A team of scientists from Wageningen University, Netherlands, and Doñana Biological Station show in the prestigious journal Ecology Letters that a further deterioration of conditions for pollinators may lead to the sudden extinction of numerous species.
Many plant species depend for the production of seed and fruit upon pollinators that carry pollen grains from flower to flower. In return for this hard labor, pollinators receive nectar from plants.
Plants are visited by a large number of pollinator species and pollinators visit many different plant species. All these relations together form a robust network of interactions between plants and pollinators.
These networks have a characteristic structure that is similar in very different natural landscapes, such as rainforests and river deltas, as well as in human-dominated landscapes with orchards, fields and meadows. Plants and pollinators take a position within those networks that makes the benefit from their mutual relationships for each species individually, and for all plants and pollinators together, as large as possible.
Increasingly harsh conditions
Worldwide, pollinators are under pressure from insecticides, loss of habitat, parasites and disease. These drivers of pollinator decline make it increasingly difficult for pollinators to survive.
The scientists of Wageningen University show, with the help of mathematical models, that the implications of a further deterioration of conditions for pollinators, is strongly influenced by the way in which interaction networks are put together. Due to the structure of these networks, pollinator species support each other under difficult circumstances. Pollinator species that live in the same area may therefore maintain themselves under more difficult conditions.
Pollinator species are, however, also highly depended on each other when circumstances are harsh. The pollinator community, consisting of bees, butterflies, hoverflies and many other species, may therefore collapse entirely when increasingly harsh conditions pass a critical point. Recovery after conditions have past such a tipping point might not be easy. The required improvement in conditions could be substantially larger than what is needed to return to conditions at which the pollinator community collapsed.
Globally, about eighty percent of plant species depends on pollination by insects and other animals. These include a large number of crops that are important for the production of vegetables, fruits, nuts, spices and oilseed. The direct contribution of pollinators the world food production is estimated at 150 billion Euros (200 billion USD).Publication
J. Jelle Lever | Wageningen University
Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function
27.03.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University
Big data approach to predict protein structure
27.03.2017 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences