Special Issue "Wild Bee Health and Conservation"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 3722
2. Faculty of Natural Sciences I, Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Saale, Germany
Interests: evolutionary biology; host–parasite interaction; social evolution; pollination; behavioural ecology; innate immune system; gene expression
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Pollination is an essential ecosystem service that ensures food and nutritional security and contributes to biodiversity conservation. Around 75% of all angiosperms are fully or partly dependent on animal-mediated pollination, that is, the cross-transfer of pollen from the male reproductive parts (anthers) to the female reproductive parts (stigma) of a flower. Among animals, both vertebrates and invertebrates act as pollinators, but by far the most important group are invertebrates, with insects and bees at the forefront.
Of the 20,000 species of bees, only 10–12 species are actively managed for pollination. The most important and well-known managed species is the Western honeybee, Apis mellifera. However, beekeeping management practices and extensive breeding for long periods have resulted in honeybees being weakened due to pest and pathogen pressure. These pathogens and pests have the ability to contaminate other wild pollinators during their foraging activities, having drastic and detrimental effects on their new hosts.
Intensified agriculture—including the overuse of agrochemicals and increased environmental degradation—constitutes another threat to bee pollinators. Agrochemical use, particularly in the form of conventional pesticides, endangers the lives of beneficial insects, and habitat degradation minimizes the nesting spaces and foraging ability of wild bees.
Honeybees are not able to provide all required pollination services, as they are not able to pollinate all plant species. Even with extreme densities of honeybees, optimal pollination cannot be reached. Thus, wild bees are essential for a significant amount of crop pollination, and are complimentary to pollination services. Consequently, wild bees are essential for food security and biodiversity conservation, hence resulting in the direct scientific interest in their health to better to support conservation efforts.
In this Special Issue, we hope to accumulate new and timely knowledge about wild bee health, including: descriptions of diseases and pests; spill over effects; risk assessments; and the influence of various agrochemicals and mitigation strategies for reducing exposure, such as bee management strategies, habitat management strategies, and agroecological approaches.
Dr. H. Michael G. Lattorff
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- wild bee health
- bee management strategies
- biodiversity conservation