-field cross-pollination of genetically modified (GM) canola via the wind and via bumble bees (Bombus spp.) and honey bees (Apis mellifera). We make extensive use of the large data set of bee densities collected during the recent U.K. Farm Scale Evaluations. We predict that canola approaches almost full seed set without pollinators and that autonomous pollination is responsible for > or = 25% of seed set, irrespective of pollinator abundance. We do not predict the relative contribution of bees vs. the wind in landscape-scale gene flow in canola. However, under model assumptions, we predict that the maximum field-to-field gene flow due to bumble bees is 0.04% and 0.13% below the current EU limit for adventitious GM presence for winter- and spring-sown canola, respectively. We predict that gene flow due to bees is approximately 3.1 times higher at 20% compared to 100% male-fertility, and due to the wind, 1.3 times higher at 20% compared to 100% male-fertility, for both winter- and spring-sown canola. Bumble bee-mediated gene flow is approximately 2.7 times higher and wind-mediated gene flow approximately 1.7 times lower in spring-sown than in winter-sown canola, regardless of the degree of male-sterility. The model of cross-pollination due to the wind most closely predicted three previously published observations: field-to-field gene flow is low; gene flow increases with

  18. Did pollination shifts drive diversification in southern African Gladiolus? Evaluating the model of pollinator-driven speciation.

    PubMed

    Valente, Luis M; Manning, John C; Goldblatt, Peter; Vargas, Pablo

    2012-07-01

    The pollinator-driven ecological speciation model has frequently been invoked to explain plant richness in biodiversity hotspots. Here, by focusing on Gladiolus (260 species), a flagship example of a clade with diverse pollination biology, we test the hypothesis that high species diversity in southern Africa, one of the world's most floristically rich regions, has primarily been driven by ecological shifts in pollination systems. We use phylogenetic methods to estimate rates of transition between the seven highly specialized pollination strategies in Gladiolus. We find that pollination systems have evolved multiple times and that some pollination strategies arose by a variety of evolutionary pathways. Pollination shifts account for up to one-third of all lineage splitting events in the genus, providing partial support for the pollinator-driven speciation model. Transitions from the ancestral pollination mode to derived systems have also resulted in increased rates of diversification, suggesting that certain pollination systems may speed up speciation processes, independently of pollination shifts per se. This study suggests that frequent pollination shifts have played a role in driving high phenotypic and species diversity but indicates that additional factors need to be invoked to account for the spectacular diversification in southern African Gladiolus.

  19. The potential of agricultural practices to increase C storage in cropped soils: an assessment for France

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chenu, Claire; Angers, Denis; Métay, Aurélie; Colnenne, Caroline; Klumpp, Katja; Bamière, Laure; Pardon, Lenaic; Pellerin, Sylvain

    2014-05-01

    Though large progress has been achieved in the last decades, net GHG emissions from the agricultural sector are still more poorly quantified than in other sectors. In this study, we examined i) technical mitigation options likely to store carbon in agricultural soils, ii) their potential of additional C storage per unit surface area and iii) applicable areas in mainland France. We considered only agricultural practices being technically feasible by farmers and involving no major change in either production systems or production levels. Moreover, only currently available techniques with validated efficiencies and presenting no major negative environmental impacts were taken into account. Four measures were expected to store additional C in agricultural soils: - Reducing tillage: either a switch to continuous direct seeding, direct seeding with occasional tillage once every five years, or continuous superficial (<15 cm) tillage. - Introducing cover crops in cropping systems: sown between two cash crops on arable farms, in orchards and vineyards (permanent or temporary cover cropping) . - Expanding agroforestry systems; planting of tree lines in cultivated fields and grasslands, and hedges around the field edges. - Increasing the life time of temporary sown grasslands: increase of life time to 5 years. The recent literature was reviewed in order to determine long term (>20yrs) C storage rates (MgC ha-1 y-1,) of cropping systems with and without the proposed practice. Then we analysed the conditions for potential application, in terms of feasibility, acceptance, limitation of yield losses and of other GHG emissions. According to the literature, additional C storage rates were 0.15 (0-0.3) MgC ha-1 y-1 for continuous direct seeding, 0.10 (0-0.2) MgC ha-1 y-1for occasional tillage one year in five, and 0.0 MgC ha-1 y-1 for superficial tillage. Cover crops were estimated to store 0.24 (0.13-0.37) MgC ha-1 y-1 between cash crops and 0.49 (0.23-0.72) MgC ha-1 y-1 when

  20. Envisioning a metropolitan foodshed: potential environmental consequences of increasing food-crop production around Chicago

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bowen, E. E.; Martin, P. A.; Schuble, T. J.

    2009-12-01

    Nationwide, cities are increasingly developing policies aimed at greater sustainability, particularly focusing on reducing environmental impact. Such policies commonly emphasize more efficiently using energy to decrease the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of the city. However, most plans ignore the food system as a factor in regional energy use and GHG emissions. Yet, the food system in the United States accounts for ~20% of per capita greenhouse gas emissions. Local, sustainable food production is cited as one strategy for mitigating GHG emissions of large metropolitan areas. “Sustainable” for regional agriculture is often identified as small-scale, diversified food crop production using best practices management. Localized food production (termed “foodshed”) using sustainable agriculture could mitigate climate change in multiple ways: (1) energy and therefore CO2-intensive portions of the conventional food system might be replaced by local, lower-input food production resulting in carbon offsets; (2) increased regional carbon storage might result from well-managed food crop production vs. commodity crop production; and (3) averted N2O emissions might result from closing nutrient cycles on agricultural lands following changes in management practices. The broader implications for environmental impact of widespread conversion to sustainable food crop agriculture, however, remain largely unknown. We examine the Chicago metropolitan region to quantify the impact of increased local food production on regional energy efficiency and GHG emissions. Geospatial analysis is used to quantify the resource potential for establishing a Chicago metropolitan foodshed. A regional foodshed is defined by minimizing cost through transportation mode (road, rail, or water) and maximizing the production potential of different soil types. Simple biogeochemical modeling is used to predict changes in N2O emissions and nutrient flows following changes in land management practices

  1. Global potential to increase crop production through water management in rainfed agriculture

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rost, Stefanie; Gerten, Dieter; Hoff, Holger; Lucht, Wolfgang; Falkenmark, Malin; Rockström, Johan

    2009-12-01

    This modeling study explores—spatially explicitly, for current and projected future climate, and for different management intensity levels—the potential for increasing global crop production through on-farm water management strategies: (a) reducing soil evaporation ('vapor shift') and (b) collecting runoff on cropland and using it during dry spells ('runoff harvesting'). A moderate scenario, implying both a 25% reduction in evaporation and a 25% collection of runoff, suggests that global crop production can be increased by 19%, which is comparable with the effect of current irrigation (17%). Climate change alone (three climate models, SRES A2r emissions and population, constant land use) will reduce global crop production by 9% by 2050, which could be buffered by a vapor shift level of 50% or a water harvesting level of 25%. Even if realization of the beneficial effects of rising atmospheric CO2 concentration upon plants was ensured (by fertilizer use) in tandem with the above moderate water management scenario, the water available on current cropland will not meet the requirements of a world population of 9-10 billion.

  2. Increasing in-stream nitrogen concentrations under different bioenergy crop management practices in central Germany

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jomaa, Seifeddine; Thraen, Daniela; Rode, Michael

    2015-04-01

    Understanding how nitrogen fluxes respond to changes in land use and agriculture practices is crucial for improving instream water quality prediction. In central Germany, expansion of bioenergy crops such as maize and rape for ethanol production during the last decade led to increasing of fertilizer application rates. To examine the effect of these changes, surface water quality of a drinking water reservoir catchment was investigated for more than 30 years. The Weida catchment (99.5 km2) is part of the Elbe river basin and has a share of 67% agricultural land use with significant changes in agricultural practices within the investigation period. For the period 2004-2012, the share of maize and rape has been increased by 52% and 20%, respectively, for enhancing bioenergy production. To achieve our gaols, the semi-distributed hydrological water quality HYPE (Hydrological Predictions for the Environment) model was calibrated for discharge and inorganic nitrogen concentrations (IN) during the period 1997-2000.The model was validated successfully (with lowest performance of NSE = 0.78 and PBIAS = 3.74% for discharge) for three different periods 1983-1987, 1989-1996 and 2000-2003, which are charaterized by different fertilizer application rates. Results showed that the HYPE model reproduced reasonably well discharge and IN daily loads (with lowest NSE = 0.64 for IN-load). In addition, the HYPE model was evaluated successfully to predict the discharge and IN concentrations for the period 2004-2012, where detailed input data in terms of crops management (field-specific survey) have been considered. Land use and crop rotations scenarios, with high hypothetical percentage of acceptance by the farmers, revealed that continuous conversion of agricultural land into bioenergy crops, will most likely, lead to an enrichment of in-stream nitrogen, especially after spring storms.

  3. Hedgerow restoration promotes pollinator populations and exports native bees to adjacent fields.

    PubMed

    Morandin, Lora A; Kremen, Claire

    2013-06-01

    In intensive agricultural landscapes, restoration within farms could enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services such as pollination by native pollinators. Although governments and conservation groups are promoting small-scale restoration on working farms, there are few studies that assess whether these practices enhance pollinator communities in restored areas. Further, there is no information on whether floral enhancements will deplete pollinators in adjacent fields by concentrating ambient populations or whether they result in a net increase in abundance in adjacent farm fields. We investigated whether field edges restored with native perennial plants in California's Central Valley agricultural region increased floral abundance and potential bee nesting sites, and native bee and syrphid fly abundance and diversity, in comparison to relatively unmanaged edges. Native bees and syrphid flies collected from flowers were more abundant, species-rich, and diverse at hedgerow sites than in weedy, unmanaged edges. Abundance of bees collected passively in pan traps was negatively correlated with floral abundance, was significantly different from communities captured by net sampling from flowers, and did not distinguish between site types; we therefore focused on the results of net samples and visual observations. Uncommon species of native bees were sevenfold more abundant on hedgerow flowers than on flowers at weedy, unmanaged edges. Of the species on flowers at hedgerows, 40% were exclusive to hedgerow sites, but there were no species exclusively found on flowers at control sites. Hedgerows were especially important for supporting less-common species of native bees in our intensive agricultural landscape. Hedgerows did not concentrate ambient native bee, honey bee, or syphid fly populations, and they acted as net exporters of native bees into adjacent fields. Within-farm habitat restoration such as hedgerow creation may be essential for enhancing native pollinator

  4. Crop residue incorporation for increasing SOC stock. Is it worth it?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pituello, Chiara; Berti, Antonio; Morari, Francesco

    2015-04-01

    In the last fifty years, soil organic carbon (SOC) in North-Eastern Italy decreased at rates ranging from 0.02 to 0.58 t ha/year as a consequence of the intensification and simplification of cropping systems. Most recently, the removal of crop residue for bioenergy production raises concerns about its potential impact on SOC evolution. Crop residue incorporation has been included in the Recommended Management Practices (RMPs) for climate change mitigation, however, several doubts still remain on its actual effectiveness. Indeed, long term effects of residue incorporation on SOC stocks have been studied by many authors with apparently contrasting findings. Thus, given the pivotal role played by SOC on ecosystem services, investigating the effects of residues incorporation on soil quality constitutes a key step towards understanding soil processes and will help establish a rationale bioenergy production policy. For this purpose, soil samples were taken from a long-term field experiment started in 1970, with three types of soil: sand, silt-loam and clay. The experiment design adopted implied a crop rotation including maize, wheat, and potatoes with only two types of residues management: incorporation and removal. The levels of nitrogen application were six (0, 50, 100, 200, 300, 400 kg ha-1) with a factorial combination with the residues management. Residue incorporation affected significantly the carbon stock within the profile (0-70cm), with an average increase in carbon content from 60 to 67 t C ha-1 in 42 years (0.16 t C ha-1 y-1). In clay and silt-loam soils the C stock varied within the whole profile, with an increase in the upper layer (0-20 cm) ranging from 29% (silt-loam) to 60% (clay soil) of the total increment. Conversely, in sand soil the effect was found only in the upper horizon, where the incorporation of residues increased SOC of only 1.9 t ha-1. This indicates that in sand soil the increase of C is mainly attributable to the direct effect of residues

  5. Pyrodiversity begets plant-pollinator community diversity.

    PubMed

    Ponisio, Lauren C; Wilkin, Kate; M'Gonigle, Leithen K; Kulhanek, Kelly; Cook, Lindsay; Thorp, Robbin; Griswold, Terry; Kremen, Claire

    2016-05-01

    Fire has a major impact on the structure and function of many ecosystems globally. Pyrodiversity, the diversity of fires within a region (where diversity is based on fire characteristics such as extent, severity, and frequency), has been hypothesized to promote biodiversity, but changing climate and land management practices have eroded pyrodiversity. To assess whether changes in pyrodiversity will have impacts on ecological communities, we must first understand the mechanisms that might enable pyrodiversity to sustain biodiversity, and how such changes might interact with other disturbances such as drought. Focusing on plant-pollinator communities in mixed-conifer forest with frequent fire in Yosemite National Park, California, we examine how pyrodiversity, combined with drought intensity, influences those communities. We find that pyrodiversity is positively related to the richness of the pollinators, flowering plants, and plant-pollinator interactions. On average, a 5% increase in pyrodiversity led to the gain of approximately one pollinator and one flowering plant species and nearly two interactions. We also find that a diversity of fire characteristics contributes to the spatial heterogeneity (β-diversity) of plant and pollinator communities. Lastly, we find evidence that fire diversity buffers pollinator communities against the effects of drought-induced floral resource scarcity. Fire diversity is thus important for the maintenance of flowering plant and pollinator diversity and predicted shifts in fire regimes to include less pyrodiversity compounded with increasing drought occurrence will negatively influence the richness of these communities in this and other forested ecosystems. In addition, lower heterogeneity of fire severity may act to reduce spatial turnover of plant-pollinator communities. The heterogeneity of community composition is a primary determinant of the total species diversity present in a landscape, and thus, lower pyrodiversity may

  6. How exotic plants integrate into pollination networks

    PubMed Central

    Stouffer, Daniel B; Cirtwill, Alyssa R; Bascompte, Jordi; Bartomeus, Ignasi

    2014-01-01

    Summary There is increasing world-wide concern about the impact of the introduction of exotic species on ecological communities. Since many exotic plants depend on native pollinators to successfully establish, it is of paramount importance that we understand precisely how exotic species integrate into existing plant–pollinator communities. In this manuscript, we have studied a global data base of empirical pollination networks to determine whether community, network, species or interaction characteristics can help identify invaded communities. We found that a limited number of community and network properties showed significant differences across the empirical data sets – namely networks with exotic plants present are characterized by greater total, plant and pollinator richness, as well as higher values of relative nestedness. We also observed significant differences in terms of the pollinators that interact with the exotic plants. In particular, we found that specialist pollinators that are also weak contributors to community nestedness are far more likely to interact with exotic plants than would be expected by chance alone. Synthesis. By virtue of their interactions, it appears that exotic plants may provide a key service to a community's specialist pollinators as well as fill otherwise vacant ‘coevolutionary niches’. PMID:25558089

  7. Population dynamics and the ecological stability of obligate pollination mutualisms

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Holland, J. Nathaniel; DeAngelis, Donald L.

    2001-01-01

    Mutualistic interactions almost always produce both costs and benefits for each of the interacting species. It is the difference between gross benefits and costs that determines the net benefit and the per-capita effect on each of the interacting populations. For example, the net benefit of obligate pollinators, such as yucca and senita moths, to plants is determined by the difference between the number of ovules fertilized from moth pollination and the number of ovules eaten by the pollinator's larvae. It is clear that if pollinator populations are large, then, because many eggs are laid, costs to plants are large, whereas, if pollinator populations are small, gross benefits are low due to lack of pollination. Even though the size and dynamics of the pollinator population are likely to be crucial, their importance has been neglected in the investigation of mechanisms, such as selective fruit abortion, that can limit costs and increase net benefits. Here, we suggest that both the population size and dynamics of pollinators are important in determining the net benefits to plants, and that fruit abortion can significantly affect these. We develop a model of mutualism between populations of plants and their pollinating seed-predators to explore the ecological consequences of fruit abortion on pollinator population dynamics and the net effect on plants. We demonstrate that the benefit to a plant population is unimodal as a function of pollinator abundance, relative to the abundance of flowers. Both selective abortion of fruit with eggs and random abortion of fruit, without reference to whether they have eggs or not, can limit pollinator population size. This can increase the net benefits to the plant population by limiting the number of eggs laid, if the pollination rate remains high. However, fruit abortion can possibly destabilize the pollinator population, with negative consequences for the plant population.

  8. Southern Blueberry Pollinators

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    We present three profiles of important bee pollinators of southeastern blueberries. The first profile is about the chief pollinator, a native solitary bee, the southeastern blueberry bee. The second profile concerns floral robbery instigated by carpenter bees and honey bees, which proved beneficial ...

  9. Inorganic Nutrients Increase Humification Efficiency and C-Sequestration in an Annually Cropped Soil

    PubMed Central

    Richardson, Alan E.; Wade, Len J.; Conyers, Mark; Kirkegaard, John A.

    2016-01-01

    Removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and storing the carbon (C) in resistant soil organic matter (SOM) is a global priority to restore soil fertility and help mitigate climate change. Although it is widely assumed that retaining rather than removing or burning crop residues will increase SOM levels, many studies have failed to demonstrate this. We hypothesised that the microbial nature of resistant SOM provides a predictable nutrient stoichiometry (C:nitrogen, C:phosphorus and C:sulphur–C:N:P:S) to target using supplementary nutrients when incorporating C-rich crop residues into soil. An improvement in the humification efficiency of the soil microbiome as a whole, and thereby C-sequestration, was predicted. In a field study over 5 years, soil organic-C (SOC) stocks to 1.6 m soil depth were increased by 5.5 t C ha-1 where supplementary nutrients were applied with incorporated crop residues, but were reduced by 3.2 t C ha-1 without nutrient addition, with 2.9 t C ha-1 being lost from the 0–10 cm layer. A net difference of 8.7 t C ha-1 was thus achieved in a cropping soil over a 5 year period, despite the same level of C addition. Despite shallow incorporation (0.15 m), more than 50% of the SOC increase occurred below 0.3 m, and as predicted by the stoichiometry, increases in resistant SOC were accompanied by increases in soil NPS at all depths. Interestingly the C:N, C:P and C:S ratios decreased significantly with depth possibly as a consequence of differences in fungi to bacteria ratio. Our results demonstrate that irrespective of the C-input, it is essential to balance the nutrient stoichiometry of added C to better match that of resistant SOM to increase SOC sequestration. This has implications for global practices and policies aimed at increasing SOC sequestration and specifically highlight the need to consider the hidden cost and availability of associated nutrients in building soil-C. PMID:27144282

  10. Coupled model of physical and biological processes affecting maize pollination

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arritt, R.; Westgate, M.; Riese, J.; Falk, M.; Takle, E.

    2003-04-01

    Controversy over the use of genetically modified (GM) crops has led to increased interest in evaluating and controlling the potential for inadvertent outcrossing in open-pollinated crops such as maize. In response to this problem we have developed a Lagrangian model of pollen dispersion as a component of a coupled end-to-end (anther to ear) physical-biological model of maize pollination. The Lagrangian method is adopted because of its generality and flexibility: first, the method readily accommodates flow fields of arbitrary complexity; second, each element of the material being transported can be identified by its source, time of release, or other properties of interest. The latter allows pollen viability to be estimated as a function of such factors as travel time, temperature, and relative humidity, so that the physical effects of airflow and turbulence on pollen dispersion can be considered together with the biological aspects of pollen release and viability. Predicted dispersion of pollen compares well both to observations and to results from a simpler Gaussian plume model. Ability of the Lagrangian model to handle complex air flows is demonstrated by application to pollen dispersion in the vicinity of an agricultural shelter belt. We also show results indicating that pollen viability can be quantified by an "aging function" that accounts for temperature, humidity, and time of exposure.

  11. Pollination Services Provided by Bees in Pumpkin Fields Supplemented with Either Apis mellifera or Bombus impatiens or Not Supplemented

    PubMed Central

    Petersen, Jessica D.; Reiners, Stephen; Nault, Brian A.

    2013-01-01

    Pollinators provide an important service in many crops. Managed honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) are used to supplement pollination services provided by wild bees with the assumption that they will enhance pollination, fruit set and crop yield beyond the levels provided by the wild bees. Recent declines in managed honey bee populations have stimulated interest in finding alternative managed pollinators to service crops. In the eastern U.S., managed hives of the native common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens Cresson) may be an excellent choice. To examine this issue, a comprehensive 2-yr study was conducted to compare fruit yield and bee visits to flowers in pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) fields that were either supplemented with A. mellifera hives, B. impatiens hives or were not supplemented. We compared pumpkin yield, A. mellifera flower visitation frequency and B. impatiens flower visitation frequency between treatments. Results indicated that supplementing pumpkin fields with either A. mellifera or B. impatiens hives did not increase their visitation to pumpkin flowers or fruit yield compared with those that were not supplemented. Next, the relationship between frequency of pumpkin flower visitation by the most prominent bee species (Peponapis pruinosa (Say), B. impatiens and A. mellifera) and fruit yield was determined across all pumpkin fields sampled. Fruit yield increased as the frequency of flower visits by A. mellifera and B. impatiens increased in 2011 and 2012, respectively. These results suggest that supplementation with managed bees may not improve pumpkin production and that A. mellifera and B. impatiens are important pollinators of pumpkin in our system. PMID:23894544

  12. Pollination services provided by bees in pumpkin fields supplemented with either Apis mellifera or Bombus impatiens or not supplemented.

    PubMed

    Petersen, Jessica D; Reiners, Stephen; Nault, Brian A

    2013-01-01

    Pollinators provide an important service in many crops. Managed honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) are used to supplement pollination services provided by wild bees with the assumption that they will enhance pollination, fruit set and crop yield beyond the levels provided by the wild bees. Recent declines in managed honey bee populations have stimulated interest in finding alternative managed pollinators to service crops. In the eastern U.S., managed hives of the native common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens Cresson) may be an excellent choice. To examine this issue, a comprehensive 2-yr study was conducted to compare fruit yield and bee visits to flowers in pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) fields that were either supplemented with A. mellifera hives, B. impatiens hives or were not supplemented. We compared pumpkin yield, A. mellifera flower visitation frequency and B. impatiens flower visitation frequency between treatments. Results indicated that supplementing pumpkin fields with either A. mellifera or B. impatiens hives did not increase their visitation to pumpkin flowers or fruit yield compared with those that were not supplemented. Next, the relationship between frequency of pumpkin flower visitation by the most prominent bee species (Peponapis pruinosa (Say), B. impatiens and A. mellifera) and fruit yield was determined across all pumpkin fields sampled. Fruit yield increased as the frequency of flower visits by A. mellifera and B. impatiens increased in 2011 and 2012, respectively. These results suggest that supplementation with managed bees may not improve pumpkin production and that A. mellifera and B. impatiens are important pollinators of pumpkin in our system.

  13. Pollinator sharing and gene flow among closely related sympatric dioecious fig taxa.

    PubMed

    Wang, Gang; Cannon, Charles H; Chen, Jin

    2016-04-13

    Hybridization and insect pollination are widely believed to increase rates of plant diversification. The extreme diversity of figs (Ficus) and their obligate pollinators, fig wasps (Agaonidae), provides an opportunity to examine the possible role of pollinator-mediated hybridization in plant diversification. Increasing evidence suggests that pollinator sharing and hybridization occurs among fig taxa, despite relatively strict coevolution with the pollinating wasp. Using five sympatric dioecious fig taxa and their pollinators, we examine the degree of pollinator sharing and inter-taxa gene flow. We experimentally test pollinator preference for floral volatiles, the main host recognition signal, from different figs. All five fig taxa shared pollinators with other taxa, and gene flow occurred between fig taxa within and between sections. Floral volatiles of each taxon attracted more than one pollinator species. Floral volatiles were more similar between closely related figs, which experienced higher levels of pollinator sharing and inter-taxa gene flow. This study demonstrates that pollinator sharing and inter-taxa gene flow occurs among closely related sympatric dioecious fig taxa and that pollinators choose the floral volatiles of multiple fig taxa. The implications of pollinator sharing and inter-taxa gene flow on diversification, occurring even in this highly specialized obligate pollination system, require further study.

  14. Is increased UV-B a threat to crop photosynthesis and productivity?

    PubMed

    Fiscus, E L; Booker, F L

    1995-02-01

    It has been suggested that increases in ground-level UV-B, as a result of stratospheric ozone depletion, may have major deleterious effects on crop photosynthesis and productivity. The direct consequences of such effects have been projected by some as a world-wide decrease in crop yields of 20-25%. Further losses, or unrealized gains, have also been suggested as a result of increased UV-B counteracting the beneficial effects of elevated atmospheric CO2. Deleterious UV-B effects may be largely partitioned between damage to the plant genome and damage to the photosynthetic machinery. Direct damage to DNA is a common result of absorption of high energy UV-B photons. However, most plants possess repair mechanisms adequate to deal with the levels of damage expected from projected increases in ground-level UV-B. In addition, most plants have the ability to increase production of UV-absorbing compounds in their leaves as a result of exposure to UV-B, UV-A and visible radiation. These compounds contribute substantially to reducing UV-B damage in situ. It has also been shown that in some plants, under the proper conditions, almost every facet of the photosynthetic machinery can be damaged directly by very high UV-B exposures. However, electron transport, mediated by Photosystem II (PS II) appears to be the most sensitive part of the system. Various laboratories have reported damage to virtually all parts of the PS II complex from the Mn binding site to the plastoquinone acceptor sites on the opposite surface of the thylakoid membrane. However, a critical review of the literature with emphasis on exposure protocols and characterization of the radiation environment, revealed that most growth chamber and greenhouse experiments and very many field experiments have been conducted at unrealistic or indeterminate UV-B exposure levels, especially with regard to the spectral balance of their normal radiation environment. Thus, these experiments have led directly to large

  15. The natural history of pollination and mating in bird-pollinated Babiana (Iridaceae)

    PubMed Central

    de Waal, Caroli; Anderson, Bruce; Barrett, Spencer C. H.

    2012-01-01

    Background and Aims Floral variation, pollination biology and mating patterns were investigated in sunbird-pollinated Babiana (Iridaceae) species endemic to the Western Cape of South Africa. The group includes several taxa with specialized bird perches and it has been proposed that these function to promote cross-pollination. Methods Pollinator observations were conducted in 12 populations of five taxa (B. ringens subspp. ringens, australis, B. hirsuta, B. avicularis, B. carminea) and geographic variation in morphological traits investigated in the widespread B. ringens. Experimental pollinations were used to determine the compatibility status, facility for autonomous self-pollination and intensity of pollen limitation in six populations of four taxa. Allozyme markers were employed to investigate mating patterns in four populations of three species. Key Results Sunbirds were the primary pollinators of the five Babiana taxa investigated. Correlated geographical variation in perch size, flower size and stigma–anther separation was evident among B. ringens populations. Experimental pollinations demonstrated that B. ringens and B. avicularis were self-compatible with variation in levels of autonomous self-pollination and weak or no pollen limitation of seed set. In contrast, B. hirsuta was self-incompatible and chronically pollen limited. Estimates of outcrossing rate indicated mixed mating with substantial self-fertilization in all species investigated. Conclusions Despite the possession of specialized bird perches in B. ringens and B. avicularis, these structures do not prevent considerable selfing from occurring, probably as a result of autonomous self-pollination. In eastern populations of B. ringens, smaller flowers and reduced herkogamy appear to be associated with a shift to predominant selfing. Relaxed selection on perch function due to increased selfing may explain the increased incidence of apical flowers in some populations. PMID:21831856

  16. Pollination syndromes in a specialised plant-pollinator interaction: does floral morphology predict pollinators in Calceolaria?

    PubMed

    Murúa, M; Espíndola, A

    2015-03-01

    Pollination syndromes are defined as suites of floral traits evolved in response to selection imposed by a particular group of pollinators (e.g., butterflies, hummingbirds, bats). Although numerous studies demonstrated their occurrence in plants pollinated by radically different pollinators, it is less known whether it is possible to identify them within species pollinated by one functional pollinator group. In such a framework, we expect floral traits to evolve also in response to pollinator subgroups (e.g., species, genera) within that unique functional group. On this, specialised pollination systems represent appropriate case studies to test such expectations. Calceolaria is a highly diversified plant genus pollinated by oil-collecting bees in genera Centris and Chalepogenus. Variation in floral traits in Calceolaria has recently been suggested to reflect adaptations to pollinator types. However, to date no study has explicitly tested that observation. In this paper, we quantitatively test that hypothesis by evaluating the presence of pollination syndromes within the specialised pollination system formed by several Calceolaria and their insect pollinators. To do so, we use multivariate approaches and explore the structural matching between the morphology of 10 Calceolaria taxa and that of their principal pollinators. Our results identify morphological matching between floral traits related to access to the reward and insect traits involved in oil collection, confirming the presence of pollinator syndromes in Calceolaria. From a general perspective, our findings indicate that the pollination syndrome concept can be also extended to the intra-pollinator group level.

  17. Increased Use of No-till Cropping Systems Improves Stream Ecosystem Quality

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yates, A. G.; Bailey, R. C.; Schwindt, J. A.

    2005-05-01

    Release of sediments to streams from tilled lands has been a significant stressor to streams in agro-ecosystems for decades and has been shown to impact aquatic biota in a variety of ways. To limit soil erosion from cultivated lands, conservation tillage techniques, including the use of no-till systems, have been developed and widely adopted throughout the region. However, there haves been no tests of the effects of no-till systems on stream quality at a watershed scale. We measured habitat and water quality and sampled the benthic macroinvertebrate (BMI) and fish communities in 32 small (100-1400 ha) subwatersheds along a gradient of the proportion of land under no-till cropping systems to determine relationships between the use of no-till and stream quality. Our results demonstrate that with increasing proportions of no-till, habitat scores improve, the quantities of sediment and sediment associated stressors in the water decline, the BMI community exhibits reduced dominance by Oligocheata and Sphaeriidae, as well as improved Family Biotic Index (FBI) scores, and fish species richness increases. We concluded that increased use of no-till cropping systems by farmers does contribute to improved quality of streams in agro-ecosystems.

  18. Assessing genetically modified crops to minimize the risk of increased food allergy: a review.

    PubMed

    Goodman, Richard E; Hefle, Susan L; Taylor, Steven L; van Ree, Ronald

    2005-06-01

    The first genetically modified (GM) crops approved for food use (tomato and soybean) were evaluated for safety by the United States Food and Drug Administration prior to commercial production. Among other factors, those products and all additional GM crops that have been grown commercially have been evaluated for potential increases in allergenic properties using methods that are consistent with the current understanding of food allergens and knowledge regarding the prediction of allergenic activity. Although there have been refinements, the key aspects of the evaluation have not changed. The allergenic properties of the gene donor and the host (recipient) organisms are considered in determining the appropriate testing strategy. The amino acid sequence of the encoded protein is compared to all known allergens to determine whether the protein is a known allergen or is sufficiently similar to any known allergen to indicate an increased probability of allergic cross-reactivity. Stability of the protein in the presence of acid with the stomach protease pepsin is tested as a risk factor for food allergenicity. In vitro or in vivo human IgE binding are tested when appropriate, if the gene donor is an allergen or the sequence of the protein is similar to an allergen. Serum donors and skin test subjects are selected based on their proven allergic responses to the gene donor or to material containing the allergen that was matched in sequence. While some scientists and regulators have suggested using animal models, performing broadly targeted serum IgE testing or extensive pre- or post-market clinical tests, current evidence does not support these tests as being predictive or practical. Based on the evidence to date, the current assessment process has worked well to prevent the unintended introduction of allergens in commercial GM crops.

  19. Agricultural Policies Exacerbate Honeybee Pollination Service Supply-Demand Mismatches Across Europe

    PubMed Central

    Breeze, Tom D.; Vaissière, Bernard E.; Bommarco, Riccardo; Petanidou, Theodora; Seraphides, Nicos; Kozák, Lajos; Scheper, Jeroen; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C.; Kleijn, David; Gyldenkærne, Steen; Moretti, Marco; Holzschuh, Andrea; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Stout, Jane C.; Pärtel, Meelis; Zobel, Martin; Potts, Simon G.

    2014-01-01

    Declines in insect pollinators across Europe have raised concerns about the supply of pollination services to agriculture. Simultaneously, EU agricultural and biofuel policies have encouraged substantial growth in the cultivated area of insect pollinated crops across the continent. Using data from 41 European countries, this study demonstrates that the recommended number of honeybees required to provide crop pollination across Europe has risen 4.9 times as fast as honeybee stocks between 2005 and 2010. Consequently, honeybee stocks were insufficient to supply >90% of demands in 22 countries studied. These findings raise concerns about the capacity of many countries to cope with major losses of wild pollinators and highlight numerous critical gaps in current understanding of pollination service supplies and demands, pointing to a pressing need for further research into this issue. PMID:24421873

  20. Agricultural policies exacerbate honeybee pollination service supply-demand mismatches across Europe.

    PubMed

    Breeze, Tom D; Vaissière, Bernard E; Bommarco, Riccardo; Petanidou, Theodora; Seraphides, Nicos; Kozák, Lajos; Scheper, Jeroen; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C; Kleijn, David; Gyldenkærne, Steen; Moretti, Marco; Holzschuh, Andrea; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Stout, Jane C; Pärtel, Meelis; Zobel, Martin; Potts, Simon G

    2014-01-01

    Declines in insect pollinators across Europe have raised concerns about the supply of pollination services to agriculture. Simultaneously, EU agricultural and biofuel policies have encouraged substantial growth in the cultivated area of insect pollinated crops across the continent. Using data from 41 European countries, this study demonstrates that the recommended number of honeybees required to provide crop pollination across Europe has risen 4.9 times as fast as honeybee stocks between 2005 and 2010. Consequently, honeybee stocks were insufficient to supply >90% of demands in 22 countries studied. These findings raise concerns about the capacity of many countries to cope with major losses of wild pollinators and highlight numerous critical gaps in current understanding of pollination service supplies and demands, pointing to a pressing need for further research into this issue.

  1. Irrigation with desalinated water: A step toward increasing water saving and crop yields

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Silber, Avner; Israeli, Yair; Elingold, Idan; Levi, Menashe; Levkovitch, Irit; Russo, David; Assouline, Shmuel

    2015-01-01

    We examined the impact of two different approaches to managing irrigation water salinity: salt leaching from the field ("conventional" management) and water desalination before field application ("alternative" management). Freshwater commonly used for irrigation (FW) and desalinated water (DS) were applied to the high-water-demanding crop banana at four different rates. Both irrigation rate and water salinity significantly affected yield. DS application consistently produced higher yields than FW, independently of irrigation rate. The highest yield for FW-irrigation was achieved with the highest irrigation rate, whereas the same yield was obtained in the case of DS-irrigation with practically half the amount of water. Yield decreased with FW-irrigation, even when the water salinity, ECi, was lower than the limit considered safe for soil and crops. Irrigating with FW provided a massive amount of salt which accumulated in the rhizosphere, inducing increased osmotic potential of the soil solution and impairing plant water uptake. Furthermore, applying the "conventional" management, a significant amount of salt is leached from the rhizosphere, accumulating in deeper soil layers, and eventually reaching groundwater reservoirs, thus contributing to the deterioration of both soil and water quality. Removal of salt excess from the water before it reaches the field by means of DS-irrigation may save significant amounts of irrigation water by reducing the salt leaching requirements while increasing yield and improving fruit quality, and decreasing salt load in the groundwater.

  2. Increased Productivity of a Cover Crop Mixture Is Not Associated with Enhanced Agroecosystem Services

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Richard G.; Atwood, Lesley W.; Warren, Nicholas D.

    2014-01-01

    Cover crops provide a variety of important agroecological services within cropping systems. Typically these crops are grown as monocultures or simple graminoid-legume bicultures; however, ecological theory and empirical evidence suggest that agroecosystem services could be enhanced by growing cover crops in species-rich mixtures. We examined cover crop productivity, weed suppression, stability, and carryover effects to a subsequent cash crop in an experiment involving a five-species annual cover crop mixture and the component species grown as monocultures in SE New Hampshire, USA in 2011 and 2012. The mean land equivalent ratio (LER) for the mixture exceeded 1.0 in both years, indicating that the mixture over-yielded relative to the monocultures. Despite the apparent over-yielding in the mixture, we observed no enhancement in weed suppression, biomass stability, or productivity of a subsequent oat (Avena sativa L.) cash crop when compared to the best monoculture component crop. These data are some of the first to include application of the LER to an analysis of a cover crop mixture and contribute to the growing literature on the agroecological effects of cover crop diversity in cropping systems. PMID:24847902

  3. Functionality of Selected Aromatic Lamiaceae in Attracting Pollinators in Central Spain.

    PubMed

    Barbir, Jelena; Azpiazu, Celeste; Badenes-Pérez, Francisco R; Fernández-Quintanilla, César; Dorado, José

    2016-04-01

    Planting floral margins in agricultural landscapes has been shown to increase the abundance of pollinators in agro-ecosystems. However, to create efficient margins, it is necessary to use attractive, not weedy native plants with different blooming periods to prolong the availability of floral resources. Six native perennial plants of the Lamiaceae with different blooming periods were studied in a randomized block design, with the final aim to select the most efficient plants in floral mixtures by studying relationships between their floral phenology, floral density, and attractiveness to pollinators in Central Spain. In addition, their spatial expansion, i.e., potential weediness, was estimated under the field conditions, as the final purpose of the plants is to be implemented within the agro-ecosystems. The results showed that plant species with higher floral density (Nepeta tuberosa L. and Hyssopus officinalis L.) showed significantly higher attractiveness to pollinators and enhanced the attractiveness of floral mixtures. Species that bloomed in early spring (Salvia verbenaca L.) and in summer (Melissa officinalis L. and Thymbra capitata L.) did not efficiently contribute to the attractiveness of the mixtures to pollinators. In addition, besides high floral density of Salvia officinalis L. and N. tuberosa in the spring, warm and dry weather in spring 2012 enhanced the activity of bees, while cold and rainy weather in spring 2013 enhanced the activity of hoverflies. None of the plants showed weedy growth and so posed no danger of invading adjacent crops.

  4. Worldwide Alien Invasion: A Methodological Approach to Forecast the Potential Spread of a Highly Invasive Pollinator

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    The ecological impacts of alien species invasion are a major threat to global biodiversity. The increasing number of invasion events by alien species and the high cost and difficulty of eradicating invasive species once established require the development of new methods and tools for predicting the most susceptible areas to invasion. Invasive pollinators pose serious threats to biodiversity and human activity due to their close relationship with many plants (including crop species) and high potential competitiveness for resources with native pollinators. Although at an early stage of expansion, the bumblebee species Bombus terrestris is becoming a representative case of pollinator invasion at a global scale, particularly given its high velocity of invasive spread and the increasing number of reports of its impacts on native bees and crops in many countries. We present here a methodological framework of habitat suitability modeling that integrates new approaches for detecting habitats that are susceptible to Bombus terrestris invasion at a global scale. Our approach did not include reported invaded locations in the modeling procedure; instead, those locations were used exclusively to evaluate the accuracy of the models in predicting suitability over regions already invaded. Moreover, a new and more intuitive approach was developed to select the models and evaluate different algorithms based on their performance and predictive convergence. Finally, we present a comprehensive global map of susceptibility to Bombus terrestris invasion that highlights priority areas for monitoring. PMID:26882479

  5. Worldwide Alien Invasion: A Methodological Approach to Forecast the Potential Spread of a Highly Invasive Pollinator.

    PubMed

    Acosta, André L; Giannini, Tereza C; Imperatriz-Fonseca, Vera L; Saraiva, Antonio M

    2016-01-01

    The ecological impacts of alien species invasion are a major threat to global biodiversity. The increasing number of invasion events by alien species and the high cost and difficulty of eradicating invasive species once established require the development of new methods and tools for predicting the most susceptible areas to invasion. Invasive pollinators pose serious threats to biodiversity and human activity due to their close relationship with many plants (including crop species) and high potential competitiveness for resources with native pollinators. Although at an early stage of expansion, the bumblebee species Bombus terrestris is becoming a representative case of pollinator invasion at a global scale, particularly given its high velocity of invasive spread and the increasing number of reports of its impacts on native bees and crops in many countries. We present here a methodological framework of habitat suitability modeling that integrates new approaches for detecting habitats that are susceptible to Bombus terrestris invasion at a global scale. Our approach did not include reported invaded locations in the modeling procedure; instead, those locations were used exclusively to evaluate the accuracy of the models in predicting suitability over regions already invaded. Moreover, a new and more intuitive approach was developed to select the models and evaluate different algorithms based on their performance and predictive convergence. Finally, we present a comprehensive global map of susceptibility to Bombus terrestris invasion that highlights priority areas for monitoring.

  6. Pollinator Foraging Adaptation and Coexistence of Competing Plants

    PubMed Central

    Revilla, Tomás A.; Křivan, Vlastimil

    2016-01-01

    We use the optimal foraging theory to study coexistence between two plant species and a generalist pollinator. We compare conditions for plant coexistence for non-adaptive vs. adaptive pollinators that adjust their foraging strategy to maximize fitness. When pollinators have fixed preferences, we show that plant coexistence typically requires both weak competition between plants for resources (e.g., space or nutrients) and pollinator preferences that are not too biased in favour of either plant. We also show how plant coexistence is promoted by indirect facilitation via the pollinator. When pollinators are adaptive foragers, pollinator’s diet maximizes pollinator’s fitness measured as the per capita population growth rate. Simulations show that this has two conflicting consequences for plant coexistence. On the one hand, when competition between pollinators is weak, adaptation favours pollinator specialization on the more profitable plant which increases asymmetries in plant competition and makes their coexistence less likely. On the other hand, when competition between pollinators is strong, adaptation promotes generalism, which facilitates plant coexistence. In addition, adaptive foraging allows pollinators to survive sudden loss of the preferred plant host, thus preventing further collapse of the entire community. PMID:27505254

  7. Pollinator effectiveness varies with experimental shifts in flowering time

    PubMed Central

    Rafferty, Nicole E.; Ives, Anthony R.

    2013-01-01

    The earlier flowering times exhibited by many plant species are a conspicuous sign of climate change. Altered phenologies have caused concern that species could suffer population declines if they flower at times when effective pollinators are unavailable. For two perennial wildflowers, Tradescantia ohiensis and Asclepias incarnata, we used an experimental approach to explore how changing phenology affects the taxonomic composition of the pollinator assemblage and the effectiveness of individual pollinator taxa. After finding in the previous year that fruit set varied with flowering time, we manipulated flowering onset in greenhouses, placed plants in the field over the span of five weeks, and measured pollinator effectiveness as the number of seeds produced after a single visit to a flower. The average effectiveness of pollinators and the expected rates of pollination success were lower for plants of both species flowering earlier than for plants flowering at historical times, suggesting there could be reproductive costs to earlier flowering. Whereas for A. incarnata, differences in average seed set among weeks were due primarily to changes in the composition of the pollinator assemblage, the differences for T. ohiensis were driven by the combined effects of compositional changes and increases over time in the effectiveness of some pollinator taxa. Both species face the possibility of temporal mismatch between the availability of the most effective pollinators and the onset of flowering, and changes in the effectiveness of individual pollinator taxa through time may add an unexpected element to the reproductive consequences of such mismatches. PMID:22690631

  8. Co-digestion of animal slurry can increase short-term nitrogen recovery by crops.

    PubMed

    de Boer, H C

    2008-01-01

    Co-digestion changes slurry characteristics and is supposed to increase short-term nitrogen (N) uptake by crops after application. A higher N uptake from slurry reduces the need for additional mineral N fertilizer. If farmers apply co-digested slurry (CS), a higher N recovery has to be taken into account to prevent losses to the environment. Since data on the effects of co-digestion on N recovery by crops are scarce, a pot experiment was performed. The apparent N recovery (ANR) of five different co-digested pig slurries was compared with their raw source slurries (RS) during 105 d after a single fertilization of ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), grown under controlled conditions. Slurry was mixed with sandy soil and grass was cut every 35 d. The results show that co-digestion increased (p < 0.05) the ANR at first cut on average from 39 to 50%, at second cut from 7 to 9% (p < 0.05), and had no effect on ANR at third cut (3%). The ANR increase at first cut was likely due to an increase of the NH(4)-N/total N ratio along with a decrease of the organic C/total N ratio of slurry during co-digestion. Field application may under certain circumstances decrease N fertilizer value of CS, due to a higher NH(3) emission compared to RS. A potential ANR increase may then be reduced, absent, or even become a decrease. Under comparable NH(3) emissions, however, CS can in the short term be more valuable as an N fertilizer than RS, and fertilizer savings can likely be realized.

  9. Genetic engineering for increasing fungal and bacterial disease resistance in crop plants.

    PubMed

    Wally, Owen; Punja, Zamir K

    2010-01-01

    We review the current and future potential of genetic engineering strategies used to make fungal and bacterial pathogen-resistant GM crops, illustrating different examples of the technologies and the potential benefits and short-falls of the strategies. There are well- established procedures for the production of transgenic plants with resistance towards these pathogens and considerable progress has been made using a range of new methodologies. There are no current commercially available transgenic plant species with increased resistance towards fungal and bacterial pathogens; only plants with increased resistance towards viruses are available. With an improved understanding of plant signaling pathways in response to a range of other pathogens, such as fungi, additional candidate genes for achieving resistance are being investigated. The potential for engineering plants for resistance against individual devastating diseases or for plants with resistance towards multiple pathogens is discussed in detail.

  10. Pollinator Risk Assessment Guidance

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    This Guidance is part of a long-term strategy to advance the science of assessing the risks posed by pesticides to honey bees, giving risk managers the means to further improve pollinator protection in our regulatory decisions.

  11. Pollinator Protection Strategic Plan

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Developed by EPA, this ensures that pesticide risk assessments and risk management decisions use best available information and scientific methods, and full evaluation of pollinator protection when making registration decisions.

  12. Challenges in testing genetically modified crops for potential increases in endogenous allergen expression for safety.

    PubMed

    Panda, R; Ariyarathna, H; Amnuaycheewa, P; Tetteh, A; Pramod, S N; Taylor, S L; Ballmer-Weber, B K; Goodman, R E

    2013-02-01

    Premarket, genetically modified (GM) plants are assessed for potential risks of food allergy. The major risk would be transfer of a gene encoding an allergen or protein nearly identical to an allergen into a different food source, which can be assessed by specific serum testing. The potential that a newly expressed protein might become an allergen is evaluated based on resistance to digestion in pepsin and abundance in food fractions. If the modified plant is a common allergenic source (e.g. soybean), regulatory guidelines suggest testing for increases in the expression of endogenous allergens. Some regulators request evaluating endogenous allergens for rarely allergenic plants (e.g. maize and rice). Since allergic individuals must avoid foods containing their allergen (e.g. peanut, soybean, maize, or rice), the relevance of the tests is unclear. Furthermore, no acceptance criteria are established and little is known about the natural variation in allergen concentrations in these crops. Our results demonstrate a 15-fold difference in the major maize allergen, lipid transfer protein between nine varieties, and complex variation in IgE binding to various soybean varieties. We question the value of evaluating endogenous allergens in GM plants unless the intent of the modification was production of a hypoallergenic crop.

  13. Ecosystem restoration strengthens pollination network resilience and function.

    PubMed

    Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N; Mougal, James; Whittington, Andrew E; Valentin, Terence; Gabriel, Ronny; Olesen, Jens M; Blüthgen, Nico

    2017-02-09

    Land degradation results in declining biodiversity and the disruption of ecosystem functioning worldwide, particularly in the tropics. Vegetation restoration is a common tool used to mitigate these impacts and increasingly aims to restore ecosystem functions rather than species diversity. However, evidence from community experiments on the effect of restoration practices on ecosystem functions is scarce. Pollination is an important ecosystem function and the global decline in pollinators attenuates the resistance of natural areas and agro-environments to disturbances. Thus, the ability of pollination functions to resist or recover from disturbance (that is, the functional resilience) may be critical for ensuring a successful restoration process. Here we report the use of a community field experiment to investigate the effects of vegetation restoration, specifically the removal of exotic shrubs, on pollination. We analyse 64 plant-pollinator networks and the reproductive performance of the ten most abundant plant species across four restored and four unrestored, disturbed mountaintop communities. Ecosystem restoration resulted in a marked increase in pollinator species, visits to flowers and interaction diversity. Interactions in restored networks were more generalized than in unrestored networks, indicating a higher functional redundancy in restored communities. Shifts in interaction patterns had direct and positive effects on pollination, especially on the relative and total fruit production of native plants. Pollinator limitation was prevalent at unrestored sites only, where the proportion of flowers producing fruit increased with pollinator visitation, approaching the higher levels seen in restored plant communities. Our results show that vegetation restoration can improve pollination, suggesting that the degradation of ecosystem functions is at least partially reversible. The degree of recovery may depend on the state of degradation before restoration

  14. Evidence for pollinator cost and farming benefits of neonicotinoid seed coatings on oilseed rape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Budge, G. E.; Garthwaite, D.; Crowe, A.; Boatman, N. D.; Delaplane, K. S.; Brown, M. A.; Thygesen, H. H.; Pietravalle, S.

    2015-08-01

    Chronic exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides has been linked to reduced survival of pollinating insects at both the individual and colony level, but so far only experimentally. Analyses of large-scale datasets to investigate the real-world links between the use of neonicotinoids and pollinator mortality are lacking. Moreover, the impacts of neonicotinoid seed coatings in reducing subsequent applications of foliar insecticide sprays and increasing crop yield are not known, despite the supposed benefits of this practice driving widespread use. Here, we combine large-scale pesticide usage and yield observations from oilseed rape with those detailing honey bee colony losses over an 11 year period, and reveal a correlation between honey bee colony losses and national-scale imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) usage patterns across England and Wales. We also provide the first evidence that farmers who use neonicotinoid seed coatings reduce the number of subsequent applications of foliar insecticide sprays and may derive an economic return. Our results inform the societal discussion on the pollinator costs and farming benefits of prophylactic neonicotinoid usage on a mass flowering crop.

  15. Evidence for pollinator cost and farming benefits of neonicotinoid seed coatings on oilseed rape

    PubMed Central

    Budge, G. E.; Garthwaite, D.; Crowe, A.; Boatman, N. D.; Delaplane, K. S.; Brown, M. A.; Thygesen, H. H.; Pietravalle, S.

    2015-01-01

    Chronic exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides has been linked to reduced survival of pollinating insects at both the individual and colony level, but so far only experimentally. Analyses of large-scale datasets to investigate the real-world links between the use of neonicotinoids and pollinator mortality are lacking. Moreover, the impacts of neonicotinoid seed coatings in reducing subsequent applications of foliar insecticide sprays and increasing crop yield are not known, despite the supposed benefits of this practice driving widespread use. Here, we combine large-scale pesticide usage and yield observations from oilseed rape with those detailing honey bee colony losses over an 11 year period, and reveal a correlation between honey bee colony losses and national-scale imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) usage patterns across England and Wales. We also provide the first evidence that farmers who use neonicotinoid seed coatings reduce the number of subsequent applications of foliar insecticide sprays and may derive an economic return. Our results inform the societal discussion on the pollinator costs and farming benefits of prophylactic neonicotinoid usage on a mass flowering crop. PMID:26270806

  16. Evidence for pollinator cost and farming benefits of neonicotinoid seed coatings on oilseed rape.

    PubMed

    Budge, G E; Garthwaite, D; Crowe, A; Boatman, N D; Delaplane, K S; Brown, M A; Thygesen, H H; Pietravalle, S

    2015-08-13

    Chronic exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides has been linked to reduced survival of pollinating insects at both the individual and colony level, but so far only experimentally. Analyses of large-scale datasets to investigate the real-world links between the use of neonicotinoids and pollinator mortality are lacking. Moreover, the impacts of neonicotinoid seed coatings in reducing subsequent applications of foliar insecticide sprays and increasing crop yield are not known, despite the supposed benefits of this practice driving widespread use. Here, we combine large-scale pesticide usage and yield observations from oilseed rape with those detailing honey bee colony losses over an 11 year period, and reveal a correlation between honey bee colony losses and national-scale imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) usage patterns across England and Wales. We also provide the first evidence that farmers who use neonicotinoid seed coatings reduce the number of subsequent applications of foliar insecticide sprays and may derive an economic return. Our results inform the societal discussion on the pollinator costs and farming benefits of prophylactic neonicotinoid usage on a mass flowering crop.

  17. Chapter 1: Assessing pollinator habitat services to optimize conservation programs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Iovanna, Richard; Ando , Amy W.; Swinton, Scott; Hellerstein, Daniel; Kagan, Jimmy; Mushet, David M.; Otto, Clint R.; Rewa, Charles A.

    2017-01-01

    Pollination services have received increased attention over the past several years, and protecting foraging area is beginning to be reflected in conservation policy. This case study considers the prospects for doing so in a more analytically rigorous manner, by quantifying the pollination services for sites being considered for ecological restoration. The specific policy context is the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which offers financial and technical assistance to landowners seeking to convert sensitive cropland back to some semblance of the prairie (or, to a lesser extent, forest or wetland) ecosystem that preceded it. Depending on the mix of grasses and wildflowers that are established, CRP enrollments can provide pollinator habitat. Further, depending on their location, they will generate related services, such as biological control of crop pests, recreation, and aesthetics. While offers to enroll in CRP compete based on cost and some anticipated benefits, the eligibility and ranking criteria do not reflect these services to a meaningful degree. Therefore, we develop a conceptual value diagram to identify the sequence of steps and associated models and data necessary to quantify the full range of services, and find that critical data gaps, some of which are artifacts of policy, preclude the application of benefit-relevant indicators (BRIs) or monetization. However, we also find that there is considerable research activity underway to fill these gaps. In addition, a modeling framework has been developed that can estimate field-level effects on services as a function of landscape context. The approach is inherently scalable and not limited in geographic scope, which is essential for a program with a national footprint. The parameters in this framework are sufficiently straightforward that expert judgment could be applied as a stopgap approach until empirically derived estimates are available. While monetization of benefit-relevant indicators of yield

  18. The enemy as ally: herbivore-induced increase in crop yield.

    PubMed

    Poveda, Katja; Jímenez, Maria Isabel Gómez; Kessler, André

    2010-10-01

    There is increasing global concern over the risk of food shortage and instability, and a concomitant demand for an increase in food production. However, the continuing expansion of agricultural areas threatens natural habitats as well as human and ecosystem health. One option for increasing food production is to maximize yields from existing farmland. Here we demonstrate that larval feeding by the Guatemalan potato moth (Tecia solanivora), considered one of the most economically important potato pests in Latin America, leads to a dramatic increase in potato tuber production. Field-grown potato plants (Solanum tuberosum) in the Colombian Andes attacked by low numbers of potato moth larvae produce a 2.5-fold higher marketable potato yield than undamaged plants. Greenhouse experiments demonstrate that this effect is induced by larval regurgitant, rather than by mechanical tissue damage. Our results indicate that compounds from the foregut of T. solanivora are necessary and sufficient to induce an increased yield in potato. Our study suggests that using (1) herbivore-derived chemical cues and (2) induced compensatory plant responses to herbivory can provide viable new tools to increase per area crop productivity.

  19. Avoiding a bad apple: Insect pollination enhances fruit quality and economic value.

    PubMed

    Garratt, M P D; Breeze, T D; Jenner, N; Polce, C; Biesmeijer, J C; Potts, S G

    2014-02-01

    Insect pollination is important for food production globally and apples are one of the major fruit crops which are reliant on this ecosystem service. It is fundamentally important that the full range of benefits of insect pollination to crop production are understood, if the costs of interventions aiming to enhance pollination are to be compared against the costs of the interventions themselves. Most previous studies have simply assessed the benefits of pollination to crop yield and ignored quality benefits and how these translate through to economic values. In the present study we examine the influence of insect pollination services on farmgate output of two important UK apple varieties; Gala and Cox. Using field experiments, we quantify the influence of insect pollination on yield and importantly quality and whether either may be limited by sub-optimal insect pollination. Using an expanded bioeconomic model we value insect pollination to UK apple production and establish the potential for improvement through pollination service management. We show that insects are essential in the production of both varieties of apple in the UK and contribute a total of £36.7 million per annum, over £6 million more than the value calculated using more conventional dependence ratio methods. Insect pollination not only affects the quantity of production but can also have marked impacts on the quality of apples, influencing size, shape and effecting their classification for market. These effects are variety specific however. Due to the influence of pollination on both yield and quality in Gala, there is potential for insect pollination services to improve UK output by up to £5.7 million per annum. Our research shows that continued pollinator decline could have serious financial implications for the apple industry but there is considerable scope through management of wild pollinators or using managed pollinator augmentation, to improve the quality of production. Furthermore, we

  20. Bumble bee fauna of Palouse Prairie: survey of native bee pollinators in a fragmented ecosystem

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bumble bees are dominant pollinators in the northern hemisphere, providing important pollination services for commercial crops and innumerable wild plants. Nationwide declines in several bumble bee species and habitat loss in multiple ecosystems have raised concern about conservation of this import...

  1. Wildflower plantings do not compete with neighboring almond orchards for pollinator visits

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The engineering of flowering agricultural field borders has emerged as a research and policy priority to mitigate threats to pollinators. Studies have, however, rarely addressed the potential that flowering field borders might compete with neighboring crops for pollinator visits if they both are in ...

  2. Social insects: from the lab to the landscape - translational approaches to pollinator health

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Approximately 90% of flowering plants — corresponding to nearly three quarters of global agricultural crops — use pollinators to set seed and fruit. However, populations of several species of pollinators are in decline throughout the world, threatening the stability of our ecosystems and productivit...

  3. Effects of varroa mites and bee diseases on pollination efficacy of honey bees

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Varroa mites and viral diseases are known to affect the efficiency of crop pollination by honey. This study elucidates effects of varroa mites and bee diseases on the foraging behavior of adult bees and the consequences on successful fruit pollination. Four honey bee colonies of about 4,500 bees eac...

  4. Influence of increasing combustion temperature on the AMS 14C dating of modern crop phytoliths.

    PubMed

    Yin, Jinhui; Yang, Xue; Zheng, Yonggang

    2014-10-07

    Several attempts have been made to directly date phytoliths, but most (14)C results are not consistent with other independent chronologies. Due to the limited dataset, there is not a clear explanation for these discrepancies. Herein, we report the (14)C ages of phytolith-occluded carbon (PhytOC) from contemporary rice and millet crops that were combusted at different temperatures to investigate the relationship between the combustion temperature and resulting (14)C age. Our results show that the (14)C age of PhytOC increases directly with combustion temperature (up to 1100°C) and results in age overestimations of hundreds of years. Considerably older ages are observed at higher temperatures, suggesting that it may be possible to distinguish between two fractions of organic carbon in phytoliths: labile and recalcitrant carbon. These findings challenge the assumption that PhytOC is homogeneous, an assumption made by those who have previously attempted to directly date phytoliths using (14)C.

  5. Manipulating photorespiration to increase plant productivity: recent advances and perspectives for crop improvement.

    PubMed

    Betti, Marco; Bauwe, Hermann; Busch, Florian A; Fernie, Alisdair R; Keech, Olivier; Levey, Myles; Ort, Donald R; Parry, Martin A J; Sage, Rowan; Timm, Stefan; Walker, Berkley; Weber, Andreas P M

    2016-05-01

    Recycling of the 2-phosphoglycolate generated by the oxygenase reaction of Rubisco requires a complex and energy-consuming set of reactions collectively known as the photorespiratory cycle. Several approaches aimed at reducing the rates of photorespiratory energy or carbon loss have been proposed, based either on screening for natural variation or by means of genetic engineering. Recent work indicates that plant yield can be substantially improved by the alteration of photorespiratory fluxes or by engineering artificial bypasses to photorespiration. However, there is also evidence indicating that, under certain environmental and/or nutritional conditions, reduced photorespiratory capacity may be detrimental to plant performance. Here we summarize recent advances obtained in photorespiratory engineering and discuss prospects for these advances to be transferred to major crops to help address the globally increasing demand for food and biomass production.

  6. Pollination efficiency and the evolution of specialized deceptive pollination systems.

    PubMed

    Scopece, Giovanni; Cozzolino, Salvatore; Johnson, Steven D; Schiestl, Florian P

    2010-01-01

    The ultimate causes of evolution of highly specialized pollination systems are little understood. We investigated the relationship between specialization and pollination efficiency, defined as the proportion of pollinated flowers relative to those that experienced pollen removal, using orchids with different pollination strategies as a model system. Rewarding orchids showed the highest pollination efficiency. Sexually deceptive orchids had comparably high pollination efficiency, but food-deceptive orchids had significantly lower efficiency. Values for pollinator sharing (a measure of the degree of generalization in pollination systems) showed the reverse pattern, in that groups with high pollination efficiency had low values of pollinator sharing. Low pollinator sharing may thus be the basis for efficient pollination. Population genetic data indicated that both food- and sexually deceptive species have higher degrees of among-population gene flow than do rewarding orchids. Thus, the shift from food to sexual deception may be driven by selection for more efficient pollination, without compromising the high levels of gene flow that are characteristic of deceptive species.

  7. GM crops in Ethiopia: a realistic way to increase agricultural performance?

    PubMed

    Azadi, Hossein; Talsma, Nanda; Ho, Peter; Zarafshani, Kiumars

    2011-01-01

    Much has been published on the application of genetically modified (GM) crops in Africa, but agricultural performance has hardly been addressed. This paper discusses the main consequences of GM crops on agricultural performance in Ethiopia. Three main criteria of performance - productivity, equitability and sustainability - are evaluated in the context of the Ethiopian agricultural sector. We conclude that the application of GM crops can improve the agricultural productivity and sustainability, whereas equitability cannot be stimulated and might even exacerbate the gap between socioeconomic classes. Before introducing GM crops to Ethiopian agriculture, regulatory issues should be addressed, public research should be fostered, and more ex ante values and socioeconomic studies should be included.

  8. New energy crop giant cane (Arundo donax L.) can substitute traditional energy crops increasing biogas yield and reducing costs.

    PubMed

    Luca, Corno; Pilu, Roberto; Tambone, Fulvia; Scaglia, Barbara; Adani, Fabrizio

    2015-09-01

    Giant cane is a promising non-food crop for biogas production. Giant cane and corn silages coming from full-scale fields were tested, in mixtures with pig slurry, for biomethane production by a continuous stirred tank lab-scale-reactor (CSTR) approach. Results indicated that giant cane produced less biomethane than corn, i.e. 174±10 N m(3) CH4 Mg(-1) TS(-1) and 245±26 N m(3) CH4 Mg(-1) TS(-1), respectively. On the other hand, because of its high field biomass production, the biogas obtainable per Ha was higher for giant cane than for corn, i.e. 12,292 N m(3) CH4 Ha(-1) and 4549 N m(3) CH4 Ha(-1), respectively. Low energetic and agronomic inputs for giant cane cultivation led to a considerable reduction in the costs of producing both electricity and biomethane, i.e. 0.50 € N m(-3) CH4(-1) and 0.81 € N m(-3) CH4(-1), and 0.10 € kW hEE(-1) and 0.19 € kW hEE(-1) for biomethane and electricity production, and for giant cane and corn mixtures respectively.

  9. Milkweed (Gentianales: Apocynaceae): A farmscape resource for increasing parasitism of stink bugs (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) and providing nectar to insect pollinators and monarch butterflies

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In peanut-cotton farmscapes in Georgia, stink bugs, i.e., Nezara viridula (L.), Euschistus servus (Say), and Chinavia hilaris (Say), develop in peanut and then disperse at the crop-to-crop interface to feed on fruit in cotton. The main objective of this study was to examine the influence of a habit...

  10. Orchid–pollinator interactions and potential vulnerability to biological invasion

    PubMed Central

    Chupp, Adam D.; Battaglia, Loretta L.; Schauber, Eric M.; Sipes, Sedonia D.

    2015-01-01

    Mutualistic relationships between plants and their pollinators have played a major role in the evolution of biodiversity. While the vulnerability of these relationships to environmental change is a major concern, studies often lack a framework for predicting impacts from emerging threats (e.g. biological invasions). The objective of this study was to determine the reliance of Platanthera ciliaris (orange-fringed orchid) on Papilio palamedes (Palamedes swallowtail butterfly) for pollination and the relative availability of alternative pollinators. Recent declines of P. palamedes larval host plants due to laurel wilt disease (LWD) could endanger P. ciliaris populations that rely heavily on this butterfly for pollination. We monitored pollinator visitation and fruit set and measured nectar spur lengths of P. ciliaris flowers and proboscis lengths of its floral visitors in Jackson County, MS, USA. Papilio palamedes was the primary visitor with minimal visitation by Phoebis sennae (cloudless sulfur butterfly). Lengths of P. ciliaris nectar spurs were similar to proboscis lengths of both pollinator species. Fruit set was moderate with access to pollinators (55 ± 10.8 %), yet failed (0 %) when pollinators were excluded. Visitation increased with inflorescence size, but there was no such pattern in fruit set, indicating that fruit set was not limited by pollinator visitation within the range of visitation rates we observed. Our results are supported by historical data that suggest P. palamedes and P. sennae are important pollinators of P. ciliaris. Although P. sennae may provide supplemental pollination service, this is likely constrained by habitat preferences that do not always overlap with those of P. cilaris. Observed declines of P. palamedes due to LWD could severely limit the reproductive success and persistence of P. ciliaris and similar orchid species populations. This empirical-based prediction is among the first to document exotic forest pests and pathogens as

  11. Orchid-pollinator interactions and potential vulnerability to biological invasion.

    PubMed

    Chupp, Adam D; Battaglia, Loretta L; Schauber, Eric M; Sipes, Sedonia D

    2015-08-17

    Mutualistic relationships between plants and their pollinators have played a major role in the evolution of biodiversity. While the vulnerability of these relationships to environmental change is a major concern, studies often lack a framework for predicting impacts from emerging threats (e.g. biological invasions). The objective of this study was to determine the reliance of Platanthera ciliaris (orange-fringed orchid) on Papilio palamedes (Palamedes swallowtail butterfly) for pollination and the relative availability of alternative pollinators. Recent declines of P. palamedes larval host plants due to laurel wilt disease (LWD) could endanger P. ciliaris populations that rely heavily on this butterfly for pollination. We monitored pollinator visitation and fruit set and measured nectar spur lengths of P. ciliaris flowers and proboscis lengths of its floral visitors in Jackson County, MS, USA. Papilio palamedes was the primary visitor with minimal visitation by Phoebis sennae (cloudless sulfur butterfly). Lengths of P. ciliaris nectar spurs were similar to proboscis lengths of both pollinator species. Fruit set was moderate with access to pollinators (55 ± 10.8 %), yet failed (0 %) when pollinators were excluded. Visitation increased with inflorescence size, but there was no such pattern in fruit set, indicating that fruit set was not limited by pollinator visitation within the range of visitation rates we observed. Our results are supported by historical data that suggest P. palamedes and P. sennae are important pollinators of P. ciliaris. Although P. sennae may provide supplemental pollination service, this is likely constrained by habitat preferences that do not always overlap with those of P. cilaris. Observed declines of P. palamedes due to LWD could severely limit the reproductive success and persistence of P. ciliaris and similar orchid species populations. This empirical-based prediction is among the first to document exotic forest pests and pathogens as

  12. Do cover crops increase or decrease nitrous oxide emissions? A meta-analysis

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Few studies have examined the factors that affect the impact of cover crops on nitrous oxide emissions. A meta-analysis of the data obtained from twenty-six peer reviewed articles was conducted using the natural log of the nitrous oxide flux with a cover crop divided by the nitrous oxide flux withou...

  13. Crop water productivity under increasing irrigation capacities in Romania. A spatially-explicit assessment of winter wheat and maize cropping systems in the southern lowlands of the country

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dogaru, Diana

    2016-04-01

    Improved water use efficiency in agriculture is a key issue in terms of sustainable management and consumption of water resources in the context of peoples' increasing food demands and preferences, economic growth and agricultural adaptation options to climate variability and change. Crop Water Productivity (CWP), defined as the ratio of yield (or value of harvested crop) to actual evapotranspiration or as the ratio of yield (or value of harvested crop) to volume of supplied irrigation water (Molden et al., 1998), is a useful indicator in the evaluation of water use efficiency and ultimately of cropland management, particularly in the case of regions affected by or prone to drought and where irrigation application is essential for achieving expected productions. The present study investigates the productivity of water in winter wheat and maize cropping systems in the Romanian Plain (49 594 sq. km), an important agricultural region in the southern part of the country which is increasingly affected by drought and dry spells (Sandu and Mateescu, 2014). The scope of the analysis is to assess the gains and losses in CWP for the two crops, by considering increased irrigated cropland and improved fertilization, these being the most common measures potentially and already implemented by the farmers. In order to capture the effects of such measures on agricultural water use, the GIS-based EPIC crop-growth model (GEPIC) (Williams et al., 1989; Liu, 2009) was employed to simulate yields, seasonal evapotranspiration from crops and volume of irrigation water in the Romanian Plain for the 2002 - 2013 interval with focus on 2007 and 2010, two representative years for dry and wet periods, respectively. The GEPIC model operates on a daily time step, while the geospatial input datasets for this analysis (e.g. climate data, soil classes and soil parameters, land use) were harmonized at 1km resolution grid cell. The sources of the spatial data are mainly the national profile agencies

  14. Crop rotations in the sea: Increasing returns and reducing risk of collapse in sea cucumber fisheries

    PubMed Central

    Skewes, Timothy; Murphy, Nicole; Pascual, Ricardo; Fischer, Mibu

    2015-01-01

    Rotational harvesting is one of the oldest management strategies applied to terrestrial and marine natural resources, with crop rotations dating back to the time of the Roman Empire. The efficacy of this strategy for sessile marine species is of considerable interest given that these resources are vital to underpin food security and maintain the social and economic wellbeing of small-scale and commercial fishers globally. We modeled the rotational zone strategy applied to the multispecies sea cucumber fishery in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and show a substantial reduction in the risk of localized depletion, higher long-term yields, and improved economic performance. We evaluated the performance of rotation cycles of different length and show an improvement in biological and economic performance with increasing time between harvests up to 6 y. As sea cucumber fisheries throughout the world succumb to overexploitation driven by rising demand, there has been an increasing demand for robust assessments of fishery sustainability and a need to address local depletion concerns. Our results provide motivation for increased use of relatively low-information, low-cost, comanagement rotational harvest approaches in coastal and reef systems globally. PMID:25964357

  15. Plant genetic resources: What can they contribute toward increased crop productivity?

    PubMed Central

    Hoisington, David; Khairallah, Mireille; Reeves, Timothy; Ribaut, Jean-Marcel; Skovmand, Bent; Taba, Suketoshi; Warburton, Marilyn

    1999-01-01

    To feed a world population growing by up to 160 people per minute, with >90% of them in developing countries, will require an astonishing increase in food production. Forecasts call for wheat to become the most important cereal in the world, with maize close behind; together, these crops will account for ≈80% of developing countries’ cereal import requirements. Access to a range of genetic diversity is critical to the success of breeding programs. The global effort to assemble, document, and utilize these resources is enormous, and the genetic diversity in the collections is critical to the world’s fight against hunger. The introgression of genes that reduced plant height and increased disease and viral resistance in wheat provided the foundation for the “Green Revolution” and demonstrated the tremendous impact that genetic resources can have on production. Wheat hybrids and synthetics may provide the yield increases needed in the future. A wild relative of maize, Tripsacum, represents an untapped genetic resource for abiotic and biotic stress resistance and for apomixis, a trait that could provide developing world farmers access to hybrid technology. Ownership of genetic resources and genes must be resolved to ensure global access to these critical resources. The application of molecular and genetic engineering technologies enhances the use of genetic resources. The effective and complementary use of all of our technological tools and resources will be required for meeting the challenge posed by the world’s expanding demand for food. PMID:10339521

  16. Crop rotations in the sea: Increasing returns and reducing risk of collapse in sea cucumber fisheries.

    PubMed

    Plagányi, Éva Elizabeth; Skewes, Timothy; Murphy, Nicole; Pascual, Ricardo; Fischer, Mibu

    2015-05-26

    Rotational harvesting is one of the oldest management strategies applied to terrestrial and marine natural resources, with crop rotations dating back to the time of the Roman Empire. The efficacy of this strategy for sessile marine species is of considerable interest given that these resources are vital to underpin food security and maintain the social and economic wellbeing of small-scale and commercial fishers globally. We modeled the rotational zone strategy applied to the multispecies sea cucumber fishery in Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and show a substantial reduction in the risk of localized depletion, higher long-term yields, and improved economic performance. We evaluated the performance of rotation cycles of different length and show an improvement in biological and economic performance with increasing time between harvests up to 6 y. As sea cucumber fisheries throughout the world succumb to overexploitation driven by rising demand, there has been an increasing demand for robust assessments of fishery sustainability and a need to address local depletion concerns. Our results provide motivation for increased use of relatively low-information, low-cost, comanagement rotational harvest approaches in coastal and reef systems globally.

  17. Degradation of soil fertility can cancel pollination benefits in sunflower.

    PubMed

    Tamburini, Giovanni; Berti, Antonio; Morari, Francesco; Marini, Lorenzo

    2016-02-01

    Pollination and soil fertility are important ecosystem services to agriculture but their relative roles and potential interactions are poorly understood. We explored the combined effects of pollination and soil fertility in sunflower using soils from a trial characterized by different long-term input management in order to recreate plausible levels of soil fertility. Pollinator exclusion was used as a proxy for a highly eroded pollination service. Pollination benefits to yield depended on soil fertility, i.e., insect pollination enhanced seed set and yield only under higher soil fertility indicating that limited nutrient availability may constrain pollination benefits. Our study provides evidence for interactions between above- and belowground ecosystem services, highlighting the crucial role of soil fertility in supporting agricultural production not only directly, but also indirectly through pollination. Management strategies aimed at enhancing pollination services might fail in increasing yield in landscapes characterized by high soil service degradation. Comprehensive knowledge about service interactions is therefore essential for the correct management of ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes.

  18. Flight performance of bumble bee as a possible pollinator in space agriculture under partial gravity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yamashita, Masamichi; Hashimoto, Hirofumi; Mitsuhata, Masahiro; Sasaki, Masami; Space Agriculture Task Force, J.

    Space agriculture is an advanced life support concept for habitation on extraterrestrial bodies based on biological and ecological function. Flowering plant species are core member of space agriculture to produce food and revitalize air and water. Selection of crop plant species is made on the basis of nutritional requirements to maintain healthy life of space crew. Species selected for space agriculture have several mode of reproduction. For some of plant species, insect pollination is effective to increase yield and quality of food. In terrestrial agriculture, bee is widely introduced to pollinate flower. For pollinator insect on Mars, working environment is different from Earth. Magnitude of gravity is 0.38G on Mars surface. In order to confirm feasibility of insect pollination for space agriculture, capability of flying pollinator insect under such exotic condition should be examined. Even bee does not possess evident gravity sensory system, gravity dominates flying performance and behavior. During flight or hovering, lifting force produced by wing beat sustains body weight, which is the product of body mass and gravitational acceleration. Flying behavior of bumble bee, Bombus ignitus, was documented under partial or micro-gravity produced by parabolic flight of jet plane. Flying behavior at absence of gravity differed from that under normal gravity. Ability of bee to fly under partial gravity was examined at the level of Mars, Moon and the less, to determine the threshold level of gravity for bee flying maneuver. Adaptation process of bee flying under different gravity level was evaluated as well by successive documentation of parabolic flight experiment.

  19. A photorespiratory bypass increases plant growth and seed yield in biofuel crop Camelina sativa

    DOE PAGES

    Dalal, Jyoti; Lopez, Harry; Vasani, Naresh B.; ...

    2015-10-29

    Camelina sativa is an oilseed crop with great potential for biofuel production on marginal land. The seed oil from camelina has been converted to jet fuel and improved fuel efficiency in commercial and military test flights. Hydrogenation-derived renewable diesel from camelina is environmentally superior to that from canola due to lower agricultural inputs, and the seed meal is FDA approved for animal consumption. However, relatively low yield makes its farming less profitable. Our study is aimed at increasing camelina seed yield by reducing carbon loss from photorespiration via a photorespiratory bypass. Genes encoding three enzymes of the Escherichia coli glycolatemore » catabolic pathway were introduced: glycolate dehydrogenase (GDH), glyoxylate carboxyligase (GCL) and tartronic semialdehyde reductase (TSR). These enzymes compete for the photorespiratory substrate, glycolate, convert it to glycerate within the chloroplasts, and reduce photorespiration. As a by-product of the reaction, CO2 is released in the chloroplast, which increases photosynthesis. Camelina plants were transformed with either partial bypass (GDH), or full bypass (GDH, GCL and TSR) genes. Furthermore, transgenic plants were evaluated for physiological and metabolic traits.« less

  20. The use of cover crops to increase soil organic carbon in Mediterranean vineyards

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    García-Díaz, Andrés; Bienes Allas, Ramón; Sastre Rodriguez, Blanca

    2016-04-01

    In Central Spain the vineyards are commonly managed with conventional tillage (CT) to remove water and nutrient competition between the spontaneous vegetation and the vine plants. The continuous tillage promotes high mineralization rates resulting in soils with low organic matter content and prone to erosion. Consequently the increase of soil organic carbon (SOC) in Mediterranean soils has been a main concern in the last years. It is necessary to carry out different soil managements to enhance soil fertility and reduce erosion through the increase of SOC. The aim of this study was to assess the capacity of cover crops (CC) to increase SOC in vineyards in Mediterranean climate. The experiment consisted in four vineyards in four different locations (different type of soil and microclimate), in the same region, to analyze the influence of CC on different conditions. A seeded CC (Brachypodium distachyon L. P. Beauv) and spontaneous vegetation were performed to compare to CT. The Brachypodium distachyon cover was seeded in December, 2012. We analyzed the organic carbon content and bulk density after three agronomy seasons. The samples were taken in the summer of 2015 at the depth of 0-5 cm. The bulk density of Brachypodium distachyon was 1.42 t•m-3, which was statistically significant comparing to both CT (1.33 t•m-3) and spontaneous vegetation (1.34 t•m-3). The SOC percentage of CT, Brachypodium distachyon and spontaneous vegetation was 0.82, 0.96 and 1.10 respectively. Only spontaneous vegetation showed statistically significant differences compared to CT. The results were highly variable depending on the vineyard. The spontaneous vegetation was the most effective CC increasing SOC with an average of 2 t•ha-1 more than CT in three agronomy seasons. These results point out the different efficiency of CC and the high influence of local conditions on SOC increase.

  1. Pollinator-prey conflict in carnivorous plants.

    PubMed

    Jürgens, Andreas; Sciligo, Amber; Witt, Taina; El-Sayed, Ashraf M; Suckling, D Max

    2012-08-01

    Most carnivorous plants utilize insects in two ways: the flowers attract insects as pollen vectors for sexual reproduction, and the leaves trap insects for nutrients. Feeding on insects has been explained as an adaptation to nutrient-poor soil, and carnivorous plants have been shown to benefit from insect capture through increased growth, earlier flowering and increased seed production. Most carnivorous plant species seem to benefit from insect pollination, although many species autonomously self-pollinate and some propagate vegetatively. However, assuming that outcross pollen is advantageous and is a more important determinant of reproductive success than the nutrients gained from prey, there should be a selective pressure on carnivorous plants not to feed on their potential pollen vectors. Therefore, it has been suggested that carnivorous plants are subject to a conflict, often called the pollinator-prey conflict (PPC). The conflict results from a trade-off of the benefits from feeding on potentially pollinating insects versus the need to use them as pollen vectors for sexual reproduction. In this review we analyze the conditions under which a PPC may occur, review the evidence for the existence of PPCs in carnivorous plants, and explore the mechanisms that may be in place to prevent or alleviate a PPC. With respect to the latter, we discuss how plant signals such as olfactory and visual cues may play a role in separating the functions of pollinator attraction and prey capture.

  2. Carbohydrates, pollinators, and cycads

    PubMed Central

    Marler, Thomas E; Lindström, Anders J

    2015-01-01

    Cycad biology, ecology, and horticulture decisions are not supported by adequate research, and experiments in cycad physiology in particular have been deficient. Our recent report on free sugar content in a range of cycad taxa and tissues sets the stage for developing continued carbohydrate research. Growth and development of cycad pollen, mediation of the herbivory traits of specialist pollinators, and support of expensive strobilus behavioral traits are areas of cycad pollination biology that would benefit from a greater understanding of the role of carbohydrate relations. PMID:26479502

  3. Carbohydrates, pollinators, and cycads.

    PubMed

    Marler, Thomas E; Lindström, Anders J

    2015-01-01

    Cycad biology, ecology, and horticulture decisions are not supported by adequate research, and experiments in cycad physiology in particular have been deficient. Our recent report on free sugar content in a range of cycad taxa and tissues sets the stage for developing continued carbohydrate research. Growth and development of cycad pollen, mediation of the herbivory traits of specialist pollinators, and support of expensive strobilus behavioral traits are areas of cycad pollination biology that would benefit from a greater understanding of the role of carbohydrate relations.

  4. Programmed cell death in kiwifruit stigmatic arms and its relationship to the effective pollination period and the progamic phase

    PubMed Central

    Ferradás, Yolanda; López, Marián; Rey, Manuel; González, Ma Victoria

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Kiwifruit is a crop with a highly successful reproductive performance, which is impaired by the short effective pollination period of female flowers. This study investigates whether the degenerative processes observed in both pollinated and non-pollinated flowers after anthesis may be considered to be programmed cell death (PCD). Methods Features of PCD in kiwifruit, Actinidia chinensis var. deliciosa, were studied in both non-pollinated and pollinated stigmatic arms using transmission electron microscopy, DAPI (4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole) staining, TUNEL (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labelling) assays, DNA gel electrophoresis and caspase-like activity assays. Key Results In the secretory tissues of the stigmatic arms, cell organelles disintegrated sequentially while progressive vacuolization was detected. At the same time, chromatin condensation, nuclear deformation, and DNA fragmentation and degradation were observed. These features were detected in both non-pollinated and pollinated stigmatic arms; they were evident in the stigmas of pollinated flowers by the second day after anthesis but only by 4 d after anthesis in non-pollinated flowers. In addition, in pollinated stigmatic arms, these features were first initiated in the stigma and gradually progressed through the style, consistent with pollen tube growth. This timing of events was also observed in both non-pollinated and pollinated stigmatic arms for caspase-3-like activity. Conclusions The data provide evidence to support the hypothesis that PCD processes occurring in the secretory tissue of non-pollinated kiwifruit stigmatic arms could be the origin for the observed short effective pollination period. The results obtained in the secretory tissue of pollinated kiwifruit stigmatic arms upon pollination support the idea that PCD might be accelerated by pollination, pointing to the involvement of PCD during the progamic phase. PMID:24782437

  5. The pollination niche and its role in the diversification and maintenance of the southern African flora.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Steven D

    2010-02-12

    The flora of southern Africa has exceptional species richness and endemism, making it an ideal system for studying the patterns and processes of evolutionary diversification. Using a wealth of recent case studies, I examine the evidence for pollinator-driven diversification in this flora. Pollination systems, which represent available niches for ecological diversification, are characterized in southern Africa by a high level of ecological and evolutionary specialization on the part of plants, and, in some cases, by pollinators as well. These systems are asymmetric, with entire plant guilds commonly specialized for a particular pollinator species or functional type, resulting in obvious convergent floral evolution among guild members. Identified modes of plant lineage diversification involving adaptation to pollinators in these guilds include (i) shifts between pollination systems, (ii) divergent use of the same pollinator, (iii) coevolution, (iv) trait tracking, and (v) floral mimicry of different model species. Microevolutionary studies confirm that pollinator shifts can be precipitated when a plant species encounters a novel pollinator fauna on its range margin, and macroevolutionary studies confirm frequent pollinator shifts associated with lineage diversification. As Darwin first noted, evolutionary specialization for particular pollinators, when resulting in ecological dependency, may increase the risk of plant extinction. I thus also consider the evidence that disturbance provokes pollination failure in some southern African plants with specialized pollination systems.

  6. Fall cover cropping can increase arbuscular mycorrhizae in soils supporting intensive agricultural production

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Intensive agricultural practices, such as tillage, monocropping, seasonal fallow periods, and inorganic nutrient application have been shown to reduce arbuscular mycorrrhizal fungi (AMF) populations and thus may reduce benefits frequently provided to crops by AMF, such as nutrient acquisition, disea...

  7. Beneficial Insects and Insect Pollinators on Milkweed in South Georgia

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Insect pollinators are essential for the reproduction of more than two-thirds of the world’s crops, and beneficial insects play an important role in managing pest insects in agricultural farmscapes. These insects depend on nectar for their survival in these farmscapes. The flowers of tropical milkwe...

  8. Flowering dynamics and pollinator visitation of oilseed echium (Echium plantagineum)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Echium (Echium plantagineum L.) is an alternative oilseed crop in summer-wet temperate regions that provides floral resources to pollinators. Its seed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as stearidonic acid, which is desired highly by the cosmetic industry. We examined flowering dynamics, polli...

  9. Influence of increasing combustion temperature on the AMS 14C dating of modern crop phytoliths

    PubMed Central

    Yin, Jinhui; Yang, Xue; Zheng, Yonggang

    2014-01-01

    Several attempts have been made to directly date phytoliths, but most 14C results are not consistent with other independent chronologies. Due to the limited dataset, there is not a clear explanation for these discrepancies. Herein, we report the 14C ages of phytolith-occluded carbon (PhytOC) from contemporary rice and millet crops that were combusted at different temperatures to investigate the relationship between the combustion temperature and resulting 14C age. Our results show that the 14C age of PhytOC increases directly with combustion temperature (up to 1100°C) and results in age overestimations of hundreds of years. Considerably older ages are observed at higher temperatures, suggesting that it may be possible to distinguish between two fractions of organic carbon in phytoliths: labile and recalcitrant carbon. These findings challenge the assumption that PhytOC is homogeneous, an assumption made by those who have previously attempted to directly date phytoliths using 14C. PMID:25288281

  10. Rehabilitating acid soils for increasing crop productivity through low-cost liming material.

    PubMed

    Bhat, Javid Ahmad; Kundu, Manik Chandra; Hazra, Gora Chand; Santra, Gour Hari; Mandal, Biswapati

    2010-09-15

    Productivity of red and lateritic soils is low because of their acidity and deficiencies in few essential nutrients viz., nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, boron, molybdenum etc. We compared the effectiveness of basic slag, a low-cost liming material, with that of calcite as an ameliorant for these soils using mustard followed by rice as test crops. Experiments were conducted with three levels of each of basic slag and calcite along with a control on farmers' fields at 14 different locations. Influence of farmyard manure (FYM) and poultry manure (PM) on the effectiveness of the slag was also tested. On an average, basic slag performed better than calcite in increasing yields of both mustard and rice and left over higher amounts of available Ca, Si and Zn in residual soils. The slag also improved N, P, K and Ca nutrition of mustard and Si and Zn nutrition of rice with a favorable benefit:cost (B:C) ratio over the calcite (4.82 vs. 1.44). Effectiveness of the basic slag improved when it was applied in combination with FYM or PM (B:C, 5.83 and 6.27). Basic slag can, therefore, be advocated for use in the acidic red and lateritic soils for economically improving their productivity.

  11. Staple crops biofortified with increased vitamins and minerals: considerations for a public health strategy.

    PubMed

    Garcia-Casal, Maria Nieves; Peña-Rosas, Juan Pablo; Giyose, Boitshepo

    2017-02-01

    Biofortification of staple crops has been proposed as a strategy to address micronutrient malnutrition, particularly with respect to insufficient intake of vitamin A, iron, zinc, and folate. The World Health Organization, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences, convened a technical consultation entitled "Staple Crops Biofortified with Vitamins and Minerals: Considerations for a Public Health Strategy" in April 2016. Participants of the consultation reviewed the definition of biofortification of staple crops, patterns of crops production, processing, consumption, seed varieties, and micronutrient stability and bioavailability, as well as farmers' adoption and acceptability of the modified crops. Also discussed were economic, environmental, safety, and equity aspects of biofortified crops, as well as legal, policy, regulatory, and ethical issues for the implementation of biofortification strategies in agriculture and nutrition. Consultation working groups identified important and emerging technical issues, lessons learned, and research priorities to better support the evidence of improved nutrition and unintended adverse effects of biofortification. This paper provides the background and rationale of the technical consultation, synopsizes the presentations, and provides a summary of the main considerations proposed by the working groups.

  12. Increasing Crop Yields in Water Stressed Countries by Combining Operations of Freshwater Reservoir and Wastewater Reclamation Plant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bhushan, R.; Ng, T. L.

    2015-12-01

    Freshwater resources around the world are increasing in scarcity due to population growth, industrialization and climate change. This is a serious concern for water stressed countries, including those in Asia and North Africa where future food production is expected to be negatively affected by this. To address this problem, we investigate the potential of combining freshwater reservoir and wastewater reclamation operations. Reservoir water is the cheaper source of irrigation, but is often limited and climate sensitive. Treated wastewater is a more reliable alternative for irrigation, but often requires extensive further treatment which can be expensive. We propose combining the operations of a reservoir and a wastewater reclamation plant (WWRP) to augment the supply from the reservoir with reclaimed water for increasing crop yields in water stressed regions. The joint system of reservoir and WWRP is modeled as a multi-objective optimization problem with the double objective of maximizing the crop yield and minimizing total cost, subject to constraints on reservoir storage, spill and release, and capacity of the WWRP. We use the crop growth model Aquacrop, supported by The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), to model crop growth in response to water use. Aquacrop considers the effects of water deficit on crop growth stages, and from there estimates crop yield. We generate results comparing total crop yield under irrigation with water from just the reservoir (which is limited and often interrupted), and yield with water from the joint system (which has the potential of higher supply and greater reliability). We will present results for locations in India and Africa to evaluate the potential of the joint operations for improving food security in those areas for different budgets.

  13. Pollination biology of basal angiosperms (ANITA grade).

    PubMed

    Thien, Leonard B; Bernhardt, Peter; Devall, Margaret S; Chen, Zhi-Duan; Luo, Yi-Bo; Fan, Jian-Hua; Yuan, Liang-Chen; Williams, Joseph H

    2009-01-01

    The first three branches of the angiosperm phylogenetic tree consist of eight families with ∼201 species of plants (the ANITA grade). The oldest flower fossil for the group is dated to the Early Cretaceous (115-125 Mya) and identified to the Nymphaeales. The flowers of extant plants in the ANITA grade are small, and pollen is the edible reward (rarely nectar or starch bodies). Unlike many gymnosperms that secrete "pollination drops," ANITA-grade members examined thus far have a dry-type stigma. Copious secretions of stigmatic fluid are restricted to the Nymphaeales, but this is not nectar. Floral odors, floral thermogenesis (a resource), and colored tepals attract insects in deceit-based pollination syndromes throughout the first three branches of the phylogenetic tree. Self-incompatibility and an extragynoecial compitum occur in some species in the Austrobaileyales. Flies are primary pollinators in six families (10 genera). Beetles are pollinators in five families varying in importance as primary (exclusive) to secondary vectors of pollen. Bees are major pollinators only in the Nymphaeaceae. It is hypothesized that large flowers in Nymphaeaceae are the result of the interaction of heat, floral odors, and colored tepals to trap insects to increase fitness.

  14. Cover Crops

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Cover crops are great tools to improve soil quality and health, and great tools to increase carbon sequestration. They are nutrient management tools that can help scavenge nitrate, cycle nitrogen to the following crop, mine NO3 from groundwater, and increase nitrogen use efficiency of cropping syste...

  15. Organic farming and landscape structure: effects on insect-pollinated plant diversity in intensively managed grasslands.

    PubMed

    Power, Eileen F; Kelly, Daniel L; Stout, Jane C

    2012-01-01

    Parallel declines in insect-pollinated plants and their pollinators have been reported as a result of agricultural intensification. Intensive arable plant communities have previously been shown to contain higher proportions of self-pollinated plants compared to natural or semi-natural plant communities. Though intensive grasslands are widespread, it is not known whether they show similar patterns to arable systems nor whether local and/or landscape factors are influential. We investigated plant community composition in 10 pairs of organic and conventional dairy farms across Ireland in relation to the local and landscape context. Relationships between plant groups and local factors (farming system, position in field and soil parameters) and landscape factors (e.g. landscape complexity) were investigated. The percentage cover of unimproved grassland was used as an inverse predictor of landscape complexity, as it was negatively correlated with habitat-type diversity. Intensive grasslands (organic and conventional) contained more insect-pollinated forbs than non-insect pollinated forbs. Organic field centres contained more insect-pollinated forbs than conventional field centres. Insect-pollinated forb richness in field edges (but not field centres) increased with increasing landscape complexity (% unimproved grassland) within 1, 3, 4 and 5km radii around sites, whereas non-insect pollinated forb richness was unrelated to landscape complexity. Pollination systems within intensive grassland communities may be different from those in arable systems. Our results indicate that organic management increases plant richness in field centres, but that landscape complexity exerts strong influences in both organic and conventional field edges. Insect-pollinated forb richness, unlike that for non-insect pollinated forbs, showed positive relationships to landscape complexity reflecting what has been documented for bees and other pollinators. The insect-pollinated forbs, their

  16. Organic Farming and Landscape Structure: Effects on Insect-Pollinated Plant Diversity in Intensively Managed Grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Power, Eileen F.; Kelly, Daniel L.; Stout, Jane C.

    2012-01-01

    Parallel declines in insect-pollinated plants and their pollinators have been reported as a result of agricultural intensification. Intensive arable plant communities have previously been shown to contain higher proportions of self-pollinated plants compared to natural or semi-natural plant communities. Though intensive grasslands are widespread, it is not known whether they show similar patterns to arable systems nor whether local and/or landscape factors are influential. We investigated plant community composition in 10 pairs of organic and conventional dairy farms across Ireland in relation to the local and landscape context. Relationships between plant groups and local factors (farming system, position in field and soil parameters) and landscape factors (e.g. landscape complexity) were investigated. The percentage cover of unimproved grassland was used as an inverse predictor of landscape complexity, as it was negatively correlated with habitat-type diversity. Intensive grasslands (organic and conventional) contained more insect-pollinated forbs than non-insect pollinated forbs. Organic field centres contained more insect-pollinated forbs than conventional field centres. Insect-pollinated forb richness in field edges (but not field centres) increased with increasing landscape complexity (% unimproved grassland) within 1, 3, 4 and 5km radii around sites, whereas non-insect pollinated forb richness was unrelated to landscape complexity. Pollination systems within intensive grassland communities may be different from those in arable systems. Our results indicate that organic management increases plant richness in field centres, but that landscape complexity exerts strong influences in both organic and conventional field edges. Insect-pollinated forb richness, unlike that for non-insect pollinated forbs, showed positive relationships to landscape complexity reflecting what has been documented for bees and other pollinators. The insect-pollinated forbs, their

  17. Pollination triggers female gametophyte development in immature Nicotiana tabacum flowers

    PubMed Central

    Brito, Michael S.; Bertolino, Lígia T.; Cossalter, Viviane; Quiapim, Andréa C.; DePaoli, Henrique C.; Goldman, Gustavo H.; Teixeira, Simone P.; Goldman, Maria H. S.

    2015-01-01

    In Nicotiana tabacum, female gametophytes are not fully developed at anthesis, but flower buds pollinated 12 h before anthesis produce mature embryo sacs. We investigated several pollination-associated parameters in N. tabacum flower buds to determine the developmental timing of important events in preparation for successful fertilization. First, we performed hand pollinations in flowers from stages 4 to 11 to study at which developmental stage pollination would produce fruits. A Peroxtesmo test was performed to correlate peroxidase activity on the stigma surface, indicative of stigma receptivity, with fruit set. Pollen tube growth and female gametophyte development were microscopically analyzed in pistils of different developmental stages. Fruits were obtained only after pollinations of flower buds at late stage 7 and older; fruit weight and seed germination capacity increased as the developmental stage of the pollinated flower approached anthesis. Despite positive peroxidase activity and pollen tube growth, pistils at stages 5 and 6 were unable to produce fruits. At late stage 7, female gametophytes were undergoing first mitotic division. After 24 h, female gametophytes of unpollinated pistils were still in the end of the first division, whereas those of pollinated pistils showed egg cells. RT-qPCR assay showed that the expression of the NtEC1 gene, a marker of egg cell development, is considerably higher in pollinated late stage 7 ovaries compared with unpollinated ovaries. To test whether ethylene is the signal eliciting female gametophyte maturation, the expression of ACC synthase was examined in unpollinated and pollinated stage 6 and late stage 7 stigmas/styles. Pollination induced NtACS expression in stage 6 pistils, which are unable to produce fruits. Our results show that pollination is a stimulus capable of triggering female gametophyte development in immature tobacco flowers and suggests the existence of a yet undefined signal sensed by the pistil. PMID

  18. Adaptive plasticity of floral display size in animal-pollinated plants

    PubMed Central

    Harder, Lawrence D; Johnson, Steven D

    2005-01-01

    Plants need not participate passively in their own mating, despite their immobility and reliance on pollen vectors. Instead, plants may respond to their recent pollination experience by adjusting the number of flowers that they display simultaneously. Such responsiveness could arise from the dependence of floral display size on the longevity of individual flowers, which varies with pollination rate in many plant species. By hand-pollinating some inflorescences, but not others, we demonstrate plasticity in display size of the orchid Satyrium longicauda. Pollination induced flower wilting, but did not affect the opening of new flowers, so that within a few days pollinated inflorescences displayed fewer flowers than unpollinated inflorescences. During subsequent exposure to intensive natural pollination, pollen removal and receipt increased proportionally with increasing display size, whereas pollen-removal failure and self-pollination accelerated. Such benefit–cost relations allow plants that adjust display size in response to the prevailing pollination rate to increase their attractiveness when pollinators are rare (large displays), or to limit mating costs when pollinators are abundant (small displays). Seen from this perspective, pollination-induced flower wilting serves the entire plant by allowing it to display the number of flowers that is appropriate for the current pollination environment. PMID:16321788

  19. Neonicotinoid Insecticides Alter Induced Defenses and Increase Susceptibility to Spider Mites in Distantly Related Crop Plants

    PubMed Central

    Szczepaniec, Adrianna; Raupp, Michael J.; Parker, Roy D.; Kerns, David; Eubanks, Micky D.

    2013-01-01

    Background Chemical suppression of arthropod herbivores is the most common approach to plant protection. Insecticides, however, can cause unintended, adverse consequences for non-target organisms. Previous studies focused on the effects of pesticides on target and non-target pests, predatory arthropods, and concomitant ecological disruptions. Little research, however, has focused on the direct effects of insecticides on plants. Here we demonstrate that applications of neonicotinoid insecticides, one of the most important insecticide classes worldwide, suppress expression of important plant defense genes, alter levels of phytohormones involved in plant defense, and decrease plant resistance to unsusceptible herbivores, spider mites Tetranychus urticae (Acari: Tetranychidae), in multiple, distantly related crop plants. Methodology/Principal Findings Using cotton (Gossypium hirsutum), corn (Zea mays) and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants, we show that transcription of phenylalanine amonia lyase, coenzyme A ligase, trypsin protease inhibitor and chitinase are suppressed and concentrations of the phytohormone OPDA and salicylic acid were altered by neonicotinoid insecticides. Consequently, the population growth of spider mites increased from 30% to over 100% on neonicotinoid-treated plants in the greenhouse and by nearly 200% in the field experiment. Conclusions/Significance Our findings are important because applications of neonicotinoid insecticides have been associated with outbreaks of spider mites in several unrelated plant species. More importantly, this is the first study to document insecticide-mediated disruption of plant defenses and link it to increased population growth of a non-target herbivore. This study adds to growing evidence that bioactive agrochemicals can have unanticipated ecological effects and suggests that the direct effects of insecticides on plant defenses should be considered when the ecological costs of insecticides are evaluated. PMID

  20. 4% Yield Increase (HH4), All Energy Crops scenario of the 2016 Billion Ton Report

    SciTech Connect

    Davis, Maggie R.; Hellwinkel, Chad; Eaton, Laurence; Langholtz, Matthew H; Turhollow, Anthony; Brandt, Craig; Myers, Aaron

    2016-07-13

    Scientific reason for data generation: to serve as an alternate high-yield scenario for the BT16 volume 1 agricultural scenarios to compare these projections of potential biomass supplies against a reference case (agricultural baseline 10.11578/1337885). The simulation runs from 2015 through 2040; a starting year of 2014 is used but not reported. Date the data set was last modified: 02/02/2016. How each parameter was produced (methods), format, and relationship to other data in the data set: This exogenous price simulations (also referred to as “specified-price” simulations) introduces a farmgate price, and POLYSYS solves for biomass supplies that may be brought to market in response to these prices. In specified-price scenarios, a specified farmgate price is offered constantly in all counties over all years of the simulation. This simulation begins in 2015 with an offered farmgate price for primary crop residues only between 2015 and 2018 and long-term contracts for dedicated crops beginning in 2019. Expected mature energy crop yield grows at a compounding rate of 4% beginning in 2016. The yield growth assumptions are fixed after crops are planted such that yield gains do not apply. Instruments used: Policy Analysis System –POLYSYS (version POLYS2015_V10_alt_JAN22B), an agricultural policy modeling system of U.S. agriculture (crops and livestock), supplied by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Agricultural Policy Analysis Center.

  1. Increasing ascorbate levels in crops to enhance human nutrition and plant abiotic stress tolerance.

    PubMed

    Macknight, Richard C; Laing, William A; Bulley, Sean M; Broad, Ronan C; Johnson, Alexander At; Hellens, Roger P

    2017-02-20

    Ascorbate (or vitamin C) is an essential human micronutrient predominantly obtained from plants. In addition to preventing scurvy, it is now known to have broader roles in human health, for example as a cofactor for enzymes involved in epigenetic programming and as regulator of cellular iron uptake. Furthermore, ascorbate is the major antioxidant in plants and underpins many environmentally induced abiotic stress responses. Biotechnological approaches to enhance the ascorbate content of crops therefore have potential to improve both human health and abiotic stress tolerance of crops. Identifying the genetic basis of ascorbate variation between plant varieties and discovering how some 'super fruits' accumulate extremely high levels of ascorbate should reveal new ways to more effectively manipulate the production of ascorbate in crops.

  2. Increasing public understanding of transgenic crops through the World Wide Web.

    PubMed

    Byrne, Patrick F; Namuth, Deana M; Harrington, Judy; Ward, Sarah M; Lee, Donald J; Hain, Patricia

    2002-07-01

    Transgenic crops among the most controversial "science and society" issues of recent years. Because of the complex techniques involved in creating these crops and the polarized debate over their risks and beliefs, a critical need has arisen for accessible and balanced information on this technology. World Wide Web sites offer several advantages for disseminating information on a fast-changing technical topic, including their global accessibility; and their ability to update information frequently, incorporate multimedia formats, and link to networks of other sites. An alliance between two complementary web sites at Colorado State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln takes advantage of the web environment to help fill the need for public information on crop genetic engineering. This article describes the objectives and features of each site. Viewership data and other feedback have shown these web sites to be effective means of reaching public audiences on a complex scientific topic.

  3. 3% Yield Increase (HH3), All Energy Crops scenario of the 2016 Billion Ton Report

    SciTech Connect

    Davis, Maggie R.; Hellwinkel, Chad; Eaton, Laurence; Langholtz, Matthew H.; Turhollow, Anthony; Brandt, Craig; Myers, Aaron

    2016-07-13

    Scientific reason for data generation: to serve as an alternate high-yield scenario for the BT16 volume 1 agricultural scenarios to compare these projections of potential biomass supplies against a reference case (agricultural baseline 10.11578/1337885). The simulation runs from 2015 through 2040; a starting year of 2014 is used but not reported. Date the data set was last modified: 02/02/2016 How each parameter was produced (methods), format, and relationship to other data in the data set: This exogenous price simulations (also referred to as “specified-price” simulations) introduces a farmgate price, and POLYSYS solves for biomass supplies that may be brought to market in response to these prices. In specified-price scenarios, a specified farmgate price is offered constantly in all counties over all years of the simulation. This simulation begins in 2015 with an offered farmgate price for primary crop residues only between 2015 and 2018 and long-term contracts for dedicated crops beginning in 2019. Expected mature energy crop yield grows at a compounding rate of 3% beginning in 2016. The yield growth assumptions are fixed after crops are planted such that yield gains do not apply to crops already planted, but new plantings do take advantage of the gains in expected yield growth. Instruments used: Policy Analysis System –POLYSYS (version POLYS2015_V10_alt_JAN22B), an agricultural policy modeling system of U.S. agriculture (crops and livestock), supplied by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Agricultural Policy Analysis Center.

  4. 2% Yield Increase (HH2), All Energy Crops scenario of the 2016 Billion Ton Report

    DOE Data Explorer

    Davis, Maggie R. [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)] (ORCID:0000000181319328); Hellwinkel, Chad [University of Tennessee] (ORCID:0000000173085058); Eaton, Laurence [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)] (ORCID:0000000312709626); Langholtz, Matthew H [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)] (ORCID:0000000281537154); Turhollow, Anthony [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)] (ORCID:0000000228159350); Brandt, Craig [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)] (ORCID:0000000214707379); Myers, Aaron [Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)] (ORCID:0000000320373827)

    2016-07-13

    Scientific reason for data generation: to serve as an alternate high-yield scenario for the BT16 volume 1 agricultural scenarios to compare these projections of potential biomass supplies against a reference case (agricultural baseline 10.11578/1337885). The simulation runs from 2015 through 2040; a starting year of 2014 is used but not reported. Date the data set was last modified: 02/02/2016 How each parameter was produced (methods), format, and relationship to other data in the data set: This exogenous price simulations (also referred to as “specified-price” simulations) introduces a farmgate price, and POLYSYS solves for biomass supplies that may be brought to market in response to these prices. In specified-price scenarios, a specified farmgate price is offered constantly in all counties over all years of the simulation. This simulation begins in 2015 with an offered farmgate price for primary crop residues only between 2015 and 2018 and long-term contracts for dedicated crops beginning in 2019. Expected mature energy crop yield grows at a compounding rate of 2% beginning in 2016. The yield growth assumptions are fixed after crops are planted such that yield gains do not apply to crops already planted, but new plantings do take advantage of the gains in expected yield growth. Instruments used: Policy Analysis System –POLYSYS (version POLYS2015_V10_alt_JAN22B), an agricultural policy modeling system of U.S. agriculture (crops and livestock), supplied by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Agricultural Policy Analysis Center.

  5. Investigation of increasing organic loading rate in the co-digestion of energy crops and cow manure mix.

    PubMed

    Comino, Elena; Rosso, Maurizio; Riggio, Vincenzo

    2010-05-01

    The increase of the organic loading rate from 4.45 to 7.78 g-VS/l-d in a one stage, pilot biogas plant was investigated. The experiment was conducted using a co-digestion of cow manure and crop silage mix. The test was divided in three subsequent phases with different feeding ratios. The benefits of optimizing the proportion of crops and loading rate in co-digestion were shown by the fact that during feeding with 70% VS of crop in the feedstock, up to 109% higher specific methane yield was obtained than during the start up phase (only manure). It was also found that further increasing the proportion of crop silage up (to 80%) led to a process breakdown with a decrease of methane proportion down to 48%. On the basis of the present results, it could be possible to obtain an electricity production equal to 15 kwh per 1 t/d. At the end of the monitoring biogas yield was equal to 237 and 249l-CH(4)/kg-VS in the first two phases, and to 61.6l-CH(4)/kg-VS in the third one that led to a process breakdown. The result of this study show, that most agricultural biogas plant have a great potential for a significant capacity increase and technology improvement.

  6. Rice and Bean Targets for Biofortification Combined with High Carotenoid Content Crops Regulate Transcriptional Mechanisms Increasing Iron Bioavailability.

    PubMed

    Dias, Desirrê Morais; de Castro Moreira, Maria Eliza; Gomes, Mariana Juste Contin; Lopes Toledo, Renata Celi; Nutti, Marilia Regini; Pinheiro Sant'Ana, Helena Maria; Martino, Hércia Stampini Duarte

    2015-11-23

    Iron deficiency affects thousands of people worldwide. Biofortification of staple food crops aims to support the reduction of this deficiency. This study evaluates the effect of combinations of common beans and rice, targets for biofortification, with high carotenoid content crops on the iron bioavailability, protein gene expression, and antioxidant effect. Iron bioavailability was measured by the depletion/repletion method. Seven groups were tested (n = 7): Pontal bean (PB); rice + Pontal bean (R + BP); Pontal bean + sweet potato (PB + SP); Pontal bean + pumpkin (PB + P); Pontal bean + rice + sweet potato (PB + R + P); Pontal bean + rice + sweet potato (PB + R + SP); positive control (Ferrous Sulfate). The evaluations included: hemoglobin gain, hemoglobin regeneration efficiency (HRE), gene expression of divalente metal transporter 1 (DMT-1), duodenal citocromo B (DcytB), ferroportin, hephaestin, transferrin and ferritin and total plasma antioxidant capacity (TAC). The test groups, except the PB, showed higher HRE (p < 0.05) than the control. Gene expression of DMT-1, DcytB and ferroportin increased (p < 0.05) in the groups fed with high content carotenoid crops (sweet potato or pumpkin). The PB group presented lower (p < 0.05) TAC than the other groups. The combination of rice and common beans, and those with high carotenoid content crops increased protein gene expression, increasing the iron bioavailability and antioxidant capacity.

  7. Rice and Bean Targets for Biofortification Combined with High Carotenoid Content Crops Regulate Transcriptional Mechanisms Increasing Iron Bioavailability

    PubMed Central

    Dias, Desirrê Morais; de Castro Moreira, Maria Eliza; Gomes, Mariana Juste Contin; Lopes Toledo, Renata Celi; Nutti, Marilia Regini; Pinheiro Sant’Ana, Helena Maria; Martino, Hércia Stampini Duarte

    2015-01-01

    Iron deficiency affects thousands of people worldwide. Biofortification of staple food crops aims to support the reduction of this deficiency. This study evaluates the effect of combinations of common beans and rice, targets for biofortification, with high carotenoid content crops on the iron bioavailability, protein gene expression, and antioxidant effect. Iron bioavailability was measured by the depletion/repletion method. Seven groups were tested (n = 7): Pontal bean (PB); rice + Pontal bean (R + BP); Pontal bean + sweet potato (PB + SP); Pontal bean + pumpkin (PB + P); Pontal bean + rice + sweet potato (PB + R + P); Pontal bean + rice + sweet potato (PB + R + SP); positive control (Ferrous Sulfate). The evaluations included: hemoglobin gain, hemoglobin regeneration efficiency (HRE), gene expression of divalente metal transporter 1 (DMT-1), duodenal citocromo B (DcytB), ferroportin, hephaestin, transferrin and ferritin and total plasma antioxidant capacity (TAC). The test groups, except the PB, showed higher HRE (p < 0.05) than the control. Gene expression of DMT-1, DcytB and ferroportin increased (p < 0.05) in the groups fed with high content carotenoid crops (sweet potato or pumpkin). The PB group presented lower (p < 0.05) TAC than the other groups. The combination of rice and common beans, and those with high carotenoid content crops increased protein gene expression, increasing the iron bioavailability and antioxidant capacity. PMID:26610564

  8. Hummingbird pollination and the diversification of angiosperms: an old and successful association in Gesneriaceae.

    PubMed

    Serrano-Serrano, Martha Liliana; Rolland, Jonathan; Clark, John L; Salamin, Nicolas; Perret, Mathieu

    2017-04-12

    The effects of specific functional groups of pollinators in the diversification of angiosperms are still to be elucidated. We investigated whether the pollination shifts or the specific association with hummingbirds affected the diversification of a highly diverse angiosperm lineage in the Neotropics. We reconstructed a phylogeny of 583 species from the Gesneriaceae family and detected diversification shifts through time, inferred the timing and amount of transitions among pollinator functional groups, and tested the association between hummingbird pollination and speciation and extinction rates. We identified a high frequency of pollinator transitions, including reversals to insect pollination. Diversification rates of the group increased through time since 25 Ma, coinciding with the evolution of hummingbird-adapted flowers and the arrival of hummingbirds in South America. We showed that plants pollinated by hummingbirds have a twofold higher speciation rate compared with plants pollinated by insects, and that transitions among functional groups of pollinators had little impact on the diversification process. We demonstrated that floral specialization on hummingbirds for pollination has triggered rapid diversification in the Gesneriaceae family since the Early Miocene, and that it represents one of the oldest identified plant-hummingbird associations. Biotic drivers of plant diversification in the Neotropics could be more related to this specific type of pollinator (hummingbirds) than to shifts among different functional groups of pollinators.

  9. Tracing impacts of partner abundance in facultative pollination mutualisms: from individuals to populations.

    PubMed

    Geib, Jennifer C; Galen, Candace

    2012-07-01

    Partner abundance affects costs and benefits in obligate mutualisms, but its role in facultative partnerships is less clear. We address this gap in a pollination web consisting of two clovers (Trifolium) that differ in specialization on a bumble bee pollinator Bombus balteatus. We examine how pollination niche breadth affects plant responses to pollinator abundance, comparing early-flowering (specialized) and late-flowering (generalized) cohorts of T. parryi and early T. parryi to T. dasyphyllum, a pollination generalist. Co-pollinators disrupt the link between B. halteatus visitation and pollination rate for both clovers. Only for early-flowering T. parryi do visitation, pollination, and seed set increase with density of B. balteatus. Bumble bee density also alters timing of seed germination in T. parryi, with seeds from plants receiving augmented B. balteatus germinating sooner than seeds of open-pollinated counterparts. Benefits saturate at intermediate bumble bee densities. Despite strong effects of B. balteatus density on individual plant fitness components, population models suggest little impact of B. balteatus density on lamda in T. parryi or T. dasyphyllum. Findings show that functional redundancy in a pollinator guild mediates host-plant responses to partner density. Unexpected effects of pollinator density on life history schedule have implications for recruitment under pollinator decline.

  10. The role of pollinator diversity in the evolution of corolla-shape integration in a pollination-generalist plant clade.

    PubMed

    Gómez, José María; Perfectti, Francisco; Klingenberg, Christian Peter

    2014-08-19

    Flowers of animal-pollinated plants are integrated structures shaped by the action of pollinator-mediated selection. It is widely assumed that pollination specialization increases the magnitude of floral integration. However, empirical evidence is still inconclusive. In this study, we explored the role of pollinator diversity in shaping the evolution of corolla-shape integration in Erysimum, a plant genus with generalized pollination systems. We quantified floral integration in Erysimum using geometric morphometrics and explored its evolution using phylogenetic comparative methods. Corolla-shape integration was low but significantly different from zero in all study species. Spatial autocorrelation and phylogenetic signal in corolla-shape integration were not detected. In addition, integration in Erysimum seems to have evolved in a way that is consistent with Brownian motion, but with frequent convergent evolution. Corolla-shape integration was negatively associated with the number of pollinators visiting the flowers of each Erysimum species. That is, it was lower in those species having a more generalized pollination system. This negative association may occur because the co-occurrence of many pollinators imposes conflicting selection and cancels out any consistent selection on specific floral traits, preventing the evolution of highly integrated flowers.

  11. The role of pollinator diversity in the evolution of corolla-shape integration in a pollination-generalist plant clade

    PubMed Central

    Gómez, José María; Perfectti, Francisco; Klingenberg, Christian Peter

    2014-01-01

    Flowers of animal-pollinated plants are integrated structures shaped by the action of pollinator-mediated selection. It is widely assumed that pollination specialization increases the magnitude of floral integration. However, empirical evidence is still inconclusive. In this study, we explored the role of pollinator diversity in shaping the evolution of corolla-shape integration in Erysimum, a plant genus with generalized pollination systems. We quantified floral integration in Erysimum using geometric morphometrics and explored its evolution using phylogenetic comparative methods. Corolla-shape integration was low but significantly different from zero in all study species. Spatial autocorrelation and phylogenetic signal in corolla-shape integration were not detected. In addition, integration in Erysimum seems to have evolved in a way that is consistent with Brownian motion, but with frequent convergent evolution. Corolla-shape integration was negatively associated with the number of pollinators visiting the flowers of each Erysimum species. That is, it was lower in those species having a more generalized pollination system. This negative association may occur because the co-occurrence of many pollinators imposes conflicting selection and cancels out any consistent selection on specific floral traits, preventing the evolution of highly integrated flowers. PMID:25002702

  12. Can reducing tillage and increasing crop diversity benefit grain and forage production?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Benefits of reduced tillage and diverse rotation cropping systems include reversing soil C loss, mitigating greenhouse gas production, and improving soil health. However, adoption of these strategies is lagging, particularly in the upper Midwest, due to a perception that reduced tillage reduces cro...

  13. Cover crops alter the soil microbial community and increase potato tuber yield and quality

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    An on-going study at a commercial farm operation in the San Luis Valley, CO is examining the effect of various summer cover crops (mustard, canola, sorghum-sudangrass, and a wet fallow control) on potato tuber yield and quality. In four of the five years, potato tuber yield and quality has shown si...

  14. Replacing fallow with forage triticale in dryland crop rotations increases profitability

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A common dryland rotational cropping system in the semi-arid central Great Plains of the U.S. is wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)-corn (Zea mays L.)-fallow (WCF). However, the 12-month fallow period following corn production has been shown to be relatively inefficient in storing precipitation during the...

  15. Cover crops increase foraging activity of omnivorous predators in seed patches and facilitate weed biological control

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Omnivores are important consumers of both weed seeds and insect pests, and habitat provisions like cover crops are suggested to promote their ecosystem services in agricultural systems. However, few studies establish direct links between cover, food, and pest suppression because they are entangled a...

  16. Biosolids amendment dramatically increases sequestration of crop residue-carbon in agricultural soils in western Illinois

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Release of carbon dioxide through microbial respiration from the world’s crop residues (non-edible plant parts left in the field after harvest) represents an important form of carbon transfer from terrestrial ecosystems to the atmosphere. We hypothesized that alleviation of environmental stress (moi...

  17. Change of floral orientation within an inflorescence affects pollinator behavior and pollination efficiency in a bee-pollinated plant, Corydalis sheareri.

    PubMed

    Wang, Hui; Tie, Shuang; Yu, Dan; Guo, You-Hao; Yang, Chun-Feng

    2014-01-01

    Vertical raceme or spike inflorescences that are bee-pollinated tend to present their flowers horizontally. Horizontal presentation of flowers is hypothesized to enhance pollinator recognition and pollination precision, and it may also ensure greater consistency of pollinator movement on inflorescences. We tested the hypotheses using bee-pollinated Corydalis sheareri which has erect inflorescences consisting of flowers with horizontal orientation. We altered the orientation of individual flowers and prepared three types of inflorescences: (i) unmanipulated inflorescences with horizontal-facing flowers, (ii) inflorescences with flowers turned upward, and (iii) inflorescences with flowers turned downward. We compared number of inflorescences approached and visited, number of successive probes within an inflorescence, the direction percentage of vertical movement on inflorescences, efficiency of pollen removal and seed production per inflorescence. Deviation from horizontal orientation decreased both approaches and visits by leafcutter bees and bumble bees to inflorescences. Changes in floral orientation increased the proportion of downward movements by leafcutter bees and decreased the consistency of pollinator movement on inflorescences. In addition, pollen removal per visit and seed production per inflorescence also declined with changes of floral orientation. In conclusion, floral orientation seems more or less optimal as regards bee behavior and pollen transfer for Corydalis sheareri. A horizontal orientation may be under selection of pollinators and co-adapt with other aspects of the inflorescence and floral traits.

  18. Pollinators of Richardia grandiflora (Rubiaceae): an Important Ruderal Species for Bees.

    PubMed

    Cruz, R M; Martins, C F

    2015-02-01

    Ruderal species may provide pollen and nectar to maintain the pollinators of crops in periods of floral resource shortage. The knowledge about the floral biology of these plant species and their interaction with insects is important for management strategies of agricultural systems. The study was carried out at an experimental research station in two different periods (August 2010-April 2011 and August 2012-January 2013). Floral biology was studied, and the reproductive system and reproductive efficacy (RE) were analyzed using controlled pollination experiments. Furthermore, floral visitors and pollination were identified and quantified. Reproductive success obtained in the open pollination and cross-pollination experiments was higher than those obtained in spontaneous self, hand self, and wind pollination. Richardia grandiflora bloomed throughout the experimental period, and flowers were visited by Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera, and Lepidoptera, which were observed foraging for pollen and/or nectar. Among the floral visitors, bees were the richest and most frequent group and often contacted anthers and stigmas during visits. Africanized honeybees touched the floral reproductive structures in all visits, and their frequency may be related to changes in the reproductive efficacy between the study periods. Pollinator species of crops cultivated at the experimental research station were frequent bee visitors of R. grandiflora. We demonstrated that R. grandiflora requires cross-pollination and biotic pollen vectors. Among floral visitors, bees are the main pollinators, especially the Africanized honeybees. R. grandiflora can be considered an important ruderal species for maintaining bee pollinator populations at the study site, providing resources during the period that crops are not blooming.

  19. Eco-efficient approaches to land management: a case for increased integration of crop and animal production systems.

    PubMed

    Wilkins, R J

    2008-02-12

    Eco-efficiency is concerned with the efficient and sustainable use of resources in farm production and land management. It can be increased either by altering the management of individual crop and livestock enterprises or by altering the land-use system. This paper concentrates on the effects of crop sequence and rotation on soil fertility and nutrient use efficiency. The potential importance of mixed farming involving both crops and livestock is stressed, particularly when the systems incorporate biological nitrogen fixation and manure recycling. There is, however, little evidence that the trend in developed countries to farm-level specialization is being reduced. In some circumstances legislation to restrict diffuse pollution may provide incentives for more diverse eco-efficient farming and in other circumstances price premia for produce from eco-efficient systems, such as organic farming, and subsidies for the provision of environmental services may provide economic incentives for the adoption of such systems. However, change is likely to be most rapid where the present systems lead to obvious reductions in the productive potential of the land, such as in areas experiencing salinization. In other situations, there is promise that eco-efficiency could be increased on an area-wide basis by the establishment of linkages between farms of contrasting type, particularly between specialist crop and livestock farms, with contracts for the transfer of manures and, to a lesser extent, feeds.

  20. Mapping large-area landscape suitability for honey bees to assess the influence of land-use change on sustainability of national pollination services.

    PubMed

    Gallant, Alisa L; Euliss, Ned H; Browning, Zac

    2014-01-01

    Pollination is a critical ecosystem service affected by various drivers of land-use change, such as policies and programs aimed at land resources, market values for crop commodities, local land-management decisions, and shifts in climate. The United States is the world's most active market for pollination services by honey bees, and the Northern Great Plains provide the majority of bee colonies used to meet the Nation's annual pollination needs. Legislation requiring increased production of biofuel crops, increasing commodity prices for crops of little nutritional value for bees in the Northern Great Plains, and reductions in government programs aimed at promoting land conservation are converging to alter the regional landscape in ways that challenge beekeepers to provide adequate numbers of hives for national pollination services. We developed a spatially explicit model that identifies sites with the potential to support large apiaries based on local-scale land-cover requirements for honey bees. We produced maps of potential apiary locations for North Dakota, a leading producer of honey, based on land-cover maps representing (1) an annual time series compiled from existing operational products and (2) a realistic scenario of land change. We found that existing land-cover products lack sufficient local accuracy to monitor actual changes in landscape suitability for honey bees, but our model proved informative for evaluating effects on suitability under scenarios of land change. The scenario we implemented was aligned with current drivers of land-use change in the Northern Great Plains and highlighted the importance of conservation lands in landscapes intensively and extensively managed for crops.

  1. Mapping Large-Area Landscape Suitability for Honey Bees to Assess the Influence of Land-Use Change on Sustainability of National Pollination Services

    PubMed Central

    Gallant, Alisa L.; Euliss, Ned H.; Browning, Zac

    2014-01-01

    Pollination is a critical ecosystem service affected by various drivers of land-use change, such as policies and programs aimed at land resources, market values for crop commodities, local land-management decisions, and shifts in climate. The United States is the world's most active market for pollination services by honey bees, and the Northern Great Plains provide the majority of bee colonies used to meet the Nation's annual pollination needs. Legislation requiring increased production of biofuel crops, increasing commodity prices for crops of little nutritional value for bees in the Northern Great Plains, and reductions in government programs aimed at promoting land conservation are converging to alter the regional landscape in ways that challenge beekeepers to provide adequate numbers of hives for national pollination services. We developed a spatially explicit model that identifies sites with the potential to support large apiaries based on local-scale land-cover requirements for honey bees. We produced maps of potential apiary locations for North Dakota, a leading producer of honey, based on land-cover maps representing (1) an annual time series compiled from existing operational products and (2) a realistic scenario of land change. We found that existing land-cover products lack sufficient local accuracy to monitor actual changes in landscape suitability for honey bees, but our model proved informative for evaluating effects on suitability under scenarios of land change. The scenario we implemented was aligned with current drivers of land-use change in the Northern Great Plains and highlighted the importance of conservation lands in landscapes intensively and extensively managed for crops. PMID:24919181

  2. Pollinator coupling can induce synchronized flowering in different plant species.

    PubMed

    Tachiki, Yuuya; Iwasa, Yoh; Satake, Akiko

    2010-11-21

    Synchronous and intermittent plant reproduction has been identified widely in diverse biomes. While synchronous flowering is normally observed within the same species, different species also flower in synchrony. A well-known example of interspecific synchrony is "general flowering" in tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia. Environmental factors, such as low temperature and drought, have been considered as major trigger of general flowering. However, environmental cues are not enough to explain general flowering because some trees do not flower even when they encounter favorable environmental cues. We propose alternative explanation of general flowering; "pollinator coupling". When species flower synchronously, the elevated pollen and nectar resource may attract increased numbers of generalist pollinators, with a concomitant enhancement of pollination success (facilitation). However, under these circumstances, plants of different species may compete with one another for limited pollinator services, resulting in declines in pollination success for individual species (competition). Here, we present a model describing resource dynamics of individual trees serviced by generalist pollinators. We analyze combinations of conditions under which plants reproduce intermittently with synchronization within species, and/or (sometimes) between different species. We show that plants synchronize flowering when the number of pollinators attracted to an area increases at an accelerating rate with increasing numbers of flowers. In this case, facilitation of flowering by different species exceeds the negative influence of interspecific plant competition. We demonstrate mathematically that co-flowering of different species occurs under a much narrower range of circumstances than intraspecific co-flowering.

  3. Variation in pollination: causes and consequences for plant reproduction.

    PubMed

    Richards, Shane A; Williams, Neal M; Harder, Lawrence D

    2009-09-01

    Pollen dispersal by animals varies extensively because of differences in pollinator visitation rates among plants, dissimilar pollination by the various pollinators that visit individual plants, and stochastic variation in deposition as an individual pollinator disperses a plant's pollen to subsequently visited recipient flowers. Such variation reduces expected female and male success if seed production decelerates with increasing pollen receipt, because less than average receipt diminishes mean seed production more than copious pollination increases it (Jensen's inequality). We report empirical studies of the nature and magnitude of pollen dispersal variance, which provide the basis for a numerical model of the consequences of dispersal for expected seed production. Model fitting revealed that dispersal of Brassica napus pollen by bumblebees and especially butterflies exhibited much more variation than is expected of a binomial process and was best modeled as a beta-binomial process with a constant mean. Overdispersion arose primarily during pollen dispersal by individual insects, since differences between individuals of the same pollinator type were limited. Our model revealed variance limitation as a previously unrecognized, substantial, and ubiquitous component of pollen limitation of seed production. Variance limitation should select for floral traits that increase pollinator visitation, reduce dispersal variance, or reduce the postpollination nonlinearities that cause Jensen's inequality.

  4. Disentangling multiple drivers of pollination in a landscape-scale experiment.

    PubMed

    Schüepp, Christof; Herzog, Felix; Entling, Martin H

    2014-01-07

    Animal pollination is essential for the reproductive success of many wild and crop plants. Loss and isolation of (semi-)natural habitats in agricultural landscapes can cause declines of plants and pollinators and endanger pollination services. We investigated the independent effects of these drivers on pollination of young cherry trees in a landscape-scale experiment. We included (i) isolation of study trees from other cherry trees (up to 350 m), (ii) the amount of cherry trees in the landscape, (iii) the isolation from other woody habitats (up to 200 m) and (iv) the amount of woody habitats providing nesting and floral resources for pollinators. At the local scale, we considered effects of (v) cherry flower density and (vi) heterospecific flower density. Pollinators visited flowers more often in landscapes with high amount of woody habitat and at sites with lower isolation from the next cherry tree. Fruit set was reduced by isolation from the next cherry tree and by a high local density of heterospecific flowers but did not directly depend on pollinator visitation. These results reveal the importance of considering the plant's need for conspecific pollen and its pollen competition with co-flowering species rather than focusing only on pollinators' habitat requirements and flower visitation. It proved to be important to disentangle habitat isolation from habitat loss, local from landscape-scale effects, and direct effects of pollen availability on fruit set from indirect effects via pollinator visitation to understand the delivery of an agriculturally important ecosystem service.

  5. Pollination syndromes in African Marantaceae

    PubMed Central

    Ley, Alexandra C.; Claßen-Bockhoff, Regine

    2009-01-01

    Background and Aims The Marantaceae (550 spp.) is the most derived family in the order Zingiberales and exhibits a complex explosive pollination mechanism. To understand the evolutionary significance of this unique process of pollen transfer, comparative morphological and ecological studies were conducted in Gabon. Methods During a total stay of 11 months, 31 species of Marantaceae were investigated at different sites in Gabon. The study included analyses of floral diversity, observations on the pollinator spectrum as well as ecological measurements (e.g. nectar sugar concentration and volume). Key Results Analyses reveal five flower types based on flower size and pigmentation, spatial arrangement of the floral tube and presence/absence of nectar guides and conspicuous outer staminodes. Each type is associated with a specific functional pollinator group leading to the description of distinct pollination syndromes. The ‘small (horizontal)’ flowers are predominantly pollinated by small bees (Thrinchostoma spp., Allodapula ornaticeps), the ‘large (horizontal)’ and ‘medium-sized (horizontal)’ flowers by medium-sized bees (Amegilla vivida, Thrinchostoma bicometes), the ‘locked (horizontal)’ flowers by large bees (Xylocopa nigrita, X. varipes) and the ‘(large) vertical’ flowers by sunbirds. Conclusions The longevity of Marantaceae individuals and the omnipresence of their pollinators allowed the specialization to a given functional pollinator group. Intermediate ecological values, however, make occasional pollinator overlaps possible, indicating potential pathways of pollinator shifts. Similar radiation tendencies observed on other continents hint at similar selective pressures and evolutionary constraints. PMID:19443460

  6. Global market integration increases likelihood that a future African Green Revolution could increase crop land use and CO2 emissions

    PubMed Central

    Hertel, Thomas W.; Ramankutty, Navin; Baldos, Uris Lantz C.

    2014-01-01

    There has been a resurgence of interest in the impacts of agricultural productivity on land use and the environment. At the center of this debate is the assertion that agricultural innovation is land sparing. However, numerous case studies and global empirical studies have found little evidence of higher yields being accompanied by reduced area. We find that these studies overlook two crucial factors: estimation of a true counterfactual scenario and a tendency to adopt a regional, rather than a global, perspective. This paper introduces a general framework for analyzing the impacts of regional and global innovation on long run crop output, prices, land rents, land use, and associated CO2 emissions. In so doing, it facilitates a reconciliation of the apparently conflicting views of the impacts of agricultural productivity growth on global land use and environmental quality. Our historical analysis demonstrates that the Green Revolution in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East was unambiguously land and emissions sparing, compared with a counterfactual world without these innovations. In contrast, we find that the environmental impacts of a prospective African Green Revolution are potentially ambiguous. We trace these divergent outcomes to relative differences between the innovating region and the rest of the world in yields, emissions efficiencies, cropland supply response, and intensification potential. Globalization of agriculture raises the potential for adverse environmental consequences. However, if sustained for several decades, an African Green Revolution will eventually become land sparing. PMID:25201962

  7. Global market integration increases likelihood that a future African Green Revolution could increase crop land use and CO2 emissions.

    PubMed

    Hertel, Thomas W; Ramankutty, Navin; Baldos, Uris Lantz C

    2014-09-23

    There has been a resurgence of interest in the impacts of agricultural productivity on land use and the environment. At the center of this debate is the assertion that agricultural innovation is land sparing. However, numerous case studies and global empirical studies have found little evidence of higher yields being accompanied by reduced area. We find that these studies overlook two crucial factors: estimation of a true counterfactual scenario and a tendency to adopt a regional, rather than a global, perspective. This paper introduces a general framework for analyzing the impacts of regional and global innovation on long run crop output, prices, land rents, land use, and associated CO2 emissions. In so doing, it facilitates a reconciliation of the apparently conflicting views of the impacts of agricultural productivity growth on global land use and environmental quality. Our historical analysis demonstrates that the Green Revolution in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East was unambiguously land and emissions sparing, compared with a counterfactual world without these innovations. In contrast, we find that the environmental impacts of a prospective African Green Revolution are potentially ambiguous. We trace these divergent outcomes to relative differences between the innovating region and the rest of the world in yields, emissions efficiencies, cropland supply response, and intensification potential. Globalization of agriculture raises the potential for adverse environmental consequences. However, if sustained for several decades, an African Green Revolution will eventually become land sparing.

  8. The importance of plant diversity in maintaining the pollinator bee, Eulaema nigrita (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in sweet passion fruit fields.

    PubMed

    da Silva, Cláudia Inês; Bordon, Natali Gomes; da Rocha Filho, Léo Correia; Garófalo, Carlos Alberto

    2012-12-01

    The euglossine bee Eulaema nigrita plays an important role for the pollination of native and economically important plants, such as the sweet passion-fruit Passiflora alata. E. nigrita uniquely collects the nectar from the flowers of P. alata, nevertheless, it needs to visit other plants to collect pollen, nectar and other resources for its survival. There are two methods to identify the species of plants used by bees in their diet: by direct observation of the bees in the flowers, and through identification of pollen grains present in brood cells, feces, or in the bees' body. In order to identify the other plants that E. nigrita visits, we analyzed samples of pollen grains removed from the bee's body in the course of the flowering period of P. alata. Among our results, the flora visited by E. nigrita comprised 40 species from 32 genera and 19 families, some of them used as a pollen source or just nectar. In spite of being a polyletic species, E. nigrita exhibited preference for some plant species with poricidal anthers. P. alata which has high sugar concentration nectar was the main source of nectar for this bee in the studied area. Nonetheless, the pollinic analysis indicated that others nectariferous plant species are necessary to keep the populations of E. nigrita. Studies such as this one are important since they indicate supplementary pollen-nectar sources which must be used for the conservation of the populations of E. nigrita in crops neighbouring areas. In the absence of pollinators, growers are forced to pay for hand pollination, which increases production costs; keeping pollinators in cultivated areas is still more feasible to ensure sweet passion fruit production.

  9. Commercial bumblebee hives to assess an anthropogenic environment for pollinator support: a case study in the region of Ghent (Belgium).

    PubMed

    Parmentier, Laurian; Meeus, Ivan; Cheroutre, Lore; Mommaerts, Veerle; Louwye, Stephen; Smagghe, Guy

    2014-04-01

    Anthropogenic changes of the environment influence the distribution and abundance of pollinators such as bumblebees and have been proposed as one of the main causes in their worldwide decline. In order to evaluate the impact of expanding anthropogenic landscapes on supporting pollinator potential, reliable tools are needed. Bombus terrestris is one of the most abundant bumblebee species in Europe, and these bumblebees are known as generalist pollinators of not only wild flowers in nature but also of crops in agriculture. For more than two decades, these bumblebees have been commercially mass reared for biological pollination in greenhouses. In this project, we placed commercial hives of the bumblebee B. terrestris containing one queen and 40 workers, in three different locations in the region of Ghent (Belgium), and the performance of these hives was followed during a 4-week period in spring 2012. In parallel, we determined the floral richness and diversity index in the chosen study sites. The sites consisted of a rich urban environment with patchy green areas opposed to an urban environment with poor landscape metrics; a third rural study site showed average positive landscape metrics. The results demonstrated that the hive biomass and numbers of workers increased significantly in the rich compared to the poor environment, providing a mechanism to discriminate between study sites. In addition, the bumblebee-collected pollen showed that the flowering plants Salix spp. and Rosaceae/Prunus spp. are dominant food sources in all anthropogenic environments during early spring. Finally, the results are discussed in relation to the optimization of the experimental setup and to the use of commercial bumblebee hives in assessing local pollinator support within any given environment.

  10. Effective pollinators of Asian sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera): contemporary pollinators may not reflect the historical pollination syndrome

    PubMed Central

    Li, Jiao-Kun; Huang, Shuang-Quan

    2009-01-01

    Background and Aims If stabilizing selection by pollinators is a prerequisite for pollinator-mediated floral evolution, spatiotemporal variation in the pollinator assemblage may confuse the plant–pollinator interaction in a given species. Here, effective pollinators in a living fossil plant Nelumbo nucifera (Nelumbonaceae) were examined to test whether beetles are major pollinators as predicted by its pollination syndrome. Methods Pollinators of N. nucifera were investigated in 11 wild populations and one cultivated population, and pollination experiments were conducted to examine the pollinating role of two major pollinators (bees and beetles) in three populations. Key Results Lotus flowers are protogynous, bowl shaped and without nectar. The fragrant flowers can be self-heating during anthesis and produce around 1 million pollen grains per flower. It was found that bees and flies were the most frequent flower visitors in wild populations, contributing on average 87·9 and 49·4 % of seed set in Mishan and Lantian, respectively. Beetles were only found in one wild population and in the cultivated population, but the pollinator exclusion experiments showed that beetles were effective pollinators of Asian sacred lotus. Conclusions This study indicated that in their pollinating role, beetles, probable pollinators for this thermoregulating plant, had been replaced by some generalist insects in the wild. This finding implies that contemporary pollinators may not reflect the pollination syndrome. PMID:19617594

  11. Multiple criteria for evaluating pollinator performance in highbush blueberry (Ericales: Ericaceae) agroecosystems.

    PubMed

    Rogers, Shelley R; Tarpy, David R; Burrack, Hannah J

    2013-12-01

    Numerous bee species provide pollination services in agricultural ecosystems. Evaluating a pollinator's performance with regard to a crop is an important step in attributing pollination services and predicting how changes in a bee community or foraging environment will affect those services. We used multiple criteria to evaluate pollinators of North Carolina highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum L., agroecosystems. For five groups of bees (Apis mellifera L., Bombus spp., Habropoda laboriosa F., small native bees, and Xylocopa virginica L.), we measured forager abundance through transect observations, quantified per-visit efficiency as viable seed set resulting from a single visit, and analyzed bee presence in different weather conditions. We also considered two other criteria affecting pollinator performance-visitation rate and interspecific influence. A. mellifera was the most abundant bee in the majority of our survey sites, yet had low per-visit efficiency and reduced foraging activity in inclement weather. Small native bees were highly efficient pollinators. Their visits resulted in nearly twice as many seeds as A. mellifera or H. laboriosa. Bombus spp., H. laboriosa, and small native bees were more resilient to fluctuations in temperature, wind speed, and solar radiation than A. mellifera. Although nectar-robbing X. virginica contributed to little pollination through direct flower visits, their presence within the crop impacts the behavior and performance of other individuals. Underscoring the importance of evaluating pollinator performance via multiple criteria, our results show that bee groups contribute to pollination in different ways. These differences may provide functional complementarity and stability of pollination services to agricultural systems.

  12. Thrips pollination of Mesozoic gymnosperms.

    PubMed

    Peñalver, Enrique; Labandeira, Conrad C; Barrón, Eduardo; Delclòs, Xavier; Nel, Patricia; Nel, André; Tafforeau, Paul; Soriano, Carmen

    2012-05-29

    Within modern gymnosperms, conifers and Ginkgo are exclusively wind pollinated whereas many gnetaleans and cycads are insect pollinated. For cycads, thrips are specialized pollinators. We report such a specialized pollination mode from Early Cretaceous amber of Spain, wherein four female thrips representing a genus and two species in the family Melanthripidae were covered by abundant Cycadopites pollen grains. These females bear unique ring setae interpreted as specialized structures for pollen grain collection, functionally equivalent to the hook-tipped sensilla and plumose setae on the bodies of bees. The most parsimonious explanation for this structure is parental food provisioning for larvae, indicating subsociality. This association provides direct evidence of specialized collection and transportation of pollen grains and likely gymnosperm pollination by 110-105 million years ago, possibly considerably earlier.

  13. Thrips pollination of Mesozoic gymnosperms

    PubMed Central

    Peñalver, Enrique; Labandeira, Conrad C.; Barrón, Eduardo; Delclòs, Xavier; Nel, Patricia; Nel, André; Tafforeau, Paul; Soriano, Carmen

    2012-01-01

    Within modern gymnosperms, conifers and Ginkgo are exclusively wind pollinated whereas many gnetaleans and cycads are insect pollinated. For cycads, thrips are specialized pollinators. We report such a specialized pollination mode from Early Cretaceous amber of Spain, wherein four female thrips representing a genus and two species in the family Melanthripidae were covered by abundant Cycadopites pollen grains. These females bear unique ring setae interpreted as specialized structures for pollen grain collection, functionally equivalent to the hook-tipped sensilla and plumose setae on the bodies of bees. The most parsimonious explanation for this structure is parental food provisioning for larvae, indicating subsociality. This association provides direct evidence of specialized collection and transportation of pollen grains and likely gymnosperm pollination by 110–105 million years ago, possibly considerably earlier. PMID:22615414

  14. A pollinators' eye view of a shelter mimicry system

    PubMed Central

    Vereecken, Nicolas J.; Dorchin, Achik; Dafni, Amots; Hötling, Susann; Schulz, Stefan; Watts, Stella

    2013-01-01

    Background and Aims ‘Human-red’ flowers are traditionally considered to be rather unpopular with bees, yet some allogamous species in the section Oncocyclus (genus Iris, Iridaceae) have evolved specialized interactions with their pollinators, a narrow taxonomic range of male solitary bees. The dark-red, tubular flowers of these irises are nectarless but provide protective shelters (i.e. a non-nutritive form of reward) primarily to male solitary bees (Apidae, Eucerini) that pollinate the flowers while looking for a shelter. An earlier study on orchids suggested that species pollinated predominantly by male solitary bees produce significantly larger amounts and larger numbers of different n-alkenes (unsaturated cuticular hydrocarbons). Whether or not this also applies to the Oncocyclus irises and whether pollinators are attracted by specific colours or scents of these flowers is unknown. Methods Using Iris atropurpurea, recording of pollinator preferences for shelters with different spatial parameters was combined with analyses of floral colours (by spectrophotometry) and scents (by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry) to test the hypotheses that (a) pollinators significantly prefer floral tunnels facing the rising sun (floral heat-reward hypothesis), and that (b) flowers pollinated predominantly by male solitary bees produce significantly larger amounts and larger numbers of unsaturated cuticular hydrocarbons (n-alkenes) in their floral scent (preadaptation to sexual-deception hypothesis). Key Results Male bees do not significantly prefer shelters facing the rising sun or with the presence of high absolute/relative amounts and numbers of n-alkenes in the floral scent. Conclusions The results suggest that the flowers of I. atropurpurea probably evolved by pollinator-mediated selection acting primarily on floral colours to mimic large achromatic (‘bee-black’) protective shelters used preferentially by male solitary bees, and that pollinator visits are

  15. Effects of pollination limitation and seed predation on female reproductive success of a deceptive orchid.

    PubMed

    Walsh, Ryan P; Arnold, Paige M; Michaels, Helen J

    2014-06-09

    For many species of conservation significance, multiple factors limit reproduction. This research examines the contributions of plant height, number of flowers, number of stems, pollen limitation and seed predation to female reproductive success in the deceit-pollinated orchid, Cypripedium candidum. The deceptive pollination strategy employed by many orchids often results in high levels of pollen limitation. While increased floral display size may attract pollinators, C. candidum's multiple, synchronously flowering stems could promote selfing and also increase attack by weevil seed predators. To understand the joint impacts of mutualists and antagonists, we examined pollen limitation, seed predation and the effects of pollen source over two flowering seasons (2009 and 2011) in Ohio. In 2009, 36 pairs of plants size-matched by flower number, receiving either supplemental hand or open pollination, were scored for fruit maturation, mass of seeds and seed predation. Pollen supplementation increased proportion of flowers maturing into fruit, with 87 % fruit set when hand pollinated compared with 46 % for naturally pollinated flowers. Inflorescence height had a strong effect, as taller inflorescences had higher initial fruit set, while shorter stems had higher predation. Seed predation was seen in 73 % of all fruits. A parallel 2011 experiment that included a self-pollination treatment and excluded seed predators found initial and final fruit set were higher in the self and outcross pollination treatments than in the open-pollinated treatment. However, seed mass was higher in both open pollinated and outcross pollination treatments compared with hand self-pollinated. We found greater female reproductive success for taller flowering stems that simultaneously benefited from increased pollination and reduced seed predation. These studies suggest that this species is under strong reinforcing selection to increase allocation to flowering stem height. Our results may help

  16. Effects of pollination limitation and seed predation on female reproductive success of a deceptive orchid

    PubMed Central

    Walsh, Ryan P.; Arnold, Paige M.; Michaels, Helen J.

    2014-01-01

    For many species of conservation significance, multiple factors limit reproduction. This research examines the contributions of plant height, number of flowers, number of stems, pollen limitation and seed predation to female reproductive success in the deceit-pollinated orchid, Cypripedium candidum. The deceptive pollination strategy employed by many orchids often results in high levels of pollen limitation. While increased floral display size may attract pollinators, C. candidum's multiple, synchronously flowering stems could promote selfing and also increase attack by weevil seed predators. To understand the joint impacts of mutualists and antagonists, we examined pollen limitation, seed predation and the effects of pollen source over two flowering seasons (2009 and 2011) in Ohio. In 2009, 36 pairs of plants size-matched by flower number, receiving either supplemental hand or open pollination, were scored for fruit maturation, mass of seeds and seed predation. Pollen supplementation increased proportion of flowers maturing into fruit, with 87 % fruit set when hand pollinated compared with 46 % for naturally pollinated flowers. Inflorescence height had a strong effect, as taller inflorescences had higher initial fruit set, while shorter stems had higher predation. Seed predation was seen in 73 % of all fruits. A parallel 2011 experiment that included a self-pollination treatment and excluded seed predators found initial and final fruit set were higher in the self and outcross pollination treatments than in the open-pollinated treatment. However, seed mass was higher in both open pollinated and outcross pollination treatments compared with hand self-pollinated. We found greater female reproductive success for taller flowering stems that simultaneously benefited from increased pollination and reduced seed predation. These studies suggest that this species is under strong reinforcing selection to increase allocation to flowering stem height. Our results may help

  17. Pervasiveness of Parasites in Pollinators

    PubMed Central

    Evison, Sophie E. F.; Roberts, Katherine E.; Laurenson, Lynn; Pietravalle, Stéphane; Hui, Jeffrey; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C.; Smith, Judith E.; Budge, Giles; Hughes, William O. H.

    2012-01-01

    Many pollinator populations are declining, with large economic and ecological implications. Parasites are known to be an important factor in the some of the population declines of honey bees and bumblebees, but little is known about the parasites afflicting most other pollinators, or the extent of interspecific transmission or vectoring of parasites. Here we carry out a preliminary screening of pollinators (honey bees, five species of bumblebee, three species of wasp, four species of hoverfly and three genera of other bees) in the UK for parasites. We used molecular methods to screen for six honey bee viruses, Ascosphaera fungi, Microsporidia, and Wolbachia intracellular bacteria. We aimed simply to detect the presence of the parasites, encompassing vectoring as well as actual infections. Many pollinators of all types were positive for Ascosphaera fungi, while Microsporidia were rarer, being most frequently found in bumblebees. We also detected that most pollinators were positive for Wolbachia, most probably indicating infection with this intracellular symbiont, and raising the possibility that it may be an important factor in influencing host sex ratios or fitness in a diversity of pollinators. Importantly, we found that about a third of bumblebees (Bombus pascuorum and Bombus terrestris) and a third of wasps (Vespula vulgaris), as well as all honey bees, were positive for deformed wing virus, but that this virus was not present in other pollinators. Deformed wing virus therefore does not appear to be a general parasite of pollinators, but does interact significantly with at least three species of bumblebee and wasp. Further work is needed to establish the identity of some of the parasites, their spatiotemporal variation, and whether they are infecting the various pollinator species or being vectored. However, these results provide a first insight into the diversity, and potential exchange, of parasites in pollinator communities. PMID:22347356

  18. Pervasiveness of parasites in pollinators.

    PubMed

    Evison, Sophie E F; Roberts, Katherine E; Laurenson, Lynn; Pietravalle, Stéphane; Hui, Jeffrey; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C; Smith, Judith E; Budge, Giles; Hughes, William O H

    2012-01-01

    Many pollinator populations are declining, with large economic and ecological implications. Parasites are known to be an important factor in the some of the population declines of honey bees and bumblebees, but little is known about the parasites afflicting most other pollinators, or the extent of interspecific transmission or vectoring of parasites. Here we carry out a preliminary screening of pollinators (honey bees, five species of bumblebee, three species of wasp, four species of hoverfly and three genera of other bees) in the UK for parasites. We used molecular methods to screen for six honey bee viruses, Ascosphaera fungi, Microsporidia, and Wolbachia intracellular bacteria. We aimed simply to detect the presence of the parasites, encompassing vectoring as well as actual infections. Many pollinators of all types were positive for Ascosphaera fungi, while Microsporidia were rarer, being most frequently found in bumblebees. We also detected that most pollinators were positive for Wolbachia, most probably indicating infection with this intracellular symbiont, and raising the possibility that it may be an important factor in influencing host sex ratios or fitness in a diversity of pollinators. Importantly, we found that about a third of bumblebees (Bombus pascuorum and Bombus terrestris) and a third of wasps (Vespula vulgaris), as well as all honey bees, were positive for deformed wing virus, but that this virus was not present in other pollinators. Deformed wing virus therefore does not appear to be a general parasite of pollinators, but does interact significantly with at least three species of bumblebee and wasp. Further work is needed to establish the identity of some of the parasites, their spatiotemporal variation, and whether they are infecting the various pollinator species or being vectored. However, these results provide a first insight into the diversity, and potential exchange, of parasites in pollinator communities.

  19. Competition alters life history and increases the relative fecundity of crop-wild radish hybrids (Raphanus spp.).

    PubMed

    Campbell, Lesley G; Snow, Allison A

    2007-01-01

    The evolutionary impact of crop-to-wild gene flow depends on the fitness of hybrids under natural, competitive conditions. Here, we measured the performance of third-generation (F3) radish hybrids (Raphanus raphanistrum x Raphanus sativus) and weedy R. raphanistrum to understand how competitive interactions affect life history and relative fecundity. Three wild and three F1 crop-wild hybrid radish populations were established in semi-natural, agricultural conditions in Michigan, USA. The effects of competition on life-history traits and fecundity of F3 progeny were measured 2 yr later in a common garden experiment. Third-generation hybrid plants generally produced fewer seeds per fruit and set fewer fruits per flower than wild plants, resulting in lower lifetime fecundity. With increasing competition, age at reproduction was delayed, the relative number of seeds per fruit was reduced in wild plants and differences between hybrid and wild fecundity diminished. Competition may enhance the fecundity of advanced-generation hybrids relative to wild plants by reducing differences in life history, potentially promoting the introgression of crop alleles into weed populations.

  20. Reducing Freshwater Toxicity while Maintaining Weed Control, Profits, And Productivity: Effects of Increased Crop Rotation Diversity and Reduced Herbicide Usage.

    PubMed

    Hunt, Natalie D; Hill, Jason D; Liebman, Matt

    2017-02-07

    Increasing crop rotation diversity while reducing herbicide applications may maintain effective weed control while reducing freshwater toxicity. To test this hypothesis, we applied the model USEtox 2.0 to data from a long-term Iowa field experiment that included three crop rotation systems: a 2-year corn-soybean sequence, a 3-year corn-soybean-oat/red clover sequence, and 4-year corn-soybean-oat/alfalfa-alfalfa sequence. Corn and soybean in each rotation were managed with conventional or low-herbicide regimes. Oat, red clover, and alfalfa were not treated with herbicides. Data from 2008-2015 showed that use of the low-herbicide regime reduced freshwater toxicity loads by 81-96%, and that use of the more diverse rotations reduced toxicity and system dependence on herbicides by 25-51%. Mean weed biomass in corn and soybean was <25 kg ha(-1) in all rotation × herbicide combinations except the low-herbicide 3-year rotation, which contained ∼110 kg ha(-1) of weed biomass. Corn and soybean yields and net returns were as high or higher for the 3- and 4-year rotations managed with the low-herbicide regime as for the conventional-herbicide 2-year rotation. These results indicate that certain forms of cropping system diversification and alternative weed management strategies can maintain yield, profit, and weed suppression while delivering enhanced environmental performance.

  1. Disentangling multiple drivers of pollination in a landscape-scale experiment

    PubMed Central

    Schüepp, Christof; Herzog, Felix; Entling, Martin H.

    2014-01-01

    Animal pollination is essential for the reproductive success of many wild and crop plants. Loss and isolation of (semi-)natural habitats in agricultural landscapes can cause declines of plants and pollinators and endanger pollination services. We investigated the independent effects of these drivers on pollination of young cherry trees in a landscape-scale experiment. We included (i) isolation of study trees from other cherry trees (up to 350 m), (ii) the amount of cherry trees in the landscape, (iii) the isolation from other woody habitats (up to 200 m) and (iv) the amount of woody habitats providing nesting and floral resources for pollinators. At the local scale, we considered effects of (v) cherry flower density and (vi) heterospecific flower density. Pollinators visited flowers more often in landscapes with high amount of woody habitat and at sites with lower isolation from the next cherry tree. Fruit set was reduced by isolation from the next cherry tree and by a high local density of heterospecific flowers but did not directly depend on pollinator visitation. These results reveal the importance of considering the plant's need for conspecific pollen and its pollen competition with co-flowering species rather than focusing only on pollinators’ habitat requirements and flower visitation. It proved to be important to disentangle habitat isolation from habitat loss, local from landscape-scale effects, and direct effects of pollen availability on fruit set from indirect effects via pollinator visitation to understand the delivery of an agriculturally important ecosystem service. PMID:24225465

  2. Dynamics of plant-pollinator-robber systems.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yuanshi

    2013-05-01

    Plant-pollinator-robber systems are considered, where the plants and pollinators are mutualists, the plants and nectar robbers are in a parasitic relation, and the pollinators and nectar robbers consume a common limiting resource without interfering competition. My aim is to show a mechanism by which pollination-mutualism could persist when there exist nectar robbers. Through the dynamics of a plant-pollinator-robber model, it is shown that (i) when the plants alone (i.e., without pollination-mutualism) cannot provide sufficient resources for the robbers' survival but pollination-mutualism can persist in the plant-pollinator system, the pollination-mutualism may lead to invasion of the robbers, while the pollinators will not be driven into extinction by the robbers' invasion. (ii) When the plants alone cannot support the robbers' survival but persistence of pollination-mutualism in the plant-pollinator system is density-dependent, the pollinators and robbers could coexist if the robbers' efficiency in translating the plant-robber interactions into fitness is intermediate and the initial densities of the three species are in an appropriate region. (iii) When the plants alone can support the robbers' survival, the pollinators will not be driven into extinction by the robbers if their efficiency in translating the plant-pollinator interactions into fitness is relatively larger than that of the robbers. The analysis leads to an explanation for the persistence of pollination-mutualism in the presence of nectar robbers in real situations.

  3. Relationship between pollination and cell wall properties in common fig fruit.

    PubMed

    Trad, Mehdi; Ginies, Christian; Gaaliche, Badii; Renard, Catherine M G C; Mars, Messaoud

    2014-02-01

    Most botanical types in fig Ficus carica require pollination to fulfil their development and ensure quality onset of the fruit. Cell wall behaviour and composition was followed in fig fruit in response to pollination during maturity. Figs, when ripe, soften drastically and lose of their firmness and cell wall cohesion. Pollination increased peel thickness, flesh thickness, fresh weight and dry matter content of the fruit. Alcohol insoluble solids (AIS), more concentrated in the flesh tissue, were not influenced by the lack of pollination. Concentrations in uronic acids were higher in the AIS of the peel than that of the flesh and differences were significant between pollinated and non-pollinated fruits. Pectin polymers in figs were high methylated (DM>50). The methylation degree (DM) increased more with pollination affecting textural properties of the fig receptacle. The major neutral sugars from the AIS were glucose (Glc) from cellulose followed by arabinose (Ara). No significant changes in neutral sugars content could be allocated to pollination. Pollination is essential in fruit enlargement and softening. Minor changes were determined in the cell wall composition of the fruit at maturity. Fertile seeds resulting from pollination may possibly take place in hormonal activity stimulating many related enzymes of the wall matrix depolymerisation in particular polygalacturonase (PG) and pectin methylesterase (PME).

  4. Selection by Pollinators on Floral Traits in Generalized Trollius ranunculoides (Ranunculaceae) along Altitudinal Gradients

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Zhi-Gang; Wang, Yi-Ke

    2015-01-01

    Abundance and visitation of pollinator assemblages tend to decrease with altitude, leading to an increase in pollen limitation. Thus increased competition for pollinators may generate stronger selection on attractive traits of flowers at high elevations and cause floral adaptive evolution. Few studies have related geographically variable selection from pollinators and intraspecific floral differentiation. We investigated the variation of Trollius ranunculoides flowers and its pollinators along an altitudinal gradient on the eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and measured phenotypic selection by pollinators on floral traits across populations. The results showed significant decline of visitation rate of bees along altitudinal gradients, while flies was unchanged. When fitness is estimated by the visitation rate rather than the seed number per plant, phenotypic selection on the sepal length and width shows a significant correlation between the selection strength and the altitude, with stronger selection at higher altitudes. However, significant decreases in the sepal length and width of T. ranunculoides along the altitudinal gradient did not correspond to stronger selection of pollinators. In contrast to the pollinator visitation, mean annual precipitation negatively affected the sepal length and width, and contributed more to geographical variation in measured floral traits than the visitation rate of pollinators. Therefore, the sepal size may have been influenced by conflicting selection pressures from biotic and abiotic selective agents. This study supports the hypothesis that lower pollinator availability at high altitude can intensify selection on flower attractive traits, but abiotic selection is preventing a response to selection from pollinators. PMID:25692295

  5. Selection by pollinators on floral traits in generalized Trollius ranunculoides (Ranunculaceae) along altitudinal gradients.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Zhi-Gang; Wang, Yi-Ke

    2015-01-01

    Abundance and visitation of pollinator assemblages tend to decrease with altitude, leading to an increase in pollen limitation. Thus increased competition for pollinators may generate stronger selection on attractive traits of flowers at high elevations and cause floral adaptive evolution. Few studies have related geographically variable selection from pollinators and intraspecific floral differentiation. We investigated the variation of Trollius ranunculoides flowers and its pollinators along an altitudinal gradient on the eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and measured phenotypic selection by pollinators on floral traits across populations. The results showed significant decline of visitation rate of bees along altitudinal gradients, while flies was unchanged. When fitness is estimated by the visitation rate rather than the seed number per plant, phenotypic selection on the sepal length and width shows a significant correlation between the selection strength and the altitude, with stronger selection at higher altitudes. However, significant decreases in the sepal length and width of T. ranunculoides along the altitudinal gradient did not correspond to stronger selection of pollinators. In contrast to the pollinator visitation, mean annual precipitation negatively affected the sepal length and width, and contributed more to geographical variation in measured floral traits than the visitation rate of pollinators. Therefore, the sepal size may have been influenced by conflicting selection pressures from biotic and abiotic selective agents. This study supports the hypothesis that lower pollinator availability at high altitude can intensify selection on flower attractive traits, but abiotic selection is preventing a response to selection from pollinators.

  6. Water for Food, Energy, and the Environment: Assessing Streamflow Impacts of Increasing Cellulosic Biofuel Crop Production in the Corn Belt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yaeger, M. A.; Housh, M.; Ng, T.; Cai, X.; Sivapalan, M.

    2012-12-01

    The recently expanded Renewable Fuel Standard, which now requires 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022, has increased demand for biofuel refinery feedstocks. Currently, biofuel production consists mainly of corn-based ethanol, but concern over increasing nitrate levels resulting from increased corn crop fertilization has prompted research into alternative biofuel feedstocks. Of these, high-yielding biomass crops such as Miscanthus have been suggested for cellulose-based ethanol production. Because these perennial crops require less fertilization and do not need tilling, increasing land area in the Midwest planted with Miscanthus would result in less nitrate pollution to the Gulf of Mexico. There is a tradeoff, however, as Miscanthus also has higher water requirements than conventional crops in the region. This could pose a serious problem for riparian ecosystems and other streamflow users such as municipalities and biofuel refineries themselves, as the lowest natural flows in this region coincide with the peak of the growing season. Moreover, low flow reduction may eventually cut off the water quality benefit that planting Miscanthus provides. Therefore, for large-scale cellulosic ethanol production to be sustainable, it is important to understand how the watershed will respond to this change in land and water use. To this end a detailed data analysis of current watershed conditions has been combined with hydrologic modeling to gain deeper insights into how catchments in the highly agricultural central IL watershed of the Sangamon River respond to current and future land and water usage, with the focus on the summer low-flow season. In addition, an integrated systems optimization model has been developed that combines hydrologic, agro-biologic, engineering infrastructural, and economic inputs to provide optimal scenarios of crop type and area and corresponding refinery locations and capacities. Through this integrated modeling framework, we address the key

  7. Reproductive biology of a hummingbird-pollinated Billbergia: light influence on pollinator behaviour and specificity in a Brazilian semi-deciduous forest.

    PubMed

    Pansarin, E R; de Pedro, S R M

    2016-11-01

    Ornithophily has evolved in parallel several times during evolution of angiosperms. Bird pollination is reported for 65 families, including Bromeliaceae. One of the most diverse bromeliad is Billbergia, which comprises species pollinated mainly by hummingbirds. Based on investigations on flowering phenology, morpho-anatomy, volume and concentration of nectar, pollinators and breeding system, this paper explores the reproductive biology and pollinator specificity of B. distachia in a mesophytic semi-deciduous forest of southeastern Brazil. The results have show that B. distachia is pollinated by a single species of hermit hummingbird, Phaethornis eurynome, which search for nectar produced by a septal nectary, where the secretory tissue is located above the placenta. The species is self-incompatible. The combination of pollinator specificity, due to long corolla tubes that exclude visitation of short-billed hummingbirds, complete self-incompatibility and non-territorial behaviour of pollinators, it is very important to reduce pollen loss and increase gene flow within population. Our results indicate that studies on pollination biology and reproduction are essential to understand the evolutionary history of pollination systems of plants since, at least in Billbergia, variation in the pollinator spectrum has been recorded for different habitats among Brazilian forests. Furthermore, according to our data, foraging of Phaethornis on flowers is independent of air temperature and humidity, while the main factor influencing hummingbird visitation is daylight. Considering current knowledge on climatic parameters influencing hummingbird foraging, pollination and reproductive biology of Neotropical flora and environment of the hermit hummingbird in tropical forests, new insights on plant-pollinator interaction are provided.

  8. Pollination induces autophagy in petunia petals via ethylene.

    PubMed

    Shibuya, Kenichi; Niki, Tomoko; Ichimura, Kazuo

    2013-02-01

    Autophagy is one of the main mechanisms of degradation and remobilization of macromolecules, and it appears to play an important role in petal senescence. However, little is known about the regulatory mechanisms of autophagy in petal senescence. Autophagic processes were observed by electron microscopy and monodansylcadaverine staining of senescing petals of petunia (Petunia hybrida); autophagy-related gene 8 (ATG8) homologues were isolated from petunia and the regulation of expression was analysed. Nutrient remobilization was also examined during pollination-induced petal senescence. Active autophagic processes were observed in the mesophyll cells of senescing petunia petals. Pollination induced the expression of PhATG8 homologues and was accompanied by an increase in ethylene production. Ethylene inhibitor treatment in pollinated flowers delayed the induction of PhATG8 homologues, and ethylene treatment rapidly upregulated PhATG8 homologues in petunia petals. Dry weight and nitrogen content were decreased in the petals and increased in the ovaries after pollination in detached flowers. These results indicated that pollination induces autophagy and that ethylene is a key regulator of autophagy in petal senescence of petunia. The data also demonstrated the translocation of nutrients from the petals to the ovaries during pollination-induced petal senescence.

  9. Transition from wind pollination to insect pollination in sedges: experimental evidence and functional traits.

    PubMed

    Wragg, Peter D; Johnson, Steven D

    2011-09-01

    Transitions from wind pollination to insect pollination were pivotal to the radiation of land plants, yet only a handful are known and the trait shifts required are poorly understood. We tested the hypothesis that a transition to insect pollination took place in the ancestrally wind-pollinated sedges (Cyperaceae) and that floral traits modified during this transition have functional significance. We paired putatively insect-pollinated Cyperus obtusiflorus and Cyperus sphaerocephalus with related, co-flowering, co-occurring wind-pollinated species, and compared pairs in terms of pollination mode and functional roles of floral traits. Experimentally excluding insects reduced seed set by 56-89% in putatively insect-pollinated species but not in intermingled wind-pollinated species. The pollen of putatively insect-pollinated species was less motile in a wind tunnel than that of wind-pollinated species. Bees, beetles and flies preferred inflorescences, and color-matched white or yellow models, of putatively insect-pollinated species over inflorescences, or color-matched brown models, of wind-pollinated species. Floral scents of putatively insect-pollinated species were chemically consistent with those of other insect-pollinated plants, and attracted pollinators; wind-pollinated species were unscented. These results show that a transition from wind pollination to insect pollination occurred in sedges and shed new light on the function of traits involved in this important transition.

  10. Spatial heterogeneity and the distribution of bromeliad pollinators in the Atlantic Forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Varassin, Isabela Galarda; Sazima, Marlies

    2012-08-01

    Interactions between plants and their pollinators are influenced by environmental heterogeneity, resulting in small-scale variations in interactions. This may influence pollinator co-existence and plant reproductive success. This study, conducted at the Estação Biológica de Santa Lúcia (EBSL), a remnant of the Atlantic Forest in southeastern Brazil, investigated the effect of small-scale spatial variations on the interactions between bromeliads and their pollinators. Overall, hummingbirds pollinated 19 of 23 bromeliad species, of which 11 were also pollinated by bees and/or butterflies. However, spatial heterogeneity unrelated to the spatial location of plots or bromeliad species abundance influenced the presence of pollinators. Hummingbirds were the most ubiquitous pollinators at the high-elevation transect, with insect participation clearly declining as transect elevation increased. In the redundancy analysis, the presence of the hummingbird species Phaethornis eurynome, Phaethornis squalidus, Ramphodon naevius, and Thalurania glaucopis, and the butterfly species Heliconius erato and Heliconius nattereri in each plot was correlated with environmental factors such as bromeliad and tree abundance, and was also correlated with horizontal diversity. Since plant-pollinator interactions varied within the environmental mosaics at the study site, this small-scale environmental heterogeneity may relax competition among pollinators, and may explain the high diversity of bromeliads and pollinators generally found in the Atlantic Forest.

  11. Population dependence in the interactions with neighbors for pollination: A field experiment with Taraxacum officinale.

    PubMed

    Lázaro, Amparo; Totland, Orjan

    2010-05-01

    PREMISE OF THE STUDY. The fitness of plants depends on their immediate biotic and abiotic environmental surroundings. The floral neighborhood of individual plants is part of this immediate environment and affects the frequency and behavior of their pollinators. However, the interactions among plants for pollination might differ among populations because populations differ in floral densities and pollinator assemblages. Despite that, manipulative experiments of the floral neighborhood in different populations with a specific focus on pollinator behavior are still rare. METHODS. We introduced mixtures of two species (Salvia farinacae and Tagetes bonanza) in two populations of Taraxacum officinale and examined their effect on pollinators' foraging behavior on Taraxacum. KEY RESULTS. The effects of the heterospecific neighborhood differed among pollinator groups and between the two populations. Only honeybees consistently preferred both the most diverse (containing three species) and completely pure patches of Taraxacum in both populations. We found a strong and positive effect of patch diversity on visitation to Taraxacum in one population, whereas in the other population either no effect or a negative effect of plant diversity occurred, which we attribute to differences between populations in the ratio of pollinators to inflorescences. Pollinator visitation consistently increased with local Taraxacum density in both populations. CONCLUSIONS. Our study shows that a similar local neighborhood can differentially affect the frequency and foraging behavior of pollinators, even in closely situated populations. Experimental studies conducted in several populations would contribute to determine which factors drive the variation in pollination interactions among populations.

  12. Low functional diversity promotes niche changes in natural island pollinator communities.

    PubMed

    Hiraiwa, Masayoshi K; Ushimaru, Atushi

    2017-01-11

    Functional diversity loss among pollinators has rapidly progressed across the globe and is expected to influence plant-pollinator interactions in natural communities. Although recent findings suggest that the disappearance of a certain pollinator functional group may cause niche expansions and/or shifts in other groups, no study has examined this prediction in natural communities with high plant and pollinator diversities. By comparing coastal pollination networks on continental and oceanic islands, we examined how community-level flower visit patterns are influenced by the relative biomass of long-tongued pollinators (RBLP). We found that RBLP significantly correlated with pollinator functional diversity and was lower in oceanic than in continental islands. Pollinator niches shifted with decreasing RBLP, such that diverse species with various proboscis lengths, especially short-tongued species, increasingly visited long-tubed flowers. However, we found no conspicuous negative impacts of low RBLP and the consequent niche shifts on pollinator visit frequencies to flowers in oceanic island communities. Notably, fruit set significantly decreased as RBLP decreased in a study plant species. These results suggest that niche shifts by other functional groups can generally compensate for a decline in long-tongued pollinators in natural communities, but there may be negative impacts on plant reproduction.

  13. Notes on the pollination biology of Notylia nemorosa (Orchidaceae): do pollinators necessarily promote cross pollination?

    PubMed

    Singer, Rodrigo B; Koehler, Samantha

    2003-02-01

    The pollination biology of Notylia nemorosa was elucidated from field and ex situ observations. Field observations were carried out in Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil, where this orchid is pollinated by males of Eulaema nigrita(Euglossini). Plants cultivated in Campinas (São Paulo State, southeastern Brazil) were eventually pollinated by males of Eulaema nigrita and Euglossa melanothricha(Euglossini). In both cases, Euglossini males collect aromatic compounds produced on the surface of the lip, fix the pollinaria on the dorsal surface of the labrum and perform pollination. This species is protandrous. Recently opened flowers present their stigmatic surfaces blocked and thus flowers act only as pollen donors. After 2-3 days the viscidium dries out and pollinaria cannot be removed anymore. Then, a narrow slit opens in the stigmatic cavity, allowing pollen deposition. Experiments performed with cultivated plants suggest that this orchid species is strongly, though not completely self-incompatible. Pollination experiments showed that bees tend to stay several minutes in each inflorescence. This behavior may promote some degree of geitonogamous pollination because flowers in male and female phases coexist in the same inflorescence. The combination of self-incompatibility with this specific pollinator behavior may explain the rarity of fruits in several neotropical reward-offering Orchidaceae.

  14. Effects of the herbicide dicamba on nontarget plants and pollinator visitation.

    PubMed

    Bohnenblust, Eric W; Vaudo, Anthony D; Egan, J Franklin; Mortensen, David A; Tooker, John F

    2016-01-01

    Nearly 80% of all pesticides applied to row crops are herbicides, and these applications pose potentially significant ecotoxicological risks to nontarget plants and associated pollinators. In response to the widespread occurrence of weed species resistant to glyphosate, biotechnology companies have developed crops resistant to the synthetic-auxin herbicides dicamba and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D); and once commercialized, adoption of these crops is likely to change herbicide-use patterns. Despite current limited use, dicamba and 2,4-D are often responsible for injury to nontarget plants; but effects of these herbicides on insect communities are poorly understood. To understand the influence of dicamba on pollinators, the authors applied several sublethal, drift-level rates of dicamba to alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) and Eupatorium perfoliatum L. and evaluated plant flowering and floral visitation by pollinators. The authors found that dicamba doses simulating particle drift (≈1% of the field application rate) delayed onset of flowering and reduced the number of flowers of each plant species; however, plants that did flower produced similar-quality pollen in terms of protein concentrations. Further, plants affected by particle drift rates were visited less often by pollinators. Because plants exposed to sublethal levels of dicamba may produce fewer floral resources and be less frequently visited by pollinators, use of dicamba or other synthetic-auxin herbicides with widespread planting of herbicide-resistant crops will need to be carefully stewarded to prevent potential disturbances of plant and beneficial insect communities in agricultural landscapes.

  15. Can the Cyanobacterial Carbon-Concentrating Mechanism Increase Photosynthesis in Crop Species? A Theoretical Analysis1[W][OPEN

    PubMed Central

    McGrath, Justin M.; Long, Stephen P.

    2014-01-01

    Experimental elevation of [CO2] around C3 crops in the field has been shown to increase yields by suppressing the Rubisco oxygenase reaction and, in turn, photorespiration. Bioengineering a cyanobacterial carbon-concentrating mechanism (CCM) into C3 crop species provides a potential means of elevating [CO2] at Rubisco, thereby decreasing photorespiration and increasing photosynthetic efficiency and yield. The cyanobacterial CCM is an attractive alternative relative to other CCMs, because its features do not require anatomical changes to leaf tissue. However, the potential benefits of engineering the entire CCM into a C3 leaf are unexamined. Here, a CO2 and HCO3− diffusion-reaction model is developed to examine how components of the cyanobacterial CCM affect leaf light-saturated CO2 uptake (Asat) and to determine whether a different Rubisco isoform would perform better in a leaf with a cyanobacterial CCM. The results show that the addition of carboxysomes without other CCM components substantially decreases Asat and that the best first step is the addition of HCO3− transporters, as a single HCO3− transporter increased modeled Asat by 9%. Addition of all major CCM components increased Asat from 24 to 38 µmol m−2 s−1. Several Rubisco isoforms were compared in the model, and increasing ribulose bisphosphate regeneration rate will allow for further improvements by using a Rubisco isoform adapted to high [CO2]. Results from field studies that artificially raise [CO2] suggest that this 60% increase in Asat could result in a 36% to 60% increase in yield. PMID:24550242

  16. On the success of a swindle: pollination by deception in orchids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schiestl, Florian P.

    2005-06-01

    A standing enigma in pollination ecology is the evolution of pollinator attraction without offering reward in about one third of all orchid species. Here I review concepts of pollination by deception, and in particular recent findings in the pollination syndromes of food deception and sexual deception in orchids. Deceptive orchids mimic floral signals of rewarding plants (food deception) or mating signals of receptive females (sexual deception) to attract pollen vectors. In some food deceptive orchids, similarities in the spectral reflectance visible to the pollinator in a model plant and its mimic, and increased reproductive success of the mimic in the presence of the model have been demonstrated. Other species do not mimic specific model plants but attract pollinators with general attractive floral signals. In sexually deceptive orchids, floral odor is the key trait for pollinator attraction, and behaviorally active compounds in the orchids are identical to the sex pheromone of the pollinator species. Deceptive orchids often show high variability in floral signals, which may be maintained by negative frequency-dependent selection, since pollinators can learn and subsequently avoid common deceptive morphs more quickly than rare ones. The evolution of obligate deception in orchids seems paradoxical in the light of the typically lower fruit set than in rewarding species. Pollination by deception, however, can reduce self-pollination and encourage pollen flow over longer distances, thus promoting outbreeding. Although some food deceptive orchids are isolated through postzygotic reproductive barriers, sexually deceptive orchids lack post-mating barriers and species isolation is achieved via specific pollinator attraction. Recent population genetic and phylogenetic investigations suggest gene-flow within subgeneric clades, but pollinator-mediated selection may maintain species-specific floral traits.

  17. High Temperatures Result in Smaller Nurseries which Lower Reproduction of Pollinators and Parasites in a Brood Site Pollination Mutualism

    PubMed Central

    Krishnan, Anusha; Pramanik, Gautam Kumar; Revadi, Santosh V.; Venkateswaran, Vignesh; Borges, Renee M.

    2014-01-01

    In a nursery pollination mutualism, we asked whether environmental factors affected reproduction of mutualistic pollinators, non-mutualistic parasites and seed production via seasonal changes in plant traits such as inflorescence size and within-tree reproductive phenology. We examined seasonal variation in reproduction in Ficus racemosa community members that utilise enclosed inflorescences called syconia as nurseries. Temperature, relative humidity and rainfall defined four seasons: winter; hot days, cold nights; summer and wet seasons. Syconium volumes were highest in winter and lowest in summer, and affected syconium contents positively across all seasons. Greater transpiration from the nurseries was possibly responsible for smaller syconia in summer. The 3–5°C increase in mean temperatures between the cooler seasons and summer reduced fig wasp reproduction and increased seed production nearly two-fold. Yet, seed and pollinator progeny production were never negatively related in any season confirming the mutualistic fig–pollinator association across seasons. Non-pollinator parasites affected seed production negatively in some seasons, but had a surprisingly positive relationship with pollinators in most seasons. While within-tree reproductive phenology did not vary across seasons, its effect on syconium inhabitants varied with season. In all seasons, within-tree reproductive asynchrony affected parasite reproduction negatively, whereas it had a positive effect on pollinator reproduction in winter and a negative effect in summer. Seasonally variable syconium volumes probably caused the differential effect of within-tree reproductive phenology on pollinator reproduction. Within-tree reproductive asynchrony itself was positively affected by intra-tree variation in syconium contents and volume, creating a unique feedback loop which varied across seasons. Therefore, nursery size affected fig wasp reproduction, seed production and within-tree reproductive

  18. High temperatures result in smaller nurseries which lower reproduction of pollinators and parasites in a brood site pollination mutualism.

    PubMed

    Krishnan, Anusha; Pramanik, Gautam Kumar; Revadi, Santosh V; Venkateswaran, Vignesh; Borges, Renee M

    2014-01-01

    In a nursery pollination mutualism, we asked whether environmental factors affected reproduction of mutualistic pollinators, non-mutualistic parasites and seed production via seasonal changes in plant traits such as inflorescence size and within-tree reproductive phenology. We examined seasonal variation in reproduction in Ficus racemosa community members that utilise enclosed inflorescences called syconia as nurseries. Temperature, relative humidity and rainfall defined four seasons: winter; hot days, cold nights; summer and wet seasons. Syconium volumes were highest in winter and lowest in summer, and affected syconium contents positively across all seasons. Greater transpiration from the nurseries was possibly responsible for smaller syconia in summer. The 3-5°C increase in mean temperatures between the cooler seasons and summer reduced fig wasp reproduction and increased seed production nearly two-fold. Yet, seed and pollinator progeny production were never negatively related in any season confirming the mutualistic fig-pollinator association across seasons. Non-pollinator parasites affected seed production negatively in some seasons, but had a surprisingly positive relationship with pollinators in most seasons. While within-tree reproductive phenology did not vary across seasons, its effect on syconium inhabitants varied with season. In all seasons, within-tree reproductive asynchrony affected parasite reproduction negatively, whereas it had a positive effect on pollinator reproduction in winter and a negative effect in summer. Seasonally variable syconium volumes probably caused the differential effect of within-tree reproductive phenology on pollinator reproduction. Within-tree reproductive asynchrony itself was positively affected by intra-tree variation in syconium contents and volume, creating a unique feedback loop which varied across seasons. Therefore, nursery size affected fig wasp reproduction, seed production and within-tree reproductive phenology

  19. EPA Actions to Protect Pollinators

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Pesticide risk management must be based on sound science, consistent with the laws under which pesticides are regulated in the United States. EPA has been working aggressively to protect bees and other pollinators from pesticide exposures.

  20. [Pollination biology of Fritillaria delavayi].

    PubMed

    Gao, Yong-Qian; Zhang, Li-Xuan; Wang, Ming-Run; Song, Bo

    2014-05-01

    In this study, the processes of pollination ecology of Fritillaria delavayi were investigated to document its reproductive characteristics. Some individuals of F. delavayi could produce seeds under bagging without emasculation (11%), but the rate was significantly lower than that of the natural control (87%). It is suggesting that pollination of F. delavayi largely depends on pollen vectors. Bombus sushikini was the only effective pollinator of F. delavayi and the visitation frequency was 0.003 time xXflower(-1) x min(-1). Flowering of F. delavayi in whole population lasted for 35 d and single flower for 11 d. Pollen viability and stigma receptivity lasted for 9 d and were relatively long compared with other Fritillaria genus plants. Consequently, bumblebee pollination and long floral longevity seem to be important for reproductive assurance of F. delavayi in harsh alpine environments.

  1. Pollinator-mediated selection on floral display, spur length and flowering phenology in the deceptive orchid Dactylorhiza lapponica.

    PubMed

    Sletvold, Nina; Grindeland, John M; Agren, Jon

    2010-10-01

    • Nonrewarding animal-pollinated plants commonly experience severe pollen limitation, which should result in strong selection on traits affecting the success of pollination. However, the importance of pollinators as selective agents on floral traits in deceptive species has not been quantified experimentally. • Here, we quantified pollinator-mediated selection (Δβ(poll)) on floral morphology and start of flowering in the deceptive orchid Dactylorhiza lapponica by subtracting estimates of selection gradients for plants receiving supplemental hand-pollination from estimates obtained for open-pollinated control plants. • There was directional selection for taller plants with more flowers and longer spurs, but no statistically significant selection on corolla size or flowering start. Pollinator-mediated selection accounted for all observed selection on spur length (Δβ(poll) = 0.32), 76% of the selection on plant height (Δβ(poll) = 0.19) and 42% of the selection on number of flowers (Δβ(poll = 0.30). Sixteen per cent of developing fruits were consumed by insect herbivores, but fruit herbivory had only minor effects on the strength of pollinator-mediated selection. • Our results demonstrate that pollinators mediate selection on floral traits likely to affect both pollinator attraction and pollination efficiency, and are consistent with the hypothesis that deceptive species experience strong selection for increased display and mechanical fit between flower and pollinator.

  2. Accelerating the domestication of a bioenergy crop: identifying and modelling morphological targets for sustainable yield increase in Miscanthus

    PubMed Central

    Farrar, Kerrie

    2013-01-01

    To accelerate domestication of Miscanthus, an important energy crop, 244 replicated genotypes, including two different species and their hybrids, were analysed for morphological traits and biomass yield over three growing seasons following an establishment phase of 2 years in the largest Miscanthus diversity trial described to date. Stem and leaf traits were selected that contributed both directly and indirectly to total harvested biomass yield, and there was variation in all traits measured. Morphological diversity within the population was correlated with dry matter yield (DMY) both as individual traits and in combination, in order to determine the respective contributions of the traits to biomass accumulation and to identify breeding targets for yield improvement. Predictive morphometric analysis was possible at year 3 within Miscanthus sinensis genotypes but not between M. sinensis, Miscanthus sacchariflorus, and interspecific hybrids. Yield is a complex trait, and no single simple trait explained more than 33% of DMY, which varied from 1 to 5297g among genotypes within this trial. Associating simple traits increased the power of the morphological data to predict yield to 60%. Trait variety, in combination, enabled multiple ideotypes, thereby increasing the potential diversity of the crop for multiple growth locations and end uses. Both triploids and interspecific hybrids produced the highest mature yields, indicating that there is significant heterosis to be exploited within Miscanthus that might be overlooked in early selection screens within years 1–3. The potential for optimizing biomass yield by selecting on the basis of morphology is discussed. PMID:24064927

  3. Technical performance of some commercial glyphosate-resistant crops.

    PubMed

    Pline-Srnic, Wendy

    2005-03-01

    Glyphosate-resistant (GR) crops have been sold commercially in the USA since 1996. The use of glyphosate alone or with conventional pre- and post-emergence herbicides with different modes of action gives growers many options for affordable, safe, easy, effective wide-spectrum weed control. Despite the overwhelming popularity of this technology, technical issues have surfaced from time to time as US growers adopt these crops for use on their farms. The types of concern raised by growers vary from year to year depending on the crop and the environment, but include perceptions of increased sensitivity to diseases, increased fruit abortion, reduced pollination efficiency, increased sensitivity to environmental stress, and differences in yield and agronomic characteristics between transgenic and sister conventional varieties. Although several glyphosate-resistant crops are commercially available, maize, soybean and cotton constitute the largest cultivated acreage and have likewise been associated with the highest number of technical concerns. Because glyphosate is rapidly translocated to and accumulates in metabolic sink tissues, reproductive tissues and roots are particularly vulnerable. Increased sensitivity to glyphosate in reproductive tissues has been documented in both glyphosate-resistant cotton and maize, and results in reduced pollen production and viability, or increased fruit abortion. Glyphosate treatments have the potential to affect relationships between the GR crop, plant pathogens, plant pests and symbiotic micro-organisms, although management practices can also have a large impact. Despite these potential technical concerns, this technology remains popular, and is a highly useful tool for weed control in modern crop production.

  4. Odor-mediated push-pull pollination in cycads.

    PubMed

    Terry, Irene; Walter, Gimme H; Moore, Chris; Roemer, Robert; Hull, Craig

    2007-10-05

    The reproductive organs of some plants self-heat, release scent, and attract pollinators. The relations among these processes are not well understood, especially in the more ancient, nonflowering gymnosperm lineages. We describe the influence of plant volatiles in an obligate pollination mutualism between an Australian Macrozamia cycad (a gymnosperm with male and female individuals) and its specialist thrips pollinator, Cycadothrips chadwicki. Pollen-laden thrips leave male cycad cones en masse during the daily thermogenic phase, when cone temperatures and volatile emissions increase dramatically and thrips are repelled. As thermogenesis declines, total volatile emissions diminish and cones attract thrips, resulting in pollination of female cones. Behavioral and electrophysiological tests on thrips reveal that variations in b-myrcene and ocimene emissions by male and female cones are sufficient to explain the observed sequential thrips' repellence (push) and attraction (pull). These dynamic interactions represent complex adaptations that enhance the likelihood of pollination and may reflect an intermediate state in the evolution of biotic pollination.

  5. Floral thermogenesis: An adaptive strategy of pollination biology in Magnoliaceae.

    PubMed

    Wang, Ruohan; Zhang, Zhixiang

    2015-01-01

    Floral thermogenesis plays a crucial role in pollination biology, especially in plant-pollinator interactions. We have recently explored how thermogenesis is related to pollinator activity and odour release in Magnolia sprengeri. By analyzing flower temperatures, emission of volatiles, and insect visitation, we found that floral blends released during pistillate and staminate stages were similar and coincided with sap beetle visitation. Thus, odour mimicry of staminate-stage flowers may occur during the pistillate stage and may be an adaptive strategy of Magnolia species to attract pollinators during both stages, ensuring successful pollination. In addition to the biological significance of floral thermogenesis in Magnolia species, we explored the underlying regulatory mechanisms via profiling miRNA expression in M. denudata flowers during thermogenic and non-thermogenic stages. We identified 17 miRNAs that may play regulatory roles in floral thermogenesis. Functional annotation of their target genes indicated that these miRNAs regulate floral thermogenesis by influencing cellular respiration and light reactions. These findings increase our understanding of plant-pollinator interactions and the regulatory mechanisms in thermogenic plants.

  6. Ozone degrades floral scent and reduces pollinator attraction to flowers.

    PubMed

    Farré-Armengol, Gerard; Peñuelas, Josep; Li, Tao; Yli-Pirilä, Pasi; Filella, Iolanda; Llusia, Joan; Blande, James D

    2016-01-01

    In this work we analyzed the degradation of floral scent volatiles from Brassica nigra by reaction with ozone along a distance gradient and the consequences for pollinator attraction. For this purpose we used a reaction system comprising three reaction tubes in which we conducted measurements of floral volatiles using a proton-transfer-reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometer (PTR-TOF-MS) and GC-MS. We also tested the effects of floral scent degradation on the responses of the generalist pollinator Bombus terrestris. The chemical analyses revealed that supplementing air with ozone led to an increasing reduction in the concentrations of floral volatiles in air with distance from the volatile source. The results revealed different reactivities with ozone for different floral scent constituents, which emphasized that ozone exposure not only degrades floral scents, but also changes the ratios of compounds in a scent blend. Behavioural tests revealed that floral scent was reduced in its attractiveness to pollinators after it had been exposed to 120 ppb O3 over a 4.5 m distance. The combined results of chemical analyses and behavioural responses of pollinators strongly suggest that high ozone concentrations have significant negative impacts on pollination by reducing the distance over which floral olfactory signals can be detected by pollinators.

  7. Does Passive Sampling Accurately Reflect the Bee (Apoidea: Anthophila) Communities Pollinating Apple and Sour Cherry Orchards?

    PubMed

    Gibbs, Jason; Joshi, Neelendra K; Wilson, Julianna K; Rothwell, Nikki L; Powers, Karen; Haas, Mike; Gut, Larry; Biddinger, David J; Isaacs, Rufus

    2017-03-31

    During bloom of spring orchard crops, bees are the primary providers of pollination service. Monitoring these insects for research projects is often done by timed observations or by direct aerial netting, but there has been increasing interest in blue vane traps as an efficient passive approach to collecting bees. Over multiple spring seasons in Michigan and Pennsylvania, orchards were monitored for wild bees using timed netting from crop flowers and blue vane traps. This revealed a distinctly different community of wild bees captured using the two methods, suggesting that blue vane traps can complement but cannot replace direct aerial netting. The bee community in blue vane traps was generally composed of nonpollinating species, which can be of interest for broader biodiversity studies. In particular, blue vane traps caught Eucera atriventris (Smith), Eucera hamata (Bradley), Bombus fervidus (F.), and Agapostemon virescens (F.) that were never collected from the orchard crop flowers during the study period. Captures of bee species in nets was generally stable across the 3 yr, whereas we observed significant declines in the abundance of Lasioglossum pilosum (Smith) and Eucera spp. trapped using blue vane traps during the project, suggesting local overtrapping of reproductive individuals. We conclude that blue vane traps are a useful tool for expanding insights into bee communities within orchard crop systems, but they should be used with great caution to avoid local extirpation of these important insects.

  8. No-tillage increases soil profile carbon and nitrogen under long-term rainfed cropping systems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Emphasis and interest in carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) storage (sequestration) in soils has greatly increased in the last few years, especially C with its’ potential to help alleviate or offset some of the negative effects of the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Several questions still ...

  9. Pollination in Jacaranda rugosa (Bignoniaceae): euglossine pollinators, nectar robbers and low fruit set.

    PubMed

    Milet-Pinheiro, P; Schlindwein, C

    2009-03-01

    Nectar robbers access floral nectar in illegitimate flower visits without, in general, performing a pollination service. Nevertheless, their effect on fruit set can be indirectly positive if the nectar removal causes an incremental increase in the frequency of legitimate flower visits of effective pollinators, especially in obligate outcrossers. We studied pollination and the effect of nectar robbers on the reproductive fitness of Jacaranda rugosa, an endemic shrub of the National Park of Catimbau, in the Caatinga of Pernambuco, Brazil. Xenogamous J. rugosa flowers continuously produced nectar during the day at a rate of 1 mul.h(-1). Female and male Euglossa melanotricha were the main pollinators. Early morning flower visits substantially contributed to fruit set because stigmas with open lobes were almost absent in the afternoon. Ninety-nine per cent of the flowers showed damage caused by nectar robbers. Artificial addition of sugar water prolonged the duration of flower visits of legitimate flower visitors. Removal of nectar, simulating the impact of nectar robbers, resulted in shorter flower visits of euglossine bees. While flower visits of nectar-robbing carpenter bees (Xylocopa frontalis, X. grisescens, X. ordinaria) produced only a longitudinal slit in the corolla tube in the region of the nectar chamber, worker bees of Trigona spinipes damaged the gynoecium in 92% of the flowers. This explains the outstandingly low fruit set (1.5%) of J. rugosa in the National Park of Catimbau.

  10. Effects of selenium accumulation on phytotoxicity, herbivory, and pollination ecology in radish (Raphanus sativus L.).

    PubMed

    Hladun, Kristen R; Parker, David R; Tran, Khoa D; Trumble, John T

    2013-01-01

    Selenium (Se) has contaminated areas in the western USA where pollination is critical to the functioning of both agricultural and natural ecosystems, yet we know little about how Se can impact pollinators. In a two-year semi-field study, the weedy plant Raphanus sativus (radish) was exposed to three selenate treatments and two pollination treatments to evaluate the effects on pollinator-plant interactions. Honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) pollinators were observed to readily forage on R. sativus for both pollen and nectar despite high floral Se concentrations. Se treatment increased both seed abortion (14%) and decreased plant biomass (8-9%). Herbivory by birds and aphids was reduced on Se-treated plants, indicating a potential reproductive advantage for the plant. Our study sheds light on how pollutants such as Se can impact the pollination ecology of a plant that accumulates even moderate amounts of Se.

  11. Moonlight pollination in the gymnosperm Ephedra (Gnetales).

    PubMed

    Rydin, Catarina; Bolinder, Kristina

    2015-04-01

    Most gymnosperms are wind-pollinated, but some are insect-pollinated, and in Ephedra (Gnetales), both wind pollination and insect pollination occur. Little is, however, known about mechanisms and evolution of pollination syndromes in gymnosperms. Based on four seasons of field studies, we show an unexpected correlation between pollination and the phases of the moon in one of our studied species, Ephedra foeminea. It is pollinated by dipterans and lepidopterans, most of them nocturnal, and its pollination coincides with the full moon of July. This may be adaptive in two ways. Many nocturnal insects navigate using the moon. Further, the spectacular reflection of the full-moonlight in the pollination drops is the only apparent means of nocturnal attraction of insects in these plants. In the sympatric but wind-pollinated Ephedra distachya, pollination is not correlated to the full moon but occurs at approximately the same dates every year. The lunar correlation has probably been lost in most species of Ephedra subsequent an evolutionary shift to wind pollination in the clade. When the services of insects are no longer needed for successful pollination, the adaptive value of correlating pollination with the full moon is lost, and conceivably also the trait.

  12. Molecular processes induced in primed seeds-increasing the potential to stabilize crop yields under drought conditions.

    PubMed

    Wojtyla, Łukasz; Lechowska, Katarzyna; Kubala, Szymon; Garnczarska, Małgorzata

    2016-09-20

    Environmental stress factors such as drought, salinity, temperature extremes and rising CO2 negatively affect crop growth and productivity. Faced with the scarcity of water resources, drought is the most critical threat to world food security. This is particularly important in the context of climate change and an increasing world population. Seed priming is a very promising strategy in modern crop production management. Although it has been known for several years that seed priming can enhance seed quality and the effectiveness of stress responses of germinating seeds and seedlings, the molecular mechanisms involved in the acquisition of stress tolerance by primed seeds in the germination process and subsequent plant growth remain poorly understood. This review provides an overview of the metabolic changes modulated by priming, such as the activation of DNA repair and the antioxidant system, accumulation of aquaporins and late embryogenesis abundant proteins that contribute to enhanced drought stress tolerance. Moreover, the phenomenon of "priming memory," which is established during priming and can be recruited later when seeds or plants are exposed to stress, is highlighted.

  13. Ethanol and agriculture: Effect of increased production on crop and livestock sectors. Agricultural economic report

    SciTech Connect

    House, R.; Peters, M.; Baumes, H.; Disney, W.T.

    1993-05-01

    Expanded ethanol production could increase US farm income by as much as $1 billion (1.4 percent) by 2000. Because corn is the primary feedstock for ethanol, growers in the Corn Belt would benefit most from improved ethanol technology and heightened demand. Coproducts from the conversion process (corn gluten meal, corn gluten feed, and others) compete with soybean meal, soybean growers in the South may see revenues decline. The US balance of trade would improve with increased ethanol production as oil import needs decline.

  14. Conservation cropping systems: Increasing water use efficiency and lowering production costs

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    As of the 2007 Census of Agriculture, irrigated acres were only found on 4.4% of agricultural operations in Alabama. To increase irrigated acres, the Alabama Legislature passed the Irrigation Incentives Bill in 2012 to provide a state income tax credit of 20 percent of the costs of the purchase and ...

  15. Buttercup squash provides a marketable alternative to blue hubbard as a trap crop for control of striped cucumber beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae).

    PubMed

    Cavanagh, Andrew F; Adler, Lynn S; Hazzard, Ruth V

    2010-12-01

    Winter squash is a vital agricultural commodity worldwide. In the Northeastern United States, the primary insect pest is the striped cucumber beetle, Acalymma vittatum F. Using a Blue Hubbard squash (Cucurbita maxima Duchesne) perimeter trap crop system can reduce insecticide use by >90% in butternut squash (C. moschata Poir), the primary winter squash grown in this region. Despite the savings in insecticide costs, growers may be reluctant to give up field space for a perimeter crop of Blue Hubbard squash, which comprises only 5% of the winter squash market in New England as compared with 19% for buttercup squash. Finding a more marketable trap crop would lower the barrier for adoption of this system. We tested eight varieties of three species of cucurbits for attractiveness to beetles relative to Blue Hubbard and butternut squash, and chose buttercup squash as the most promising replacement. We compared the effect of a buttercup border, Blue Hubbard border, or control (no border) on beetle numbers, herbivory, insecticide use, pollination, and pollen limitation in the main crop. We found that buttercup squash performed equally well as Blue Hubbard as a trap crop, with 97% reduction in total insecticide use compared with control fields. Honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) and squash bees (Peponapis pruinosa Say) were the predominant pollinators, and border treatments did not affect visitation. Hand pollination did not increase reproduction or yield, indicating that natural pollination was sufficient for full yield. This study confirms the effectiveness of perimeter trap crop systems and offers growers a more marketable trap crop for managing cucumber beetle damage.

  16. Invasive rats and recent colonist birds partially compensate for the loss of endemic New Zealand pollinators

    PubMed Central

    Pattemore, David E.; Wilcove, David S.

    2012-01-01

    Reported declines of pollinator populations around the world have led to increasing concerns about the consequences for pollination as a critical ecosystem function and service. Pollination could be maintained through compensation if remaining pollinators increase their contribution or if novel species are recruited as pollinators, but empirical evidence of this compensation is so far lacking. Using a natural experiment in New Zealand where endemic vertebrate pollinators still occur on one offshore island reserve despite their local extinction on the adjacent North Island, we investigated whether compensation could maintain pollination in the face of pollinator extinctions. We show that two recently arrived species in New Zealand, the invasive ship rat (Rattus rattus) and the recent colonist silvereye (Zosterops lateralis; a passerine bird), at least partly maintain pollination for three forest plant species in northern New Zealand, and without this compensation, these plants would be significantly more pollen-limited. This study provides empirical evidence that widespread non-native species can play an important role in maintaining ecosystem functions, a role that needs to be assessed when planning invasive species control or eradication programmes. PMID:22090388

  17. Increased number of crop types over France in the ISBA-A-gs land surface model : does it improve the regional simulation of LAI ?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    lafont, Sebastien; Calvet, Alina; Carrer, Dominque; Delire, Christine; Calvet, Jean-Christophe; Alkama, ramdane

    2013-04-01

    Land surface models have at first been designed to represent natural vegetation classified in broad Plant Functional Type (PFT). A better description of the agricultural land is needed to enlarge the accuracy of the model (especially at high resolution) and their range of application (land use studies, climate change...). For example in temperate region, the C3 crops have two different seasonal cycles with a peak LAI in spring or in summer depending on sowing date. A larger number of agricultural PFT have been recently introduced in the ISBA-A-gs land surface model within the SURFEX modelling platform. The SURFEX modelling platform is used in a wide range of applications either in coupled mode or in off-line mode (driven by meteorological forcing). The number of agricultural PFT have been increased from 3 (C3 crops, C4 crops, irrigated C4 crops) to 8 (C3 winter crops, and C3 summer crops both irrigated or not; C4 crops; C4 irrigated crops). The objective is not to implement a full agronomic model but to introduce simple parametrisation which account for the broad differences between these classes. For example summer C3 crops have a prescribed emergence date parameter that differentiate them from winter C3 crops. The irrigation introduced in an earlier version of ISBA-A-gs is based on a simple empirical model based on threshold of soil moisture. We will test the new version of the model over France in a configuration close to the one used by the GEOLAND2 Land Carbon project. The simulations are performed with the high resolution meteorological forcing (8km) SAFRAN over a period of 20 years. We compare the simulated LAI over France with the GEOLAND2 LAI product derived project from the SPOT/VEGETATION sensor. Finally, we discuss the improvement in seasonal cycle and inter-annual variability bring by the new PFTs.

  18. Pollination intensity influences sex ratios in dioecious Rumex nivalis, a wind-pollinated plant.

    PubMed

    Stehlik, Ivana; Barrett, Spencer C H

    2006-06-01

    Determining the mechanisms governing sex-ratio variation in dioecious organisms represents a central problem in evolutionary biology. It has been proposed that in plants with sex chromosomes competition between pollen tubes of female- versus male-determining microgametophytes (certation) causes female-biased primary sex ratios. Experimental support for this hypothesis is limited and recent workers have cast doubt on whether pollen-tube competition can modify sex ratios in dioecious plants. Here we investigate the influence of variation in pollination intensity on sex ratios in Rumex nivalis, a wind-pollinated alpine herb with strongly female-biased sex ratios. In a garden experiment, we experimentally manipulated pollination intensity using three concentric rings of female recipient plants at different distances from a central group of male pollen donors. This design enabled us to test the hypothesis that increasing pollen load size, by intensifying gametophyte competition, promotes female-biased sex ratios in R. nivalis. We detected a significant decline in pollen load at successive distance classes with concomitant reductions in seed set. Sex ratios of progeny were always female biased, but plants at the closest distance to male donors exhibited significantly greater female bias than more distant plants. The amount of female bias was positively correlated with the seed set of inflorescences. Hand pollination of stigmas resulted in approximately 100-fold higher stigmatic pollen loads than wind-pollinated stigmas and produced exceptionally female-biased progenies (female frequency = 0.96). Our results are the first to demonstrate a functional relation between stigmatic pollen capture, seed set, and sex ratio and suggest that certation can contribute towards female-biased sex ratios in dioecious plants.

  19. Plant-pollinator interactions in a biodiverse meadow are rather stable and tight for 3 consecutive years.

    PubMed

    Fang, Qiang; Huang, Shuangquan

    2016-05-01

    Plant-pollinator interactions can be highly variable across years in natural communities. Although variation in the species composition and its basic structure has been investigated to understand the dynamic nature of pollination networks, little is known about the temporal dynamic of interaction strength between the same plant and pollinator species in any natural community. Pollinator-mediated selection on the evolution of floral traits could be diminished if plant-pollinator interactions vary temporally. To quantify the temporal variation in plant-pollinator interactions and the interaction strength (observed visits), we compared weighted networks between plants and pollinators in a biodiverse alpine meadow in Shangri-La, southwest China for 3 consecutive years. Although plant-pollinator interactions were highly dynamic such that identical interactions only accounted for 10.7% of the total between pair years, the diversity of interactions was stable. These identical interactions contributed 41.2% of total visits and were similar in strength and weighted nestedness. For plant species, 72.6% of species were visited by identical pollinator species between pair years, accounting for over half of the total visits and three-quarters at the functional group level. More generalized pollinators contributed more connectiveness and were more central in networks across years. However, there was no similar or even opposite trend for plant species, which suggested that specialized plant species may also be central in pollinator networks. The variation in pollinator composition decreased as pollinator species numbers increased, suggesting that generalized plants experienced stable pollinator partition. The stable, tight interactions between generalized pollinators and specialized plants represent cornerstones of the studied community.

  20. Stability of pollination services decreases with isolation from natural areas despite honey bee visits.

    PubMed

    Garibaldi, Lucas A; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Kremen, Claire; Morales, Juan M; Bommarco, Riccardo; Cunningham, Saul A; Carvalheiro, Luísa G; Chacoff, Natacha P; Dudenhöffer, Jan H; Greenleaf, Sarah S; Holzschuh, Andrea; Isaacs, Rufus; Krewenka, Kristin; Mandelik, Yael; Mayfield, Margaret M; Morandin, Lora A; Potts, Simon G; Ricketts, Taylor H; Szentgyörgyi, Hajnalka; Viana, Blandina F; Westphal, Catrin; Winfree, Rachael; Klein, Alexandra M

    2011-10-01

    Sustainable agricultural landscapes by definition provide high magnitude and stability of ecosystem services, biodiversity and crop productivity. However, few studies have considered landscape effects on the stability of ecosystem services. We tested whether isolation from florally diverse natural and semi-natural areas reduces the spatial and temporal stability of flower-visitor richness and pollination services in crop fields. We synthesised data from 29 studies with contrasting biomes, crop species and pollinator communities. Stability of flower-visitor richness, visitation rate (all insects except honey bees) and fruit set all decreased with distance from natural areas. At 1 km from adjacent natural areas, spatial stability decreased by 25, 16 and 9% for richness, visitation and fruit set, respectively, while temporal stability decreased by 39% for richness and 13% for visitation. Mean richness, visitation and fruit set also decreased with isolation, by 34, 27 and 16% at 1 km respectively. In contrast, honey bee visitation did not change with isolation and represented > 25% of crop visits in 21 studies. Therefore, wild pollinators are relevant for crop productivity and stability even when honey bees are abundant. Policies to preserve and restore natural areas in agricultural landscapes should enhance levels and reliability of pollination services.

  1. Changes in Soil Moisture, Microbial Biomass, Mineralization and Nitrification Explain Increases in N2O Emissions from a Spring Barley Crop Under Combined Reduced Tillage and Cover Crop Management

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rueangritsarakul, K.; Jones, M.; Roth, B.; Abdalla, M.; Williams, M.

    2012-04-01

    This study investigated the effect of conventional tillage (CT), combined reduced tillage-cover crop (RT-CC), and reduced N application on crop yield and N2O emissions from spring barley. Reduced tillage plots were established for seven years, the final four incorporating a mustard cover crop. Higher N2O fluxes were from fertilized, RT-CC plots due to higher WFPS, soil nitrate, and soil carbon. Fluxes during the non-growing season were variable and the main source of cumulative emissions. Emission factors were in the range of IPCC default values. Low N fertilization reduced cumulative emissions, however during the wetter growing season this reduction was smaller than the reduction in barley production particular in the conventional tillage plots. Adopting RT-CC management for cereal crops may be problematic in reducing GHG emissions due to high N2O fluxes. Reducing N fertilizer in order to reduce N2O emissions is not feasible due to high inter-annual variation in crop yield. N2O flux in all plots was positively correlated with microbial biomass carbon, net nitrification and mineralization determined in the field. Increased emissions of N2O in the RT-CC plots are accounted for by increases in organic carbon in the soil and increases in mineralization.

  2. Biochar increases plant available water in a sandy soil under an aerobic rice cropping system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Melo Carvalho, M. T.; de Holanda Nunes Maia, A.; Madari, B. E.; Bastiaans, L.; van Oort, P. A. J.; Heinemann, A. B.; Soler da Silva, M. A.; Petter, F. A.; Meinke, H.

    2014-03-01

    The main objective of this study was to assess the impact of biochar rate (0, 8, 16 and 32 t ha-1) on the water retention capacity (WRC) of a sandy Dystric Plinthosol. The applied biochar was a by-product of slow pyrolysis (∼450 °C) of eucalyptus wood, milled to pass through a 2000 μm sieve that resulted in a material with an intrinsic porosity ≤10 μm and a specific surface area of ∼3.2 m2 g-1. The biochar was incorporated into the top 15 cm of the soil under an aerobic rice system. Our study focused on both the effects on WRC and rice yields at 2 and 3 years after application. Undisturbed soil samples were collected from 16 plots in two soil layers (5-10 and 15-20 cm). Soil water retention curves were modelled using a nonlinear mixed model which appropriately accounts for uncertainties inherent of spatial variability and repeated measurements taken within a specific soil sample. We found an increase in plant available water in the upper soil layer proportional to the rate of biochar, with about 0.8% for each t ha-1 of biochar amendment at 2 and 3 years after application. The impact of biochar on soil WRC was most likely related to an increase in overall porosity of the sandy soil, which was evident from an increase in saturated soil moisture and macro porosity with 0.5% and 1.6% for each t ha-1 of biochar applied, respectively. The increment in soil WRC did not translate into an increase in rice yield, essentially because in both seasons the amount of rainfall during critical period for rice production exceeded 650 mm. The use of biochar as a soil amendment can be a worthy strategy to guarantee yield stability under water limited conditions. Our findings raise the importance of assessing the feasibility of very high application rates of biochar and the inclusion of a detailed analysis of its physical and chemical properties as part of future investigations.

  3. Overexpression of a pH-sensitive nitrate transporter in rice increases crop yields

    PubMed Central

    Fan, Xiaorong; Tang, Zhong; Tan, Yawen; Zhang, Yong; Luo, Bingbing; Yang, Meng; Lian, Xingming; Shen, Qirong; Miller, Anthony John; Xu, Guohua

    2016-01-01

    Cellular pH homeostasis is fundamental for life, and all cells adapt to maintain this balance. In plants, the chemical form of nitrogen supply, nitrate and ammonium, is one of the cellular pH dominators. We report that the rice nitrate transporter OsNRT2.3 is transcribed into two spliced isoforms with a natural variation in expression ratio. One splice form, OsNRT2.3b is located on the plasma membrane, is expressed mainly in the phloem, and has a regulatory motif on the cytosolic side that acts to switch nitrate transport activity on or off by a pH-sensing mechanism. High OsNRT2.3b expression in rice enhances the pH-buffering capacity of the plant, increasing N, Fe, and P uptake. In field trials, increased expression of OsNRT2.3b improved grain yield and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) by 40%. These results indicate that pH sensing by the rice nitrate transporter OsNRT2.3b is important for plant adaption to varied N supply forms and can provide a target for improving NUE. PMID:27274069

  4. Overexpression of a pH-sensitive nitrate transporter in rice increases crop yields.

    PubMed

    Fan, Xiaorong; Tang, Zhong; Tan, Yawen; Zhang, Yong; Luo, Bingbing; Yang, Meng; Lian, Xingming; Shen, Qirong; Miller, Anthony John; Xu, Guohua

    2016-06-28

    Cellular pH homeostasis is fundamental for life, and all cells adapt to maintain this balance. In plants, the chemical form of nitrogen supply, nitrate and ammonium, is one of the cellular pH dominators. We report that the rice nitrate transporter OsNRT2.3 is transcribed into two spliced isoforms with a natural variation in expression ratio. One splice form, OsNRT2.3b is located on the plasma membrane, is expressed mainly in the phloem, and has a regulatory motif on the cytosolic side that acts to switch nitrate transport activity on or off by a pH-sensing mechanism. High OsNRT2.3b expression in rice enhances the pH-buffering capacity of the plant, increasing N, Fe, and P uptake. In field trials, increased expression of OsNRT2.3b improved grain yield and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) by 40%. These results indicate that pH sensing by the rice nitrate transporter OsNRT2.3b is important for plant adaption to varied N supply forms and can provide a target for improving NUE.

  5. Experimental evidence that honeybees depress wild insect densities in a flowering crop.

    PubMed

    Lindström, Sandra A M; Herbertsson, Lina; Rundlöf, Maj; Bommarco, Riccardo; Smith, Henrik G

    2016-11-30

    While addition of managed honeybees (Apis mellifera) improves pollination of many entomophilous crops, it is unknown if it simultaneously suppresses the densities of wild insects through competition. To investigate this, we added 624 honeybee hives to 23 fields of oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) over 2 years and made sure that the areas around 21 other fields were free from honeybee hives. We demonstrate that honeybee addition depresses the densities of wild insects (bumblebees, solitary bees, hoverflies, marchflies, other flies, and other flying and flower-visiting insects) even in a massive flower resource such as oilseed rape. The effect was independent of the complexity of the surrounding landscape, but increased with the size of the crop field, which suggests that the effect was caused by spatial displacement of wild insects. Our results have potential implications both for the pollination of crops (if displacement of wild pollinators offsets benefits achieved by adding honeybees) and for conservation of wild insects (if displacement results in negative fitness consequences).

  6. Biofuels from crop residue can reduce soil carbon and increase CO2 emissions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liska, Adam J.; Yang, Haishun; Milner, Maribeth; Goddard, Steve; Blanco-Canqui, Humberto; Pelton, Matthew P.; Fang, Xiao X.; Zhu, Haitao; Suyker, Andrew E.

    2014-05-01

    Removal of corn residue for biofuels can decrease soil organic carbon (SOC; refs , ) and increase CO2 emissions because residue C in biofuels is oxidized to CO2 at a faster rate than when added to soil. Net CO2 emissions from residue removal are not adequately characterized in biofuel life cycle assessment (LCA; refs , , ). Here we used a model to estimate CO2 emissions from corn residue removal across the US Corn Belt at 580 million geospatial cells. To test the SOC model, we compared estimated daily CO2 emissions from corn residue and soil with CO2 emissions measured using eddy covariance, with 12% average error over nine years. The model estimated residue removal of 6 Mg per ha-1 yr-1 over five to ten years could decrease regional net SOC by an average of 0.47-0.66 Mg C ha-1 yr-1. These emissions add an average of 50-70 g CO2 per megajoule of biofuel (range 30-90) and are insensitive to the fraction of residue removed. Unless lost C is replaced, life cycle emissions will probably exceed the US legislative mandate of 60% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared with gasoline.

  7. Pollinator responses to floral colour change, nectar, and scent promote reproductive fitness in Quisqualis indica (Combretaceae).

    PubMed

    Yan, Juan; Wang, Gang; Sui, Yi; Wang, Menglin; Zhang, Ling

    2016-04-13

    Floral colour change is visual signals for pollinators to avoid old flowers and increase pollination efficiency. Quisqualis indica flowers change colour from white to pink to red may be associated with a shift from moth to butterfly pollination. To test this hypothesis, we investigated Q. indica populations in Southwest China. Flowers secreted nectar continuously from the evening of anthesis until the following morning, then decreased gradually with floral colour change. The scent compounds in the three floral colour stages were similar; however, the scent composition was different, and the scent emission rate decreased from the white to red stage. Dichogamy in Q. indica prevents self-pollination and interference of male and female functions. Controlled pollinations demonstrated that this species is self-incompatible and needs pollinators for seed production. Different pollinators were attracted in each floral colour stage; mainly moths at night and bees and butterflies during the day. Observations of open-pollinated inflorescences showed that white flowers had a higher fruit set than pink or red flowers, indicating the high contribution of moths to reproductive success. We concluded that the nectar and scent secretion are related to floral colour change in Q. indica, in order to attract different pollinators and promote reproductive fitness.

  8. Pollinator responses to floral colour change, nectar, and scent promote reproductive fitness in Quisqualis indica (Combretaceae)

    PubMed Central

    Yan, Juan; Wang, Gang; Sui, Yi; Wang, Menglin; Zhang, Ling

    2016-01-01

    Floral colour change is visual signals for pollinators to avoid old flowers and increase pollination efficiency. Quisqualis indica flowers change colour from white to pink to red may be associated with a shift from moth to butterfly pollination. To test this hypothesis, we investigated Q. indica populations in Southwest China. Flowers secreted nectar continuously from the evening of anthesis until the following morning, then decreased gradually with floral colour change. The scent compounds in the three floral colour stages were similar; however, the scent composition was different, and the scent emission rate decreased from the white to red stage. Dichogamy in Q. indica prevents self-pollination and interference of male and female functions. Controlled pollinations demonstrated that this species is self-incompatible and needs pollinators for seed production. Different pollinators were attracted in each floral colour stage; mainly moths at night and bees and butterflies during the day. Observations of open-pollinated inflorescences showed that white flowers had a higher fruit set than pink or red flowers, indicating the high contribution of moths to reproductive success. We concluded that the nectar and scent secretion are related to floral colour change in Q. indica, in order to attract different pollinators and promote reproductive fitness. PMID:27072926

  9. Pollination ecology and the possible impacts of environmental change in the Southwest Australian Biodiversity Hotspot

    PubMed Central

    Phillips, Ryan D.; Hopper, Stephen D.; Dixon, Kingsley W.

    2010-01-01

    The Southwest Australian Biodiversity Hotspot contains an exceptionally diverse flora on an ancient, low-relief but edaphically diverse landscape. Since European colonization, the primary threat to the flora has been habitat clearance, though climate change is an impending threat. Here, we review (i) the ecology of nectarivores and biotic pollination systems in the region, (ii) the evidence that trends in pollination strategies are a consequence of characteristics of the landscape, and (iii) based on these discussions, provide predictions to be tested on the impacts of environmental change on pollination systems. The flora of southwestern Australia has an exceptionally high level of vertebrate pollination, providing the advantage of highly mobile, generalist pollinators. Nectarivorous invertebrates are primarily generalist foragers, though an increasing number of colletid bees are being recognized as being specialized at the level of plant family or more rarely genus. While generalist pollination strategies dominate among insect-pollinated plants, there are some cases of extreme specialization, most notably the multiple evolutions of sexual deception in the Orchidaceae. Preliminary data suggest that bird pollination confers an advantage of greater pollen movement and may represent a mechanism for minimizing inbreeding in naturally fragmented populations. The effects of future environmental change are predicted to result from a combination of the resilience of pollination guilds and changes in their foraging and dispersal behaviour. PMID:20047877

  10. Pollination crisis in the butterfly-pollinated wild carnation Dianthus carthusianorum?

    PubMed

    Bloch, Daniel; Werdenberg, Niels; Erhardt, Andreas

    2006-01-01

    Knowledge of pollination services provided by flower visitors is a prerequisite for understanding (co)evolutionary processes between plants and their pollinators, for evaluating the degree of specialization in the pollination system, and for assessing threats from a potential pollination crisis. This study examined pollination efficiency and visitation frequency of pollinators--key traits of pollinator-mediated fecundity--in a natural population of the wild carnation Dianthus carthusianorum. The five lepidopteran pollinator species observed differed in pollination efficiency and visitation frequency. Pollinator importance, the product of pollination efficiency and visitation frequency, was determined by the pollinator's visitation frequency. Pollination of D. carthusianorum depended essentially on only two of the five recorded pollinator species. Seed set was pollen-limited and followed a saturating dose-response function with a threshold of c. 50 deposited pollen grains for fruit development. Our results confirm that D. carthusianorum is specialized to lepidopteran pollinators, but is not particularly adapted to the two main pollinator species identified. The local persistence of D. carthusianorum is likely to be at risk as its reproduction depends essentially on only two of the locally abundant, but generally vulnerable, butterfly species.

  11. Adaptive pattern of nectar volume within inflorescences: bumblebee foraging behavior and pollinator-mediated natural selection

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Zhigang; Lu, Ningna; Conner, Jeffrey K.

    2016-01-01

    Larger floral displays increase pollinator visitation as well as among-flower self-pollination (geitonogamy) in self-compatible species. Dichogamy (temporal separation of gender expression) can limit geitonogamy and increase outcrossing but this depends on pollinator behavior within inflorescences. Declining nectar volume from lower to upper flowers is a hypothesized adaptation to increase outcrossing and pollen export by encouraging the upward movment of pollinators from female to male flowers and by reducing the number of flowers probed per inflorescence, but supporting evidence has been equivocal. We tested this hypothesis in Aconitum gymnandrum by studying floral display and rewards, pollinator visitation, and pollinator-mediated selection on floral traits. We found that larger inflorescences of A. gymnandrum attracted more pollinators, but did not increase the number of flowers probed per visit. Nectar production declined with increasing flower height on average, but the opposite pattern was also common. Bumblebees responded strongly to the nectar pattern, moving from higher to lower nectar concentration. Finally, there was significant pollinator-mediated direct selection for this pattern of declining nectar volume after correcting for correlations with flower size, number, and mean nectar volume. Together, the results strongly suggest that declining nectar production in higher flowers is an adaptation to enhance outcrossing in A. gymnandrum. PMID:27687244

  12. Population size, pollination and phenotypic trait selection in Phyteuma spicatum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weber, Anne; Kolb, Annette

    2013-02-01

    Plants in small populations may receive fewer visits, smaller pollen loads or pollen of poorer quality and suffer from reduced reproductive success compared to plants in larger populations. Consequently, pollen limitation of plants in small populations has been suggested to result in the evolution of reduced reliance on pollinators or the enhancement of traits that attract pollinators. The main aim of this study was to experimentally quantify the strength of pollinator-mediated selection on floral display size and flowering phenology in populations of varying size, using the self-incompatible, perennial herb Phyteuma spicatum as study species. We conducted supplementary hand pollinations in six populations (ranging in size between ca. 20-3000 flowering individuals) over two consecutive years and assessed selection gradients (i.e., trait-fitness relationships) in open- and hand-pollinated plants. Our results show that some populations are pollen limited in some years, but, contrary to our expectation, the degree of pollen limitation was not significantly related to population size. We found phenotypic selection for increased inflorescence size (in most populations and in both years), but we obtained no or no strong evidence that selection was pollinator-mediated or that the strength of selection was related to population size. This may have been the result of low statistical power, an inherent problem of studies examining effects of population size that require the inclusion of populations with only few individuals. In addition, given that selection appeared to be spatially and temporally variable, abiotic or biotic factors other than pollinators may have contributed to selection on inflorescence size.

  13. A quantitative review of pollination syndromes: do floral traits predict effective pollinators?

    PubMed

    Rosas-Guerrero, Víctor; Aguilar, Ramiro; Martén-Rodríguez, Silvana; Ashworth, Lorena; Lopezaraiza-Mikel, Martha; Bastida, Jesús M; Quesada, Mauricio

    2014-03-01

    The idea of pollination syndromes has been largely discussed but no formal quantitative evaluation has yet been conducted across angiosperms. We present the first systematic review of pollination syndromes that quantitatively tests whether the most effective pollinators for a species can be inferred from suites of floral traits for 417 plant species. Our results support the syndrome concept, indicating that convergent floral evolution is driven by adaptation to the most effective pollinator group. The predictability of pollination syndromes is greater in pollinator-dependent species and in plants from tropical regions. Many plant species also have secondary pollinators that generally correspond to the ancestral pollinators documented in evolutionary studies. We discuss the utility and limitations of pollination syndromes and the role of secondary pollinators to understand floral ecology and evolution.

  14. Exploiting Co-Benefits of Increased Rice Production and Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emission through Optimized Crop and Soil Management.

    PubMed

    An, Ning; Fan, Mingsheng; Zhang, Fusuo; Christie, Peter; Yang, Jianchang; Huang, Jianliang; Guo, Shiwei; Shi, Xiaojun; Tang, Qiyuan; Peng, Jianwei; Zhong, Xuhua; Sun, Yixiang; Lv, Shihua; Jiang, Rongfeng; Dobermann, Achim

    2015-01-01

    Meeting the future food security challenge without further sacrificing environmental integrity requires transformative changes in managing the key biophysical determinants of increasing agronomic productivity and reducing the environmental footprint. Here, we focus on Chinese rice production and quantitatively address this concern by conducting 403 on-farm trials across diverse rice farming systems. Inherent soil productivity, management practices and rice farming type resulted in confounded and interactive effects on yield, yield gaps and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (N2O, CH4 and CO2-equivalent) with both trade-offs and compensating effects. Advances in nitrogen, water and crop management (Best Management Practices-BMPs) helped closing existing yield gaps and resulted in a substantial reduction in CO2-equivalent emission of rice farming despite a tradeoff of increase N2O emission. However, inherent soil properties limited rice yields to a larger extent than previously known. Cultivating inherently better soil also led to lower GHG intensity (GHG emissions per unit yield). Neither adopting BMPs only nor improving soils with low or moderate productivity alone can adequately address the challenge of substantially increasing rice production while reducing the environmental footprint. A combination of both represents the most efficient strategy to harness the combined-benefits of enhanced production and mitigating climate change. Extrapolating from our farm data, this strategy could increase rice production in China by 18%, which would meet the demand for direct human consumption of rice by 2030. It would also reduce fertilizer nitrogen consumption by 22% and decrease CO2-equivalent emissions during the rice growing period by 7% compared with current farming practice continues. Benefits vary by rice-based cropping systems. Single rice systems have the largest food provision benefits due to its wider yield gap and total cultivated area, whereas double-rice system

  15. Exploiting Co-Benefits of Increased Rice Production and Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emission through Optimized Crop and Soil Management

    PubMed Central

    An, Ning; Fan, Mingsheng; Zhang, Fusuo; Christie, Peter; Yang, Jianchang; Huang, Jianliang; Guo, Shiwei; Shi, Xiaojun; Tang, Qiyuan; Peng, Jianwei; Zhong, Xuhua; Sun, Yixiang; Lv, Shihua; Jiang, Rongfeng; Dobermann, Achim

    2015-01-01

    Meeting the future food security challenge without further sacrificing environmental integrity requires transformative changes in managing the key biophysical determinants of increasing agronomic productivity and reducing the environmental footprint. Here, we focus on Chinese rice production and quantitatively address this concern by conducting 403 on-farm trials across diverse rice farming systems. Inherent soil productivity, management practices and rice farming type resulted in confounded and interactive effects on yield, yield gaps and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (N2O, CH4 and CO2-equivalent) with both trade-offs and compensating effects. Advances in nitrogen, water and crop management (Best Management Practices—BMPs) helped closing existing yield gaps and resulted in a substantial reduction in CO2-equivalent emission of rice farming despite a tradeoff of increase N2O emission. However, inherent soil properties limited rice yields to a larger extent than previously known. Cultivating inherently better soil also led to lower GHG intensity (GHG emissions per unit yield). Neither adopting BMPs only nor improving soils with low or moderate productivity alone can adequately address the challenge of substantially increasing rice production while reducing the environmental footprint. A combination of both represents the most efficient strategy to harness the combined-benefits of enhanced production and mitigating climate change. Extrapolating from our farm data, this strategy could increase rice production in China by 18%, which would meet the demand for direct human consumption of rice by 2030. It would also reduce fertilizer nitrogen consumption by 22% and decrease CO2-equivalent emissions during the rice growing period by 7% compared with current farming practice continues. Benefits vary by rice-based cropping systems. Single rice systems have the largest food provision benefits due to its wider yield gap and total cultivated area, whereas double-rice system

  16. Evolutionary dynamics of a cycad obligate pollination mutualism - Pattern and process in extant Macrozamia cycads and their specialist thrips pollinators.

    PubMed

    Brookes, D R; Hereward, J P; Terry, L I; Walter, G H

    2015-12-01

    Obligate pollination mutualisms are rare and few have been investigated deeply. This paper focuses on one such mutualism involving thrips in the genus Cycadothrips that pollinate cycads in the genus Macrozamia. Both represent old lineages relative to insects and plants generally, are endemic to Australia, and are mutually co-dependent. The phylogenetic analyses presented here demonstrate that the pollinator is much more diverse than previously considered, with each pollinator lineage being extremely specific to between one and three host species where these latter share part of their distribution. The new species diversity we demonstrate in Cycadothrips all presently falls under the species name C. chadwicki, and these different lineages diversified during two periods. An older divergence, beginning 7.3Mya (4.4-11.1, 95% HPD), resulted in three major lineages, and then further diversification within each of these three lineages took place at most 1.1Mya (0.6-1.8, 95% HPD). These divergence estimates correspond to times when aridification was increasing in Australia, suggesting that population fragmentation following climatic change has played a significant role in the evolutionary history of Cycadothrips and Macrozamia. This means that co-diversification of the host and pollinator in allopatry appears to be the dominant process affecting species diversity. Host switching is also clearly evident in the discrepancy between the divergence times of the C. chadwicki lineage and C. albrechti, about 10.8Mya (6.0-17.1, 95% HPD), and their hosts, at about 1.1Mya (0.2-3.4Mya, 95% HPD), in that the pollinator split pre-dates the origin of the associated host species of each. These results add to the body of evidence that the evolutionary processes important in obligate pollinator mutualisms are more varied than previously assumed.

  17. Pollinator scarcity drives the shift to delayed selfing in Himalayan mayapple Podophyllum hexandrum (Berberidaceae)

    PubMed Central

    Xiong, Ying-Ze; Fang, Qiang; Huang, Shuang-Quan

    2013-01-01

    Recent molecular phylogenetics have indicated that American mayapple (mainly self-incompatible, SI) and Himalayan mayapple, which was considered to be self-compatible (SC), are sister species with disjunct distribution between eastern Asia and eastern North America. We test a hypothesis that the persistence of this early spring flowering herb in the Himalayan region is attributable to the transition from SI to SC, the capacity for selfing in an unpredictable pollination environment. Pollinator observations were conducted in an alpine meadow with hundreds of Himalayan mayapple (Podophyllum hexandrum Royle) individuals over 2 years. To examine autogamy, seed set under different pollination treatments was compared. To clarify whether automatic self-pollination is achieved by movement of the pistil as a previous study suggested, we measured incline angles of the pistil and observed flower movement during anthesis using video. Floral visitors to the nectarless flowers were very rare, but solitary bees and honeybees could be potential pollinators. Seed set of bagged flowers was not significantly different from that of open-pollinated, self- or cross-pollinated flowers. However, removal of petals or stamens lowered seed yield. The angles of inclination of pistils did not change during the process of pollination. Automatic self-pollination was facilitated by petals closing and stamens moving simultaneously to contact the stigma. Stigmatic pollen load increased little during the day time, in contrast to a sharp increase when the flowers closed during the night-time. These observations indicated that Himalayan mayapple was SC and delayed self-pollination was facilitated by the movement of petals rather than the pistil. Compared with SI American mayapple, no obvious inbreeding depression in SC Himalayan mayapple may contribute its existence in the uplifting zone. A scarcity of pollinators may have driven the shift to delayed selfing in P. hexandrum.

  18. Variation of Pollinator Assemblages and Pollen Limitation in a Locally Specialized System: The Oil-producing Nierembergia linariifolia (Solanaceae)

    PubMed Central

    Cosacov, Andrea; Nattero, Julieta; Cocucci, Andrea A.

    2008-01-01

    Background and Aims Few studies have examined the dynamics of specialist plant–pollinator interactions at a geographical scale. This knowledge is crucial for a more general evolutionary and ecological understanding of specialized plant–pollinator systems. In the present study, variations in pollinator activity, assemblage composition and pollen limitation were explored in the oil-producing species Nierembergia linariifolia (Solanaceae). Methods Pollen limitation in fruit and seed production was analysed by supplementary hand pollination in five wild populations. Pollinator activity and identity were recorded while carrying out supplementary pollination to assess the effect of pollinators on the degree of pollen limitation. In two populations, pollen limitation was discriminated into quantitative and qualitative components by comparing supplementation and hand cross-pollination in fruit set and seed set. The effect of flower number per plant on the number of flowers pollinated per visitor per visit to a plant was examined in one of these populations as a possible cause of low-quality pollination by increasing geitonogamy. Results and Conclusions Although pollen limitation was evident along time and space, differences in magnitude were detected among populations and years that were greatly explained by pollinator activity, which was significantly different across populations. Floral display size had a significant effect on the visitation rate per flower. Limitation by quality clearly affected one population presumably due to a high proportion of geitonogamous pollen. The great inter-population variation in plant–pollinator interaction (both in pollinator assemblages composition and pollinator activity) and fitness consequences, suggests that this system should be viewed as a mosaic of locally selective processes and locally specialized interactions. PMID:18765440

  19. Efficiency losses in the pollination services market: A data envelopment analysis

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Honeybees, mainly known for producing honey, also provide critical ecosystems services (Goulson, 2003; Potts et al., 2010). Their pollination is vital to the production of numerous cash crops that the U.S.’s agricultural sector depends on, particularly almonds (Aizen and Harder 2009, Bond et al. 201...

  20. Mating patterns and pollinator mobility are critical traits in forest fragmentation genetics.

    PubMed

    Breed, M F; Ottewell, K M; Gardner, M G; Marklund, M H K; Dormontt, E E; Lowe, A J

    2015-08-01

    Most woody plants are animal-pollinated, but the global problem of habitat fragmentation is changing the pollination dynamics. Consequently, the genetic diversity and fitness of the progeny of animal-pollinated woody plants sired in fragmented landscapes tend to decline due to shifts in plant-mating patterns (for example, reduced outcrossing rate, pollen diversity). However, the magnitude of this mating-pattern shift should theoretically be a function of pollinator mobility. We first test this hypothesis by exploring the mating patterns of three ecologically divergent eucalypts sampled across a habitat fragmentation gradient in southern Australia. We demonstrate increased selfing and decreased pollen diversity with increased fragmentation for two small-insect-pollinated eucalypts, but no such relationship for the mobile-bird-pollinated eucalypt. In a meta-analysis, we then show that fragmentation generally does increase selfing rates and decrease pollen diversity, and that more mobile pollinators tended to dampen these mating-pattern shifts. Together, our findings support the premise that variation in pollinator form contributes to the diversity of mating-pattern responses to habitat fragmentation.

  1. Bumble bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) activity and pollination levels in commercial tomato greenhouses.

    PubMed

    Morandin, L A; Laverty, T M; Kevan, P G

    2001-04-01

    Commercial greenhouse studies were conducted to assess levels of pollination of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) flowers in relation to bumble bee (Bombus impatiens Cresson) colony activity and colony densities. For the assessment of pollination levels of tomato flowers, five categories were defined based on bruising levels caused by bumble bee pollination. Colony activity was measured as bee trips per ha/d using electric powered photodiode monitors inserted into the hive entrance. Levels of pollination were positively correlated with bee activity levels, up to a mean of approximately 400 pollen grains per stigma per day, after which greater activity did not result in further increases in daily pollination levels. Densities of colonies in the commercial greenhouses studied ranged from 7.6 to 19.8 colonies per hectare with a mean of 11.6 +/- 0.9. We found that an average activity of 2,000 bee trips per hectare per day was more than adequate to ensure sufficient pollination, and that this level of activity could be achieved with 7-15 colonies per hectare, depending on greenhouse conditions. Greenhouses requiring >15 colonies per hectare to achieve this level of pollination may be able to increase bee activity through alteration of greenhouse conditions. Across 50-m rows of tomato plants, levels of pollination decreased with increasing distance from bee colonies, suggesting that colonies should be evenly distributed throughout the greenhouses.

  2. A photorespiratory bypass increases plant growth and seed yield in biofuel crop Camelina sativa

    SciTech Connect

    Dalal, Jyoti; Lopez, Harry; Vasani, Naresh B.; Hu, Zhaohui; Swift, Jennifer E.; Yalamanchili, Roopa; Dvora, Mia; Lin, Xiuli; Xie, Deyu; Qu, Rongda; Sederoff, Heike W.

    2015-10-29

    Camelina sativa is an oilseed crop with great potential for biofuel production on marginal land. The seed oil from camelina has been converted to jet fuel and improved fuel efficiency in commercial and military test flights. Hydrogenation-derived renewable diesel from camelina is environmentally superior to that from canola due to lower agricultural inputs, and the seed meal is FDA approved for animal consumption. However, relatively low yield makes its farming less profitable. Our study is aimed at increasing camelina seed yield by reducing carbon loss from photorespiration via a photorespiratory bypass. Genes encoding three enzymes of the Escherichia coli glycolate catabolic pathway were introduced: glycolate dehydrogenase (GDH), glyoxylate carboxyligase (GCL) and tartronic semialdehyde reductase (TSR). These enzymes compete for the photorespiratory substrate, glycolate, convert it to glycerate within the chloroplasts, and reduce photorespiration. As a by-product of the reaction, CO2 is released in the chloroplast, which increases photosynthesis. Camelina plants were transformed with either partial bypass (GDH), or full bypass (GDH, GCL and TSR) genes. Furthermore, transgenic plants were evaluated for physiological and metabolic traits.

  3. Pollination biology and outcrossing rates in hermaphroditic Schiedea lydgatei (Caryophyllaceae).

    PubMed

    Norman, J; Weller, S; Sakai, A

    1997-05-01

    The influence of outcrossing and pollination biology on the maintenance of hermaphroditism was studied for Schiedea lydgatei (Caryophyllaceae: Alsinoideae), a species endemic to Moloka`i in the Hawaiian Islands. Schiedea lydgatei is the only hermaphroditic species in an otherwise dimorphic clade and hermaphroditism is likely the result of a reversal from a gynodioecious ancestor. Both wind and native moths in the family Pyralidae are responsible for pollination in S. lydgatei. Outcrossing rates were generally high (0.80), especially in years when the greatest number of plants were flowering. The combination of high outcrossing rates and substantial inbreeding depression indicates that at present females would not be favored in the population. Pollination by both wind and insects is consistent with the hypothesis that hermaphroditism is the result of a relatively recent reversal, as the ancestor of S. lydgatei was probably wind pollinated and gynodioecious with few females in the populations. A shift from wind to predominately insect pollination on Moloka`i may have resulted in increased outcrossing rates and prevented the expression of high inbreeding depression among progeny of hermaphrodites, a condition that would select against females and favor a reversal to hermaphroditism. Because few females were likely to have been present in ancestral populations that colonized Moloka`i, founder effect is another potential explanation for loss of females. In either case, current high levels of outcrossing prevent re-establishment of females in populations of S. lydgatei.

  4. Identification of major quantitative trait loci underlying floral pollination syndrome divergence in Penstemon.

    PubMed

    Wessinger, Carolyn A; Hileman, Lena C; Rausher, Mark D

    2014-08-05

    Distinct floral pollination syndromes have emerged multiple times during the diversification of flowering plants. For example, in western North America, a hummingbird pollination syndrome has evolved more than 100 times, generally from within insect-pollinated lineages. The hummingbird syndrome is characterized by a suite of floral traits that attracts and facilitates pollen movement by hummingbirds, while at the same time discourages bee visitation. These floral traits generally include large nectar volume, red flower colour, elongated and narrow corolla tubes and reproductive organs that are exerted from the corolla. A handful of studies have examined the genetic architecture of hummingbird pollination syndrome evolution. These studies find that mutations of relatively large effect often explain increased nectar volume and transition to red flower colour. In addition, they suggest that adaptive suites of floral traits may often exhibit a high degree of genetic linkage, which could facilitate their fixation during pollination syndrome evolution. Here, we explore these emerging generalities by investigating the genetic basis of floral pollination syndrome divergence between two related Penstemon species with different pollination syndromes--bee-pollinated P. neomexicanus and closely related hummingbird-pollinated P. barbatus. In an F2 mapping population derived from a cross between these two species, we characterized the effect size of genetic loci underlying floral trait divergence associated with the transition to bird pollination, as well as correlation structure of floral trait variation. We find the effect sizes of quantitative trait loci for adaptive floral traits are in line with patterns observed in previous studies, and find strong evidence that suites of floral traits are genetically linked. This linkage may be due to genetic proximity or pleiotropic effects of single causative loci. Interestingly, our data suggest that the evolution of floral traits

  5. Predominance of self-compatibility in hummingbird-pollinated plants in the Neotropics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolowski, Marina; Saad, Carolina Farias; Ashman, Tia-Lynn; Freitas, Leandro

    2013-01-01

    Both plant traits and plant-pollinator interactions are thought to influence plant mating systems. For hummingbird-pollinated plants, foraging strategy (territorial or traplining) is also expected to influence plant mating. We hypothesize that the traplining behavior of hermits promotes outcrossing, whereas the behavior of non-hermits favours self-incompatibility. Thus, selection is expected to maintain self-incompatibility in plants pollinated by non-hermits. We explore the incidence of self-incompatibility in Neotropical hummingbird-pollinated plants and its association with hummingbird behavior and plant traits. We conducted a literature review (56 species) and performed hand-pollination experiments in 27 hummingbird-pollinated plants in an Atlantic rainforest. We found that self-incompatibility (measured as <0.3 for the Index of Self-incompatibility [ISI]) occurred in only 33 % of the Neotropical hummingbird-pollinated plants. The interaction of hummingbird and habit type affected ISI, as did phylogenetic relationships. Specifically, herbs pollinated by non-hermits had higher ISI than woody plants pollinated by non-hermits, and herbs pollinated by both hermits and non-hermits. For the Atlantic rainforest plant guild, 30 % of the species were self-incompatible. ISI was higher in herbs than in woody species and increased with plant aggregation but was not dependent on foraging behavior, plant density, or floral display. Although hummingbirds differ in their foraging strategies, these behavioral differences seem to have only a minor influence on the incidence of self-incompatibility. Phylogenetic relatedness seems to be the strongest determinant of mating system in Neotropical hummingbird-pollinated plants.

  6. Predominance of self-compatibility in hummingbird-pollinated plants in the Neotropics.

    PubMed

    Wolowski, Marina; Saad, Carolina Farias; Ashman, Tia-Lynn; Freitas, Leandro

    2013-01-01

    Both plant traits and plant-pollinator interactions are thought to influence plant mating systems. For hummingbird-pollinated plants, foraging strategy (territorial or traplining) is also expected to influence plant mating. We hypothesize that the traplining behavior of hermits promotes outcrossing, whereas the behavior of non-hermits favours self-incompatibility. Thus, selection is expected to maintain self-incompatibility in plants pollinated by non-hermits. We explore the incidence of self-incompatibility in Neotropical hummingbird-pollinated plants and its association with hummingbird behavior and plant traits. We conducted a literature review (56 species) and performed hand-pollination experiments in 27 hummingbird-pollinated plants in an Atlantic rainforest. We found that self-incompatibility (measured as <0.3 for the Index of Self-incompatibility [ISI]) occurred in only 33 % of the Neotropical hummingbird-pollinated plants. The interaction of hummingbird and habit type affected ISI, as did phylogenetic relationships. Specifically, herbs pollinated by non-hermits had higher ISI than woody plants pollinated by non-hermits, and herbs pollinated by both hermits and non-hermits. For the Atlantic rainforest plant guild, 30 % of the species were self-incompatible. ISI was higher in herbs than in woody species and increased with plant aggregation but was not dependent on foraging behavior, plant density, or floral display. Although hummingbirds differ in their foraging strategies, these behavioral differences seem to have only a minor influence on the incidence of self-incompatibility. Phylogenetic relatedness seems to be the strongest determinant of mating system in Neotropical hummingbird-pollinated plants.

  7. Identification of major quantitative trait loci underlying floral pollination syndrome divergence in Penstemon

    PubMed Central

    Wessinger, Carolyn A.; Hileman, Lena C.; Rausher, Mark D.

    2014-01-01

    Distinct floral pollination syndromes have emerged multiple times during the diversification of flowering plants. For example, in western North America, a hummingbird pollination syndrome has evolved more than 100 times, generally from within insect-pollinated lineages. The hummingbird syndrome is characterized by a suite of floral traits that attracts and facilitates pollen movement by hummingbirds, while at the same time discourages bee visitation. These floral traits generally include large nectar volume, red flower colour, elongated and narrow corolla tubes and reproductive organs that are exerted from the corolla. A handful of studies have examined the genetic architecture of hummingbird pollination syndrome evolution. These studies find that mutations of relatively large effect often explain increased nectar volume and transition to red flower colour. In addition, they suggest that adaptive suites of floral traits may often exhibit a high degree of genetic linkage, which could facilitate their fixation during pollination syndrome evolution. Here, we explore these emerging generalities by investigating the genetic basis of floral pollination syndrome divergence between two related Penstemon species with different pollination syndromes—bee-pollinated P. neomexicanus and closely related hummingbird-pollinated P. barbatus. In an F2 mapping population derived from a cross between these two species, we characterized the effect size of genetic loci underlying floral trait divergence associated with the transition to bird pollination, as well as correlation structure of floral trait variation. We find the effect sizes of quantitative trait loci for adaptive floral traits are in line with patterns observed in previous studies, and find strong evidence that suites of floral traits are genetically linked. This linkage may be due to genetic proximity or pleiotropic effects of single causative loci. Interestingly, our data suggest that the evolution of floral traits

  8. Tropical Forest Fragmentation Affects Floral Visitors but Not the Structure of Individual-Based Palm-Pollinator Networks

    PubMed Central

    Dáttilo, Wesley; Aguirre, Armando; Quesada, Mauricio; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2015-01-01

    Despite increasing knowledge about the effects of habitat loss on pollinators in natural landscapes, information is very limited regarding the underlying mechanisms of forest fragmentation affecting plant-pollinator interactions in such landscapes. Here, we used a network approach to describe the effects of forest fragmentation on the patterns of interactions involving the understory dominant palm Astrocaryum mexicanum (Arecaceae) and its floral visitors (including both effective and non-effective pollinators) at the individual level in a Mexican tropical rainforest landscape. Specifically, we asked: (i) Does fragment size affect the structure of individual-based plant-pollinator networks? (ii) Does the core of highly interacting visitor species change along the fragmentation size gradient? (iii) Does forest fragment size influence the abundance of effective pollinators of A. mexicanum? We found that fragment size did not affect the topological structure of the individual-based palm-pollinator network. Furthermore, while the composition of peripheral non-effective pollinators changed depending on fragment size, effective core generalist species of pollinators remained stable. We also observed that both abundance and variance of effective pollinators of male and female flowers of A. mexicanum increased with forest fragment size. These findings indicate that the presence of effective pollinators in the core of all forest fragments could keep the network structure stable along the gradient of forest fragmentation. In addition, pollination of A. mexicanum could be more effective in larger fragments, since the greater abundance of pollinators in these fragments may increase the amount of pollen and diversity of pollen donors between flowers of individual plants. Given the prevalence of fragmentation in tropical ecosystems, our results indicate that the current patterns of land use will have consequences on the underlying mechanisms of pollination in remnant forests

  9. Tropical forest fragmentation affects floral visitors but not the structure of individual-based palm-pollinator networks.

    PubMed

    Dáttilo, Wesley; Aguirre, Armando; Quesada, Mauricio; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2015-01-01

    Despite increasing knowledge about the effects of habitat loss on pollinators in natural landscapes, information is very limited regarding the underlying mechanisms of forest fragmentation affecting plant-pollinator interactions in such landscapes. Here, we used a network approach to describe the effects of forest fragmentation on the patterns of interactions involving the understory dominant palm Astrocaryum mexicanum (Arecaceae) and its floral visitors (including both effective and non-effective pollinators) at the individual level in a Mexican tropical rainforest landscape. Specifically, we asked: (i) Does fragment size affect the structure of individual-based plant-pollinator networks? (ii) Does the core of highly interacting visitor species change along the fragmentation size gradient? (iii) Does forest fragment size influence the abundance of effective pollinators of A. mexicanum? We found that fragment size did not affect the topological structure of the individual-based palm-pollinator network. Furthermore, while the composition of peripheral non-effective pollinators changed depending on fragment size, effective core generalist species of pollinators remained stable. We also observed that both abundance and variance of effective pollinators of male and female flowers of A. mexicanum increased with forest fragment size. These findings indicate that the presence of effective pollinators in the core of all forest fragments could keep the network structure stable along the gradient of forest fragmentation. In addition, pollination of A. mexicanum could be more effective in larger fragments, since the greater abundance of pollinators in these fragments may increase the amount of pollen and diversity of pollen donors between flowers of individual plants. Given the prevalence of fragmentation in tropical ecosystems, our results indicate that the current patterns of land use will have consequences on the underlying mechanisms of pollination in remnant forests.

  10. Sunbird pollination of Strelitzia nicolai.

    PubMed

    Frost, S K; Frost, P G H

    1981-07-01

    The role of sunbirds (Nectariniidae) in the pollination ecology of Strelitzia nicolai (Musaceae) was studied for one year in a coastal dune forest in Zululand, South Africa. It was found that S. nicolai produced large quantities of low quality nectar (1.74 j/μl); that nectar production was highest during the day-time; and that the flowers displayed several characteristics attractive to bird-visitors. The flowers were large, conspicuous and provided the birds with a perch, facilitating easy access to the nectar. Flowers were visited by four species of sunbirds: Olive Sunbird Nectarinia olivacea, Grey Sunbird N. veroxii, Black Sunbird N. amethystina, and Collared Sunbird Anthreptes collaris. Sunbirds visited the flowers throughout the year, and apparently cued into changes in the flower angle as an indication of nectar flow rates. Sunbirds perched on the flowers in a manner which effected pollination, the pollen being transferred to the stigma via the birds' feet. Besides the sunbirds, there were other visitors (bushbabies, monkeys and insects) to the flowers, but they did not visit the flowers frequently nor did they appear to be significant pollinators. The high seed set of S. nicolai in the study area attests to the efficacy of the sunbirds as pollinators.

  11. Pollination system and the effect of inflorescence size on fruit set in the deceptive orchid Cephalanthera falcata.

    PubMed

    Suetsugu, Kenji; Naito, Risa S; Fukushima, Shigeki; Kawakita, Atsushi; Kato, Makoto

    2015-07-01

    Larger inflorescences in reward-producing plants can benefit plants by increasing both pollinator attraction and the duration of visits by individual pollinators. However, ultimately, inflorescence size is determined by the balance between the benefits of large inflorescences and the increased cost of geitonogamy. At present, little is known about the relationship between inflorescence size and fecundity in deceptive plants. Given that pollinators are likely to leave inflorescences lacking rewards quickly, it seems unlikely that longer pollinator visits and the risk of geitonogamy would be strong selective pressures in these species, which indicates that pollinator attraction might be the most important factor influencing their inflorescence size. Here we examined the pollination ecology of the deceptive orchid Cephalanthera falcata in order to clarify the effects of inflorescence size on the fruit set of this non-rewarding species. Field observations of the floral visitors showed that C. falcata is pollinated by the andrenid bee Andrena aburana, whilst pollination experiments demonstrated that this orchid species is neither autogamous nor apogamous, but is strongly pollinator dependent. Three consecutive years of field observations revealed that fruit set was positively correlated with the number of flowers per inflorescence. These results provide strong evidence that the nectarless orchid C. falcata benefits from producing larger inflorescences that attract a greater number of innate pollinators. Large inflorescences may have a greater positive effect on fruit set in deceptive plants because a growing number of studies suggest that fruit set in reward-producing plants is usually unaffected by display size.

  12. Relating geographical variation in pollination types to environmental and spatial factors using novel statistical methods.

    PubMed

    Kühn, Ingolf; Bierman, Stijn Martinus; Durka, Walter; Klotz, Stefan

    2006-01-01

    The relative frequencies of functional traits of plant species show notable spatial variation, which is often related to environmental factors. Pollination type (insect-, wind- or self-pollination) is a critical trait for plant reproduction and provision of ecosystem services. Here, we mapped the distribution of pollination types across Germany by combining databases on plant distribution and plant pollination types. Applying a new method, we modelled the composition of pollination types using a set of 12 environmental variables as predictors within a Bayesian framework which allows for the analysis of compositional data in the presence of spatial autocorrelation. A clear biogeographical pattern in the distribution of pollination types was revealed which was adequately captured by our model. The most striking relationship was a relative increase in insect-pollination and a corresponding decrease of selfing with increasing altitude. Further important factors were wind speed, geology and land use. We present a powerful tool to analyse the distribution patterns of plant functional types such as pollination types and their relationship with environmental parameters in a spatially explicit framework.

  13. Early steps of angiosperm pollinator coevolution.

    PubMed

    Hu, Shusheng; Dilcher, David L; Jarzen, David M; Winship Taylor, David

    2008-01-08

    The hypothesis that early flowering plants were insect-pollinated could be tested by an examination of the pollination biology of basal angiosperms and the pollination modes of fossil angiosperms. We provide data to show that early fossil angiosperms were insect-pollinated. Eighty-six percent of 29 extant basal angiosperm families have species that are zoophilous (of which 34% are specialized) and 17% of the families have species that are wind-pollinated, whereas basal eudicot families and basal monocot families more commonly have wind and specialized pollination modes (up to 78%). Character reconstruction based on recent molecular trees of angiosperms suggests that the most parsimonious result is that zoophily is the ancestral state. Combining pollen ornamentation, size, and aperture characteristics and the abundance of single-species pollen clumps of Cenomanian angiosperm-dispersed pollen species from the Dakota Formation demonstrates a dominance of zoophilous pollination (76% versus 24% wind pollination). The zoophilous pollen species have adaptations for pollination by generalist insects (39%), specialized pollen-collecting insects (27%), and other specialized pollinators (10%). These data quantify the presences of more specialized pollination modes during the mid-Cretaceous angiosperm diversification.

  14. New frontiers in competition for pollination

    PubMed Central

    Mitchell, Randall J.; Flanagan, Rebecca J.; Brown, Beverly J.; Waser, Nickolas M.; Karron, Jeffrey D.

    2009-01-01

    Background Co-flowering plant species frequently share pollinators. Pollinator sharing is often detrimental to one or more of these species, leading to competition for pollination. Perhaps because it offers an intriguing juxtaposition of ecological opposites – mutualism and competition – within one relatively tractable system, competition for pollination has captured the interest of ecologists for over a century. Scope Our intent is to contemplate exciting areas for further work on competition for pollination, rather than to exhaustively review past studies. After a brief historical summary, we present a conceptual framework that incorporates many aspects of competition for pollination, involving both the quantity and quality of pollination services, and both female and male sex functions of flowers. Using this framework, we contemplate a relatively subtle mechanism of competition involving pollen loss, and consider how competition might affect plant mating systems, overall reproductive success and multi-species interactions. We next consider how competition for pollination might be altered by several emerging consequences of a changing planet, including the spread of alien species, climate change and pollinator declines. Most of these topics represent new frontiers whose exploration has just begun. Conclusions Competition for pollination has served as a model for the integration of ecological and evolutionary perspectives in the study of species interactions. Its study has elucidated both obvious and more subtle mechanisms, and has documented a range of outcomes. However, the potential for this interaction to inform our understanding of both pure and applied aspects of pollination biology has only begun to be realized. PMID:19304814

  15. Early steps of angiosperm–pollinator coevolution

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Shusheng; Dilcher, David L.; Jarzen, David M.; Winship Taylor, David

    2008-01-01

    The hypothesis that early flowering plants were insect-pollinated could be tested by an examination of the pollination biology of basal angiosperms and the pollination modes of fossil angiosperms. We provide data to show that early fossil angiosperms were insect-pollinated. Eighty-six percent of 29 extant basal angiosperm families have species that are zoophilous (of which 34% are specialized) and 17% of the families have species that are wind-pollinated, whereas basal eudicot families and basal monocot families more commonly have wind and specialized pollination modes (up to 78%). Character reconstruction based on recent molecular trees of angiosperms suggests that the most parsimonious result is that zoophily is the ancestral state. Combining pollen ornamentation, size, and aperture characteristics and the abundance of single-species pollen clumps of Cenomanian angiosperm-dispersed pollen species from the Dakota Formation demonstrates a dominance of zoophilous pollination (76% versus 24% wind pollination). The zoophilous pollen species have adaptations for pollination by generalist insects (39%), specialized pollen-collecting insects (27%), and other specialized pollinators (10%). These data quantify the presences of more specialized pollination modes during the mid-Cretaceous angiosperm diversification. PMID:18172206

  16. Potential for increased photosynthetic performance and crop productivity in response to climate change: role of CBFs and gibberellic acid

    PubMed Central

    Hüner, Norman P. A.; Dahal, Keshav; Kurepin, Leonid V.; Savitch, Leonid; Singh, Jas; Ivanov, Alexander G.; Kane, Khalil; Sarhan, Fathey

    2014-01-01

    We propose that targeting the enhanced photosynthetic performance associated with the cold acclimation of winter cultivars of rye (Secale cereale L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and Brassica napus L. may provide a novel approach to improve crop productivity under abiotic as well as biotic stress conditions. In support of this hypothesis, we provide the physiological, biochemical, and molecular evidence that the dwarf phenotype induced by cold acclimation is coupled to significant enhancement in photosynthetic performance, resistance to photoinhibition, and a decreased dependence on photoprotection through non-photochemical quenching which result in enhanced biomass production and ultimately increased seed yield. These system-wide changes at the levels of phenotype, physiology, and biochemistry appear to be governed by the family of C-repeat/dehydration-responsive family of transcription factors (CBF/DREB1). We relate this phenomenon to the semi-dwarf, gibberellic acid insensitive (GAI), cereal varieties developed during the “green revolution” of the early 1960s and 1970s. We suggest that genetic manipulation of the family of C-repeat/dehydration-responsive element binding transcription factors (CBF/DREB1) may provide a novel approach for the maintenance and perhaps even the enhancement of plant productivity under conditions of sub-optimal growth conditions predicted for our future climate. PMID:24860799

  17. Potential for Increased Photosynthetic Performance and Crop Productivity in Response to Climate Change: role of CBFs and Gibberellic Acid

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huner, Norman; Dahal, Keshav; Kurepin, Leonid; Savitch, Leonid; Singh, Jas; Ivanov, Alexander; Kane, Khalil; Sarhan, Fathey

    2014-04-01

    We propose that targeting the dwarf phenotype, enhanced photosynthetic performance typically associated with the cold acclimation of winter cultivars of rye (Secale cereale L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and Brassica napus L. may provide a novel approach to improve crop yield and productivity under abiotic as well as biotic stress conditions. In support of this hypothesis, we provide the physiological, biochemical and molecular evidence that the dwarf phenotype induced by cold acclimation is coupled to significant enhancement in photosynthetic performance, resistance to photoinhibition and a decreased dependence on photoprotection through nonphotochemical quenching which result in enhanced biomass production and ultimately increased seed yield. These system-wide changes at the levels of phenotype, physiology and biochemistry appear to be governed by the family of C-repeat / dehydration-responsive family of transcription factors (CBF/DREB1). We relate this phenomenon to the semi-dwarf, gibberellic acid insensitive, cereal varieties developed during the “green revolution” of the early 1960s and 1970s. We suggest that genetic manipulation of the family of C-repeat / dehydration-responsive element binding transcription factors (CBF/DREB1) may provide a novel approach for the maintenance and perhaps even the enhancement of plant productivity under conditions of sub-optimal growth conditions predicted for our future climate.

  18. Base-Case 1% Yield Increase (BC1), All Energy Crops scenario of the 2016 Billion Ton Report

    SciTech Connect

    Davis, Maggie R.; Hellwinkel, Chad; Eaton, Laurence; Langholtz, Matthew H.; Turhollow, Anthony; Brandt, Craig; Myers, Aaron

    2016-07-13

    Scientific reason for data generation: to serve as the base-case scenario for the BT16 volume 1 agricultural scenarios to compare these projections of potential biomass supplies against a reference case (agricultural baseline 10.11578/1337885). The simulation runs from 2015 through 2040; a starting year of 2014 is used but not reported. How each parameter was produced (methods), format, and relationship to other data in the data set: This exogenous price simulations (also referred to as “specified-price” simulations) introduces a farmgate price, and POLYSYS solves for biomass supplies that may be brought to market in response to these prices. In specified-price scenarios, a specified farmgate price is offered constantly in all counties over all years of the simulation. This simulation begins in 2015 with an offered farmgate price for primary crop residues only between 2015 and 2018 and long-term contracts for dedicated crops beginning in 2019. Expected mature energy crop yield grows at a compounding rate of 1% beginning in 2016. The yield growth assumptions are fixed after crops are planted such that yield gains do not apply to crops already planted, but new plantings do take advantage of the gains in expected yield growth. Instruments used: Policy Analysis System –POLYSYS (version POLYS2015_V10_alt_JAN22B), an agricultural policy modeling system of U.S. agriculture (crops and livestock), supplied by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Agricultural Policy Analysis Center.

  19. Oxidative stress and antioxidant responses to increasing concentrations of trivalent chromium in the Andean crop species Chenopodium quinoa Willd.

    PubMed

    Scoccianti, Valeria; Bucchini, Anahi E; Iacobucci, Marta; Ruiz, Karina B; Biondi, Stefania

    2016-11-01

    Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd), an ancient Andean seed crop, exhibits exceptional nutritional properties and resistance to abiotic stress. The species' tolerance to heavy metals has, however, not yet been investigated nor its ability to take up and translocate chromium (Cr). This study aimed to investigate the metabolic adjustments occurring upon exposure of quinoa to several concentrations (0.01-5mM) of CrCl3. Young hydroponically grown plants were used to evaluate Cr uptake, growth, oxidative stress, and other biochemical parameters three and/or seven days after treatment. Leaves accumulated the lowest amounts of Cr, while roots and stems accumulated the most at low and at high metal concentrations, respectively. Fresh weight and photosynthetic pigments were reduced only by the higher Cr(III) doses. Substantially increased lipid peroxidation, hydrogen peroxide, and proline levels were observed only with 5mM Cr(III). Except for a significant decrease at day 7 with 5mM Cr(III), total polyphenols and flavonoids maintained control levels in Cr(III)-treated plants, whereas antioxidant activity increased in a dose-dependent manner. Maximum polyamine accumulation was observed in 1mM CrCl3-treated plants. Even though α- and γ-tocopherols also showed enhanced levels only with the 1mM concentration, tyrosine aminotransferase (TAT, EC 2.6.1.5) activity increased under Cr(III) treatment in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Taken together, results suggest that polyamines, tocopherols, and TAT activity could contribute to tolerance to 1mM Cr(III), but not to the highest concentration that, instead, generated oxidative stress.

  20. Competition with wind-pollinated plant species alters floral traits of insect-pollinated plant species

    PubMed Central

    Flacher, Floriane; Raynaud, Xavier; Hansart, Amandine; Motard, Eric; Dajoz, Isabelle

    2015-01-01

    Plant traits related to attractiveness to pollinators (e.g. flowers and nectar) can be sensitive to abiotic or biotic conditions. Soil nutrient availability, as well as interactions among insect-pollinated plants species, can induce changes in flower and nectar production. However, further investigations are needed to determine the impact of interactions between insect-pollinated species and abiotically pollinated species on such floral traits, especially floral rewards. We carried out a pot experiment in which three insect-pollinated plant species were grown in binary mixtures with four wind-pollinated plant species, differing in their competitive ability. Along the flowering period, we measured floral traits of the insect-pollinated species involved in attractiveness to pollinators (i.e. floral display size, flower size, daily and total 1) flower production, 2) nectar volume, 3) amount of sucrose allocated to nectar). Final plant biomass was measured to quantify competitive interactions. For two out of three insect-pollinated species, we found that the presence of a wind-pollinated species can negatively impact floral traits involved in attractiveness to pollinators. This effect was stronger with wind-pollinated species that induced stronger competitive interactions. These results stress the importance of studying the whole plant community (and not just the insect-pollinated plant community) when working on plant-pollinator interactions. PMID:26335409

  1. Performance of Apis mellifera, Bombus impatiens, and Peponapis pruinosa (Hymenoptera: Apidae) as pollinators of pumpkin.

    PubMed

    Artz, Derek R; Nault, Brian A

    2011-08-01

    Pollination services of pumpkin, Cucurbita pepo L., provided by the European honey bee, Apis mellifera L., were compared with two native bee species, the common eastern bumble bee, Bombus impatiens (Cresson), and Peponapis pruinosa Say, in New York from 2008 to 2010. Performance of each species was determined by comparing single-visit pollen deposition, percentage of visits that contacted the stigma, flower-handling time, fruit and seed set, and fruit weight per number of visits. Fruit yield from small fields (0.6 ha) supplemented with commercial B. impatiens colonies was compared with yield from those not supplemented. A. mellifera spent nearly 2 and 3 times longer foraging on each pistillate flower compared with B. impatiens and P. pruinosa, respectively. A. mellifera also visited pistillate flowers 10-20 times more frequently than B. impatiens and P. pruinosa, respectively. Yet, B. impatiens deposited 3 times more pollen grains per stigma and contacted stigmas significantly more often than either A. mellifera or P. pruinosa. Fruit set and weight from flowers visited four to eight times by B. impatiens were similar to those from open-pollinated flowers, whereas flowers pollinated by A. mellifera and P. pruinosa produced fewer fruit and smaller fruit compared with those from open-pollinated flowers. Fields supplemented with B. impatiens produced significantly more pumpkins per plant than nonsupplemented fields. B. impatiens was a better pollinator of pumpkin than P. pruinosa and should be considered as a promising alternative to A. mellifera for pollinating this crop.

  2. Examining the roles that changing harvested areas, closing yield-gaps, and increasing yield ceilings have had on crop production

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnston, M.; Ray, D. K.; Mueller, N. D.; Foley, J. A.

    2011-12-01

    -weighted result of area and yield contributions for each country, at each time-step. As part of our research we will generate historic figures and tabular data for every country-crop combination. Phase 3: In the final phase of our research, we attempt to demonstrate how different yield performers (for example, those growing crops at the yield floor vs. the yield ceiling) have utilized different area/yield strategies to increase agricultural production. To group individual pixels into performance quintiles, we utilize binning strategies from previous spatial yield-gap assessments. The results from this step will illustrate how the yield ceiling has improved over time vis-à-vis improvements in the yield floor. As we look forward to a more sustainable and productive agricultural future, we hope the results of this global analysis of our agricultural past can be utilized to identify both optimal and adverse strategies for agricultural growth.

  3. The robustness of pollination networks to the loss of species and interactions: a quantitative approach incorporating pollinator behaviour.

    PubMed

    Kaiser-Bunbury, Christopher N; Muff, Stefanie; Memmott, Jane; Müller, Christine B; Caflisch, Amedeo

    2010-04-01

    Species extinctions pose serious threats to the functioning of ecological communities worldwide. We used two qualitative and quantitative pollination networks to simulate extinction patterns following three removal scenarios: random removal and systematic removal of the strongest and weakest interactors. We accounted for pollinator behaviour by including potential links into temporal snapshots (12 consecutive 2-week networks) to reflect mutualists' ability to 'switch' interaction partners (re-wiring). Qualitative data suggested a linear or slower than linear secondary extinction while quantitative data showed sigmoidal decline of plant interaction strength upon removal of the strongest interactor. Temporal snapshots indicated greater stability of re-wired networks over static systems. Tolerance of generalized networks to species extinctions was high in the random removal scenario, with an increase in network stability if species formed new interactions. Anthropogenic disturbance, however, that promote the extinction of the strongest interactors might induce a sudden collapse of pollination networks.

  4. Distance-dependent pollen limitation of seed set in some insect-pollinated dioecious plants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Jong, Tom J.; Batenburg, Judith C.; Klinkhamer, Peter G. L.

    2005-11-01

    By applying hand pollination, we studied pollen limitation of seed set of female plants in four dioecious plant species with insect-pollination. The effect of hand pollination increased with distance to the nearest male plant. Distances at which seed set was 50% of its maximal value (after hand pollination) were: 2.3 m for Valeriana dioica, 5.3 m for Salix repens, 8.5 m for Asparagus officinale and 10.6 m for Bryonia dioica. We discuss to what extent the reduced seed set was caused by either fewer visits or by visits of a lower quality. We argue that quantifying distance-dependent seed set in dioecious plants may be a good way of studying effects of habitat fragmentation on the breakdown of mutualistic pollination systems.

  5. Meta-analysis of pollen limitation reveals the relevance of pollination generalization in the Atlantic forest of Brazil.

    PubMed

    Wolowski, Marina; Ashman, Tia-Lynn; Freitas, Leandro

    2014-01-01

    Despite the extensive knowledge of pollen limitation in angiosperms, its assessment within tropical forests is still limited. Especially lacking are large scale comparisons of species within this biome - one that is highly diverse but also becoming increasingly threatened. In fact, many tropical plant species depend upon pollinators for reproduction but evaluation of the impact of this dependence via different levels of pollination specialization has yet to be made at the biome scale. We assessed the occurrence and magnitude of pollen limitation for species in the Brazilian Atlantic forest and tested the association of pollination specialization, breeding system, and life habit with pollination efficiency. We compiled data from studies published between 1985 and 2012. We calculated species' effect size (d) from data on fruit set after hand cross-pollination and natural pollination and conducted standard and phylogenetically independent meta-analysis. Overall pollen limitation was moderate, with magnitude of 0.50, and 95% confidence interval [0.37, 0.62] for 126 species. Pollen limitation was observed in 39% of species. Pollination specialization was the factor that best explained the occurrence of pollen limitation. Specifically, phenotypic and ecological specialists (plants with zygomorphic flowers and pollinated by one species of pollinator, respectively) had higher pollen limitation than generalist plants (actinomorphic flowers and pollination by two or more species). Functional generalists (plants pollinated by three or more functional groups) were not pollen limited. On the other hand, breeding system and life habit were not associated to pollen limitation. Pollen limitation was observed in the Atlantic forest and its magnitude was comparable to that for angiosperms as a whole. The finding that pollination specialization was the strongest predictor of pollen limitation suggests that specialist plants in this biome may be most prone to the reproductive failure

  6. Predicting plant attractiveness to pollinators with passive crowdsourcing

    DOE PAGES

    Bahlai, Christie A.; Landis, Douglas A.

    2016-06-01

    observations were not associated with Internet images, but were slightly associated with BP. Our results suggest that passively crowdsourced image data can potentially be a useful screening tool to identify candidate plants for pollinator habitat restoration efforts directed at wild bee conservation. Increasing our understanding of the attractiveness of a greater diversity of plants increases the potential for more rapid and efficient research in creating pollinator-supportive landscapes.« less

  7. Predicting plant attractiveness to pollinators with passive crowdsourcing

    PubMed Central

    Bahlai, Christie A.; Landis, Douglas A.

    2016-01-01

    observations were not associated with Internet images, but were slightly associated with BP. Our results suggest that passively crowdsourced image data can potentially be a useful screening tool to identify candidate plants for pollinator habitat restoration efforts directed at wild bee conservation. Increasing our understanding of the attractiveness of a greater diversity of plants increases the potential for more rapid and efficient research in creating pollinator-supportive landscapes. PMID:27429762

  8. Predicting plant attractiveness to pollinators with passive crowdsourcing

    SciTech Connect

    Bahlai, Christie A.; Landis, Douglas A.

    2016-06-01

    observations were not associated with Internet images, but were slightly associated with BP. Our results suggest that passively crowdsourced image data can potentially be a useful screening tool to identify candidate plants for pollinator habitat restoration efforts directed at wild bee conservation. Increasing our understanding of the attractiveness of a greater diversity of plants increases the potential for more rapid and efficient research in creating pollinator-supportive landscapes.

  9. Predicting plant attractiveness to pollinators with passive crowdsourcing.

    PubMed

    Bahlai, Christie A; Landis, Douglas A

    2016-06-01

    observations were not associated with Internet images, but were slightly associated with BP. Our results suggest that passively crowdsourced image data can potentially be a useful screening tool to identify candidate plants for pollinator habitat restoration efforts directed at wild bee conservation. Increasing our understanding of the attractiveness of a greater diversity of plants increases the potential for more rapid and efficient research in creating pollinator-supportive landscapes.

  10. Invasive species management restores a plant-pollinator mutualism in Hawaii

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hanna, Cause; Foote, David; Kremen, Claire

    2013-01-01

    1.The management and removal of invasive species may give rise to unanticipated changes in plant–pollinator mutualisms because they can alter the composition and functioning of plant–pollinator interactions in a variety of ways. To utilize a functional approach for invasive species management, we examined the restoration of plant–pollinator mutualisms following the large-scale removal of an invasive nectar thief and arthropod predator, Vespula pensylvanica. 2.We reduced V. pensylvanica populations in large plots managed over multiple years to examine the response of plant–pollinator mutualisms and the fruit production of a functionally important endemic Hawaiian tree species, Metrosideros polymorpha. To integrate knowledge of the invader's behaviour and the plant's mating system, we determined the efficacy of V. pensylvanica as a pollinator of M. polymorpha and quantified the dependence of M. polymorpha on animal pollination (e.g. level of self-compatibility and pollen limitation). 3.The reduction of V. pensylvanica in managed sites, when compared to unmanaged sites, resulted in a significant increase in the visitation rates of effective bee pollinators (e.g. introduced Apis mellifera and native Hylaeus spp.) and in the fruit production of M. polymorpha. 4.Apis mellifera, following the management of V. pensylvanica, appears to be acting as a substitute pollinator for M. polymorpha, replacing extinct or threatened bird and bee species in our study system. 5.Synthesis and applications. Fruit production of the native M. polymorpha was increased after management of the invasive pollinator predator V. pensylvanica; however, the main pollinators were no longer native but introduced. This research thus demonstrates the diverse impacts of introduced species on ecological function and the ambiguous role they play in restoration. We recommend incorporating ecological function and context into invasive species management as this approach may enable conservation

  11. Virus Infection of Plants Alters Pollinator Preference: A Payback for Susceptible Hosts?

    PubMed Central

    Davey, Matthew P.; Bruce, Toby J. A.; Caulfield, John C.; Furzer, Oliver J.; Reed, Alison; Robinson, Sophie I.; Miller, Elizabeth; Davis, Christopher N.; Pickett, John A.; Whitney, Heather M.; Glover, Beverley J.; Carr, John P.

    2016-01-01

    Plant volatiles play important roles in attraction of certain pollinators and in host location by herbivorous insects. Virus infection induces changes in plant volatile emission profiles, and this can make plants more attractive to insect herbivores, such as aphids, that act as viral vectors. However, it is unknown if virus-induced alterations in volatile production affect plant-pollinator interactions. We found that volatiles emitted by cucumber mosaic virus (CMV)-infected tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and Arabidopsis thaliana plants altered the foraging behaviour of bumblebees (Bombus terrestris). Virus-induced quantitative and qualitative changes in blends of volatile organic compounds emitted by tomato plants were identified by gas chromatography-coupled mass spectrometry. Experiments with a CMV mutant unable to express the 2b RNA silencing suppressor protein and with Arabidopsis silencing mutants implicate microRNAs in regulating emission of pollinator-perceivable volatiles. In tomato, CMV infection made plants emit volatiles attractive to bumblebees. Bumblebees pollinate tomato by ‘buzzing’ (sonicating) the flowers, which releases pollen and enhances self-fertilization and seed production as well as pollen export. Without buzz-pollination, CMV infection decreased seed yield, but when flowers of mock-inoculated and CMV-infected plants were buzz-pollinated, the increased seed yield for CMV-infected plants was similar to that for mock-inoculated plants. Increased pollinator preference can potentially increase plant reproductive success in two ways: i) as female parents, by increasing the probability that ovules are fertilized; ii) as male parents, by increasing pollen export. Mathematical modeling suggested that over a wide range of conditions in the wild, these increases to the number of offspring of infected susceptible plants resulting from increased pollinator preference could outweigh underlying strong selection pressures favoring pathogen resistance

  12. Multilevel spatial structure impacts on the pollination services of Comarum palustre (Rosaceae).

    PubMed

    Somme, Laurent; Mayer, Carolin; Jacquemart, Anne-Laure

    2014-01-01

    Habitat destruction and fragmentation accelerate pollinator decline, consequently disrupting ecosystem processes such as pollination. To date, the impacts of multilevel spatial structure on pollination services have rarely been addressed. We focused on the effects of population spatial structure on the pollination services of Comarum palustre at three levels (i.e. within-population, between-populations and landscape). For three years, we investigated 14 Belgian populations, which differed in their within-population flower density, population surface, closure (i.e. proportion of the population edge that consisted of woody elements) and isolation (i.e. percentage of woody area cover within a 500 m radius from the population centre). We tested whether these spatial characteristics impact on pollinator abundance and visitation rate and thus, reproductive success of C. palustre. Insects were observed in 15 randomly-chosen plots in each population. We tested for pollen limitation with supplemental hand-cross pollination. Bumble bees and solitary bees were the major pollinators through all populations. Within populations, plots with high flower densities attracted high numbers of bumble bees and other insects. High bumble bee and solitary bee abundance was observed in populations presenting high proportions of woody edges and in populations within landscapes presenting high proportions of woody areas. Seed set resulting from open pollination varied with bumble bee and solitary bee visitation rate, leading to increased pollen limitation when pollinators were scarce. Since the reproductive success depended on the visitation rate of the main pollinators, which depended on multilevel spatial structure, wetland management plans should pay special attention to favour a mosaic of biotopes, including nesting sites and food resources for insects. This study particularly supports the relevance of a mix wetlands and woody habitats to bees.

  13. Multilevel Spatial Structure Impacts on the Pollination Services of Comarum palustre (Rosaceae)

    PubMed Central

    Somme, Laurent; Mayer, Carolin; Jacquemart, Anne-Laure

    2014-01-01

    Habitat destruction and fragmentation accelerate pollinator decline, consequently disrupting ecosystem processes such as pollination. To date, the impacts of multilevel spatial structure on pollination services have rarely been addressed. We focused on the effects of population spatial structure on the pollination services of Comarum palustre at three levels (i.e. within-population, between-populations and landscape). For three years, we investigated 14 Belgian populations, which differed in their within-population flower density, population surface, closure (i.e. proportion of the population edge that consisted of woody elements) and isolation (i.e. percentage of woody area cover within a 500 m radius from the population centre). We tested whether these spatial characteristics impact on pollinator abundance and visitation rate and thus, reproductive success of C. palustre. Insects were observed in 15 randomly-chosen plots in each population. We tested for pollen limitation with supplemental hand-cross pollination. Bumble bees and solitary bees were the major pollinators through all populations. Within populations, plots with high flower densities attracted high numbers of bumble bees and other insects. High bumble bee and solitary bee abundance was observed in populations presenting high proportions of woody edges and in populations within landscapes presenting high proportions of woody areas. Seed set resulting from open pollination varied with bumble bee and solitary bee visitation rate, leading to increased pollen limitation when pollinators were scarce. Since the reproductive success depended on the visitation rate of the main pollinators, which depended on multilevel spatial structure, wetland management plans should pay special attention to favour a mosaic of biotopes, including nesting sites and food resources for insects. This study particularly supports the relevance of a mix wetlands and woody habitats to bees. PMID:24915450

  14. Pollinator limitation and the effect of breeding systems on plant reproduction in forest fragments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nayak, K. Geetha; Davidar, Priya

    2010-03-01

    Reproduction of plants in fragmented habitats may be limited because of lower diversity or abundance of pollinators, and/or variation in local plant density. We assessed natural fruit set and pollinator limitation in ten species of woody plants in natural and restored fragments in the Pondicherry region of southern India, to see whether breeding system of plants (self-compatible and self-incompatible) affected fruit set. We tested whether the number of flowering individuals in the fragments affected the fruit set and further examined the adult and sapling densities of self-compatible (SC) and self-incompatible (SI) species. We measured the natural level of fruit set and pollinator limitation (calculated as the difference in fruit set between hand cross-pollinated and naturally pollinated flowers). Our results demonstrate that there was a higher level of pollinator limitation and hence lower levels of natural fruit set in self-incompatible species as compared to self-compatible species. However, the hand cross-pollinated flowers in SC and SI species produced similar levels of fruit set, further indicating that lower fruit set was due to pollinator limitation and not due to lack of cross-compatible individuals in the fragments. There was no significant relation between number of flowering individuals and the levels of natural fruit set, except for two species Derris ovalifolia, Ixora pavetta. In these species the natural fruit set decreased with increasing population size, again indicating pollinator limitation. The adult and sapling densities in self-compatible species were significantly higher than in self-incompatible species. These findings indicate that the low reproductive output in self-incompatible species may eventually lead to lower population sizes. Restoration of pollinator services along with plant species in fragmented habitats is important for the long-term conservation of biodiversity.

  15. Do specialized flowers promote reproductive isolation? Realized pollination accuracy of three sympatric Pedicularis species

    PubMed Central

    Armbruster, W. Scott; Shi, Xiao-Qing; Huang, Shuang-Quan

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Interest in pollinator-mediated evolutionary divergence of flower phenotype and speciation in plants has been at the core of plant evolutionary studies since Darwin. Specialized pollination is predicted to lead to reproductive isolation and promote speciation among sympatric species by promoting partitioning of (1) the species of pollinators used, (2) when pollinators are used, or (3) the sites of pollen placement. Here this last mechanism is investigated by observing the pollination accuracy of sympatric Pedicularis species (Orobanchacae). Methods Pollinator behaviour was observed on three species of Pedicularis (P. densispica, P. tricolor and P. dichotoma) in the Hengduan Mountains, south-west China. Using fluorescent powder and dyed pollen, the accuracy was assessed of stigma contact with, and pollen deposition on, pollinating bumble-bees, respectively. Key Results All three species of Pedicularis were pollinated by bumble-bees. It was found that the adaptive accuracy of female function was much higher than that of male function in all three flower species. Although peak pollen deposition corresponded to the optimal location on the pollinator (i.e. the site of stigma contact) for each species, substantial amounts of pollen were scattered over much of the bees' bodies. Conclusions The Pedicularis species studied in the eastern Himalayan region did not conform with Grant's ‘Pedicularis Model’ of mechanical reproductive isolation. The specialized flowers of this diverse group of plants seem unlikely to have increased the potential for reproductive isolation or influenced rates of speciation. It is suggested instead that the extreme species richness of the Pedicularis clade was generated in other ways and that specialized flowers and substantial pollination accuracy evolved as a response to selection generated by the diversity of co-occurring congeners. PMID:24047714

  16. Native bees and plant pollination

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ginsberg, H.S.

    2004-01-01

    Bees are important pollinators, but evidence suggests that numbers of some species are declining. Decreases have been documented in the honey bee, Apis mellifera (which was introduced to North America), but there are no monitoring programs for the vast majority of native species, so we cannot be sure about the extent of this problem. Recent efforts to develop standardized protocols for bee sampling will help us collect the data needed to assess trends in bee populations. Unfortunately, diversity of bee life cycles and phenologies, and the large number of rare species, make it difficult to assess trends in bee faunas. Changes in bee populations can affect plant reproduction, which can influence plant population density and cover, thus potentially modifying horizontal and vertical structure of a community, microclimate near the ground, patterns of nitrogen deposition, etc. These potential effects of changes in pollination patterns have not been assessed in natural communities. Effects of management actions on bees and other pollinators should be considered in conservation planning.

  17. Trends in literature on new oilseed crops and related species: Seeking evidence of increasing or waning interest

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bibliographic records on eight new crop species Camelina, Crambe, Cuphea, Physaria, Limnanthes, Stokesia, Thlaspi, and Vernonia from Agricola, CAB Abstracts, Scopus, and Web of Science were analyzed for historical and recent trends in the areas of research, author distribution, and quantity and impa...

  18. Regional hybrid broccoli trials provide a means to further breeding efforts of this increasingly important vegetable crop

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP) entitled “Establishing an Eastern Broccoli Industry” is funded under the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), and a primary component of the project is a system of regional hybrid broccoli trials conducted along the eastern seaboard. Hybrids currently ...

  19. A systems approach to identify adaptation strategies for Midwest US cropping systems under increased climate variability and change.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Basso, B.; Dumont, B.

    2015-12-01

    A systems approach was implemented to assess the impact of management strategies and climate variability on crop yield, nitrate leaching and soil organic carbon across the the Midwest US at a fine scale spatial resolution. We used the SALUS model which designed to simulated yield and environmental outcomes of continous crop rotations under different agronomic management, soil, weather. We extracted soil parameters from the SSURGO (Soil Survey Geographic) data of nine Midwest states (IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, MO, OH, SD, WI) and weather from NARR (North American Regional Reanalysis). State specific management itineraries were extracted from USDA-NAS. We present the results different cropping systems (continuous corn, corn-soybean and extended rotations) under different management practices (no-tillage, cover crops and residue management). Simulations were conducted under both the baseline (1979-2014) and projected climatic projections (RCP2.5, 6). Results indicated that climate change would likely have a negative impact on corn yields in some areas and positive in others. Soil N, and C losses can be reduced with the adoption of conservation practices.

  20. Bee Species Diversity Enhances Productivity and Stability in a Perennial Crop

    PubMed Central

    Rogers, Shelley R.; Tarpy, David R.; Burrack, Hannah J.

    2014-01-01

    Wild bees provide important pollination services to agroecoystems, but the mechanisms which underlie their contribution to ecosystem functioning—and, therefore, their importance in maintaining and enhancing these services—remain unclear. We evaluated several mechanisms through which wild bees contribute to crop productivity, the stability of pollinator visitation, and the efficiency of individual pollinators in a highly bee-pollination dependent plant, highbush blueberry. We surveyed the bee community (through transect sampling and pan trapping) and measured pollination of both open- and singly-visited flowers. We found that the abundance of managed honey bees, Apis mellifera, and wild-bee richness were equally important in describing resulting open pollination. Wild-bee richness was a better predictor of pollination than wild-bee abundance. We also found evidence suggesting pollinator visitation (and subsequent pollination) are stabilized through the differential response of bee taxa to weather (i.e., response diversity). Variation in the individual visit efficiency of A. mellifera and the southeastern blueberry bee, Habropoda laboriosa, a wild specialist, was not associated with changes in the pollinator community. Our findings add to a growing literature that diverse pollinator communities provide more stable and productive ecosystem services. PMID:24817218

  1. Pollinating fig wasp Ceratosolen solmsi adjusts the offspring sex ratio to other foundresses.

    PubMed

    Hu, Hao-Yuan; Chen, Zhong-Zheng; Jiang, Zi-Feng; Huang, Da-Wei; Niu, Li-Ming; Fu, Yue-Guan

    2013-04-01

    Local mate competition theory predicts that offspring sex ratio in pollinating fig wasps is female-biased when there is only one foundress, and increased foundress density results in increased offspring sex ratio. Information of other foundresses and clutch size have been suggested to be the main proximate explanations for sex ratio adjustment under local mate competition. Our focus was to show the mechanism of sex ratio adjustment in a pollinating fig wasp, Ceratosolen solmsi Mayr, an obligate pollinator of the functionally dioecious fig, Ficus hispida Linn., with controlled experiments in the field. First, we obtained offspring from one pollinator and offspring at different oviposition sequences, and found that offspring sex ratio decreased with clutch size, and pollinators produced most of their male offspring at the start of bouts, followed by mostly females. Second, we found that offspring sex ratio increased with foundress density, and pollinators did adjust their offspring sex ratio to other females in the oviposition patches. We suggest that when oviposition sites are not limited, pollinators will mainly adjust their offspring sex ratio to other foundresses independent of clutch size changes, whereas adjusting clutch size may be used to adjust sex ratio when oviposition sites are limited.

  2. Bombus huntii, Bombus impatiens, and Bombus vosnesenskii (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Pollinate Greenhouse-Grown Tomatoes in Western North America.

    PubMed

    Strange, James P

    2015-06-01

    Bumble bees (Bombus) are the primary pollinators of tomatoes grown in greenhouses and can significantly increase fruit weight compared with tomatoes that receive no supplemental pollination. More than a million colonies are sold worldwide annually to meet pollination needs. Due to mounting concerns over the transportation of bumble bees outside of their native ranges, several species native to western North American are currently being investigated as potential commercial pollinators. Here, two western, Bombus huntii Greene and Bombus vosnesenskii Radoszkowski, and one eastern species, Bombus impatiens Cresson, are compared for their efficacy as pollinators of greenhouse-grown tomatoes. In two experiments, colonies were placed in greenhouses and compared with control plants that received no supplemental pollination. In the first experiment, seed set was significantly increased with B. huntii pollination in one variety of cherry tomatoes. In the second experiment comparing all three bumble bee species, fruit weight was an average of 25.2 g heavier per fruit pollinated by bees versus the control, and the number of days to harvest was 2.9 d shorter for bee-pollinated fruit. In some rounds of pollination, differences were found among bumble bee species, but these were inconsistent across replicates and not statistically significant overall. Additionally, fruit weight was shown to be highly correlated to fruit diameter and seed set in all tests and, thus, is shown to be a reliable metric for assessing pollination in future studies. These results suggest that commercialization of western bumble bees is a viable alternative to the current practices of moving of nonnative bees into western North America to pollinate tomatoes.

  3. Back to the past for pollination biology.

    PubMed

    Kessler, Danny; Baldwin, Ian T

    2011-08-01

    Manipulations of the interactions between plants and their floral visitors remain the most successful path to an understanding of floral traits, which may have been shaped by both herbivores and pollinators. By using genetic tools in combination with old-fashioned field work the dual protective/advertisement functions of floral traits are being realized. The distinction between wanted and unwanted floral visitors is blurring, and plants with specialized pollination systems are being found capable of using alternative pollinators if the specialized pollinators fail to perform.

  4. Irrigation and Maize Cultivation Erode Plant Diversity Within Crops in Mediterranean Dry Cereal Agro-Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Fagúndez, Jaime; Olea, Pedro P; Tejedo, Pablo; Mateo-Tomás, Patricia; Gómez, David

    2016-07-01

    The intensification of agriculture has increased production at the cost of environment and biodiversity worldwide. To increase crop yield in dry cereal systems, vast farmland areas of high conservation value are being converted into irrigation, especially in Mediterranean countries. We analyze the effect of irrigation-driven changes on the farm biota by comparing species diversity, community composition, and species traits of arable plants within crop fields from two contrasting farming systems (dry and irrigated) in Spain. We sampled plant species within 80 fields of dry wheat, irrigated wheat, and maize (only cultivated under irrigation). Wheat crops held higher landscape and per field species richness, and beta diversity than maize. Within the same type of crop, irrigated wheat hosted lower plant diversity than dry wheat at both field and landscape scales. Floristic composition differed between crop types, with higher frequencies of perennials, cosmopolitan, exotic, wind-pollinated and C4 species in maize. Our results suggest that irrigation projects, that transform large areas of dry cereal agro-ecosystems into irrigated crop systems dominated by maize, erode plant diversity. An adequate planning on the type and proportion of crops used in the irrigated agro-ecosystems is needed in order to balance agriculture production and biodiversity conservation.

  5. Irrigation and Maize Cultivation Erode Plant Diversity Within Crops in Mediterranean Dry Cereal Agro-Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fagúndez, Jaime; Olea, Pedro P.; Tejedo, Pablo; Mateo-Tomás, Patricia; Gómez, David

    2016-07-01

    The intensification of agriculture has increased production at the cost of environment and biodiversity worldwide. To increase crop yield in dry cereal systems, vast farmland areas of high conservation value are being converted into irrigation, especially in Mediterranean countries. We analyze the effect of irrigation-driven changes on the farm biota by comparing species diversity, community composition, and species traits of arable plants within crop fields from two contrasting farming systems (dry and irrigated) in Spain. We sampled plant species within 80 fields of dry wheat, irrigated wheat, and maize (only cultivated under irrigation). Wheat crops held higher landscape and per field species richness, and beta diversity than maize. Within the same type of crop, irrigated wheat hosted lower plant diversity than dry wheat at both field and landscape scales. Floristic composition differed between crop types, with higher frequencies of perennials, cosmopolitan, exotic, wind-pollinated and C4 species in maize. Our results suggest that irrigation projects, that transform large areas of dry cereal agro-ecosystems into irrigated crop systems dominated by maize, erode plant diversity. An adequate planning on the type and proportion of crops used in the irrigated agro-ecosystems is needed in order to balance agriculture production and biodiversity conservation.

  6. Pollination by nocturnal Lepidoptera, and the effects of light pollution: a review

    PubMed Central

    MacGregor, Callum J; Pocock, Michael J O; Fox, Richard; Evans, Darren M

    2015-01-01

    1. Moths (Lepidoptera) are the major nocturnal pollinators of flowers. However, their importance and contribution to the provision of pollination ecosystem services may have been under-appreciated. Evidence was identified that moths are important pollinators of a diverse range