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Open AccessArticle

Pollen Protein: Lipid Macronutrient Ratios May Guide Broad Patterns of Bee Species Floral Preferences

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Department of Biology, University of Nevada Reno, Reno, NV 89557, USA
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Department of Entomology, Center for Pollinator Research, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
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Fruit Research and Extension Center, Pennsylvania State University, Biglerville, PA 17307, USA
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Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA
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Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, Huck Institute of the Life Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
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Ernst Conservation Seeds, Inc., Meadville, PA 16335, USA
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Museum of Life and Science, Durham, NC 27704, USA
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Laboratory of Zoology, University of Mons, Mons B-7000, Belgium
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Ecological Security and Protection Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Mianyang Normal University, Mianyang 621000, China
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Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(2), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11020132
Received: 3 January 2020 / Revised: 3 February 2020 / Accepted: 15 February 2020 / Published: 18 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Nutritional Resource Exploitation by Insects)
Pollinator nutritional ecology provides insights into plant–pollinator interactions, coevolution, and the restoration of declining pollinator populations. Bees obtain their protein and lipid nutrient intake from pollen, which is essential for larval growth and development as well as adult health and reproduction. Our previous research revealed that pollen protein to lipid ratios (P:L) shape bumble bee foraging preferences among pollen host-plant species, and these preferred ratios link to bumble bee colony health and fitness. Yet, we are still in the early stages of integrating data on P:L ratios across plant and bee species. Here, using a standard laboratory protocol, we present over 80 plant species’ protein and lipid concentrations and P:L values, and we evaluate the P:L ratios of pollen collected by three bee species. We discuss the general phylogenetic, phenotypic, behavioral, and ecological trends observed in these P:L ratios that may drive plant–pollinator interactions; we also present future research questions to further strengthen the field of pollination nutritional ecology. This dataset provides a foundation for researchers studying the nutritional drivers of plant–pollinator interactions as well as for stakeholders developing planting schemes to best support pollinators. View Full-Text
Keywords: bee health; floral rewards; nutritional ecology; pollen foraging behavior; pollination ecology; plant–pollinator interactions bee health; floral rewards; nutritional ecology; pollen foraging behavior; pollination ecology; plant–pollinator interactions
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Vaudo, A.D.; Tooker, J.F.; Patch, H.M.; Biddinger, D.J.; Coccia, M.; Crone, M.K.; Fiely, M.; Francis, J.S.; Hines, H.M.; Hodges, M.; Jackson, S.W.; Michez, D.; Mu, J.; Russo, L.; Safari, M.; Treanore, E.D.; Vanderplanck, M.; Yip, E.; Leonard, A.S.; Grozinger, C.M. Pollen Protein: Lipid Macronutrient Ratios May Guide Broad Patterns of Bee Species Floral Preferences. Insects 2020, 11, 132.

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