Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Robust network of insect pollinators may collapse suddenly

06.01.2014
The global decline of bees, hoverflies and other pollinators pose a serious threat to food security and biodiversity.

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.

Tipping Point

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, Egbert H. van Nes, Marten Scheffer, and Jordi Bascompte, 2014. The sudden collapse of pollinator communities. Ecology Letters, online 3 January 2014. http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/ele.12236

Wageningen University is part of Wageningen UR (University & Research centre). The mission is ‘To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life’. Within Wageningen UR, nine research institutes both specialised and applied have joined forces with Wageningen University to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With approximately 30 locations (in the Netherlands, Brazil, Chile, Ethiopia and China), 6,000 members of staff and 9,000 students, Wageningen UR is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. The integral approach to problems and the cooperation between the exact sciences and the technological and social disciplines are at the heart of the Wageningen Approach.

J. Jelle Lever | Wageningen University
Further information:
http://www.wur.nl

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>