Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

For bees (and flowers), tongue size matters

16.07.2014

When it comes to bee tongues, length is proportional to the size of the bee, but heritage sets the proportion. Estimating this hard to measure trait helps scientists understand bee species’ resiliency to change. Ecologists will report on this and other pollination research news at the Ecological Society of America’s 2014 Annual Meeting in Sacramento, Cal., August 10-15.

For bees and the flowers they pollinate, a compatible tongue length is essential to a successful relationship. Some bees and plants are very closely matched, with bee tongue sized to the flower depth. Other bee species are generalists, flitting among flower species to drink nectar and collect pollen from a diverse variety of plants. Data on tongue lengths can help ecologists understand and predict the behavior, resilience and invasiveness of bee populations.


A lovely Augochlora pura extends part of its tongue. A. pura is a member of the relatively short-tongued Halictidae family, uprettily known as the sweat bees. The small, solitary bee is one of the most common bees of forests and forest edges in the eastern United States, and a promiscuous attendant to many flower species. Collected by Phillip Moore in Polk County, Tennessee. Photograph by Phillip Moore. Photo courtesy of the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab.

But bee tongues are hard to measure. The scarcity of reliable lingual datasets has held back research, so Ignasi Bartomeus of the Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC) in Sevilla, Spain, and his colleagues at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, N.J.)  looked for a more easily measured proxy, like body size. Bee tongues are proportional to body size, but modulated by family adaptations—bee families typically have characteristic tongue shapes and proportions. The research group came up with an equation to predict tongue length from a combination of body size and taxonomic relationships.

Bartomeus will explain the equation and the usefulness of tongue length data for ecology at the 99th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Sacramento, Cal., this August during the “Pollination I” oral session on Thursday afternoon, August 14. The meeting lasts five days and draws roughly 3,500 environmental scientists from around the world.

... more about:
»Convention »ESA »Sevilla »delivery »ecosystem »spatial »species

A bee collects pollen on its body as it laps sugar-rich nectar from within the cupped interior of the flower’s petals, and carries the flower’s genetic heritage away with it to fertilize the next flower of the same species that it visits. In most species, the bee’s tongue is guarded by a long, two-sided, beak of a sheath, which folds under the body when the bee flies.

A lovely Augochlora pura extends part of its tongue. A. pura is a member of the relatively short-tongued Halictidae family, uprettily known as the sweat bees. The small, solitary bee is one of the most common bees of forests and forest edges in the eastern United States, and a promiscuous attendant to many flower species. Collected by Phillip Moore in Polk County, Tennessee. Photograph by Phillip Moore. Photo courtesy of the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab.

Perched at the mouth of a flower, the bee unfolds the beaky maxilla and extends its tongue into the corolla of the flower, dipping and retracting it to lap up the nectar. If its tongue is too short to reach the nectar, the bee has a problem. Long flowers like honeysuckle or columbine are too deep for short-tongued bees.

But longer isn’t always better; long tongues are harder to wrangle into short flowers. Long-tongued bees are often specialists, favoring a few deep-throated flower species. In the bumblebee-sparse southern tip of Argentina, for example, Bombus dahlbomii, the native long-tongued giant of Patagonia, has lost ground to a new bumblebee from Europe, the short-tongued generalist Bombus terrestris, imported to help pollinate tomatoes. Although disease has likely played a role in the retreat of the long-tongued giant, B. terrestris also appears to be out-competing an earlier European immigrant, the long-tongued Bombus ruderatus.

Because specialists depend on just a few flowers, they can be more vulnerable to change. Tongue length can thus be intertwined with a species’ risk of extinction, as well as specialization.

Presentation:

Contributed talk 122-4 – The allometry of bee tongue length and its uses in ecology Thursday, August 14, 2014: 2:30 PM Room 315, Sacramento Convention Center

Speaker:

Ignasi Bartomeus , Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC), Sevilla, Spain nacho.bartomeus@gmail.com

Session:

Contributed talks 102: Pollination I. Thursday, August 14, 2014: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM. Room 315.

Additional reference:

Carolina L Morales, Marina P Arbetman, Sydney A Cameron, and Marcelo A Aizen (2013). Rapid ecological replacement of a native bumble bee by invasive speciesFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11: 529–534. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/120321

More bees, butterflies, birds and other pollinators at ESA’s 2014 Annual Meeting, August 10-15, 2014, at the Sacramento Convention Center in Sacramento, Cal.:

  • Poster session 17-133: Landscape drivers of pollination services in urban gardens
  • Monday, August 11, 2014. Exhibit Hall.
  • Workshop 30: Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Thematic Assessment of Pollination and Food Production. Tuesday, August 12, 2014: 11:30 AM-1:15 PM. 203.
  • Organized talks 19-4: Nectar microbial community assembly and plant-pollinator mutualism. Tuesday, August 12, 2014: 2:30 PM, 308.
  • Organized talks 31-4: Can pollinator habitat plantings restore both biodiversity and ecosystem services? Wednesday, August 13, 2014: 2:30 PM. Room 307.
  • Organized talks 31-5: Native bee community functional diversity explains sentinel plant pollination in an intensive agricultural landscape. Wednesday, August 13, 2014: 2:50 PM. Room 307.
  • Cointributed talks 77-8: Do ecosystem service-providers and rare bees prefer the same plant species? A three-year experimental field study. Wednesday, August 13, 2014: 4:00 PM. Regency Blrm B, Hyatt.
  • Poster session 41: Pollination. Wednesday, August 13, 2014: 4:30 PM-6:30 PM. Exhibit Hall.
  • Contributed talks 97-1: Abundance, not species richness, drives ecosystem service delivery at large spatial and temporal scales.Thursday, August 14, 2014: 8:00 AM. Regency Blrm D, Hyatt. 
  • Contributed talks session 122: Pollination I. Thursday, August 14, 2014: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM. Room 315.
  • Organized talks 46-5: Investigating the effects of production-scale harvesting on pollination and biocontrol services in bioenergy grasslands. Thursday, August 14, 2014: 2:50 PM. Room 308.
  • Contributed talks 115-10: More pollinator species are required for pollination function at larger spatial scales, but high regional dominance can suppress this effect. Thursday, August 14, 2014: 4:40 PM. Regency Blrm D, Hyatt Regency Hotel.
  • Contributed talk session 140: Pollination II. Friday, August 15, 2014: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM. 314.

The Ecological Society of America is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge. ESA is committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals, convenes an annual scientific conference, and broadly shares ecological information through policy and media outreach and education initiatives. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

Liza Lester | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.esa.org/esa/?p=11831

Further reports about: Convention ESA Sevilla delivery ecosystem spatial species

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>