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Both habitat quality and biodiversity can affect bee health: Study

Habitat quality bee; Efforts to promote bee health in the wild and at home must consider the specific habitat needs of bees. Particular

By Ground report
New Update
Both habitat quality and biodiversity can affect bee health: Study

Efforts to promote bee health in the wild and at home must consider the specific habitat needs of bees. Particular attention must be paid to ensuring that the living areas are mostly flowery.

These are the main findings of a new analysis of several thousand Michigan bees from 60 species. The study examined how the quality and quantity of bee habitat surrounding small agricultural fields affect levels of common viral pathogens in bee communities.

Habitat quality affects bee health

“Future land management needs to take into account that general improvement in habitat quality for the benefit of pollinator community diversity does not necessarily benefit pollinator health,” said the biologist from the Institute. 'The University of Michigan, Michelle Fearon, lead author of a study published in the journal Ecology.    

"To promote pollinator health, we need to focus on improving specific habitat quality features that can reduce the spread of pathogens, such as heavy plantings of flowers," Ferron said.

Bees are important pollinators, driving both agricultural productivity and the diversity of flowering plants around the world. But in recent decades, native bees and managed bee colonies have experienced population declines, which have been blamed on a number of factors, including habitat loss, pests and disease, and l use of pesticides.

Landscape-level habitat

“So what really lowers the risk of disease: biodiversity or habitat? Do communities rich in biodiversity mitigate disease prevalence? Or do communities in high-quality habitat have healthier hosts that are more resistant to infection? Our data show that some apparent "dilution effects" may in fact have nothing to do with biodiversity.

By re-examining previously collected bee data and adding new local and landscape-level habitat information, scientists found that habitat can have both positive and negative effects on pathogen levels in bee communities. Specifically, a higher proportion of natural areas and a greater richness of land cover types were associated with increased virus prevalence, while greater floral density was linked to reduced prevalence.

"Areas with greater floral abundance could provide better pollen and nectar resources for bees to help them resist or fight infection," said study lead author Elizabeth Tibbetts, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UM. "Additionally, greater floral abundance may reduce the effective foraging density of pollinators and lead to reduced pathogen transmission."

Human pressure has changed 75% of earth

It is estimated that one million species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction in the world and for which we humans and our growing ambition are responsible. At the same time, it was considered in the report that agriculture is one of the greatest threats to the Earth's ecosystem.

On average, there has been a 20% decline in native species on Earth, most of which have been recorded since the 19th century. Not only that, today more than 40% of amphibians, 33% of corals and about a third of mammalian species found in the sea are endangered.

Although the picture is not entirely clear for insects, it is estimated that more than 10% of their species are at risk. Likewise, at least 680 species of vertebrates have been threatened with extinction since the 16th century. At the same time, in 2016, about 9% of mammalian species used for agriculture and food disappeared. At the same time, a thousand races are still in danger.

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