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CSI Pollen: Diversity of Honey Bee Collected Pollen Studied by Citizen Scientists

Institute of Biology, University of Graz, Universitätsplatz 2, 8010 Graz, Austria
Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) GmbH, Data, Statistics and Integrative Risk Assessment, 8010 Graz, Austria
Swiss Bee Research Center, Agroscope, Schwarzenburgstrasse 161, 3003 Bern, Switzerland
Department of Ecology and Evolution, Biophore, UNIL-Sorge, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Strathclyde, Livingstone Tower, 26 Richmond Street, Glasgow G1 1XH, UK
Department of Biology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Večna pot 111, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Latvian Beekeepers Association, Rīgas iela 22, LV-3004 Jelgava, Latvia
Carreck Consultancy Ltd., Woodside Cottage, Dragons Lane, Shipley RH13 8GD, UK
Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects, School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QG, UK
Institute of Animal Husbandry, Slovak University of Agriculture, Tr. A. Hlinku 2, 949 01 Nitra, Slovakia
Department of Agriculture Food & Marine, Backweston Laboratory Campus, Celbridge, W23 X3PH Co. Kildare, Ireland
Norwegian Beekeepers Association, Dyrskuev 20, 2040 Kløfta, Norway
Centro Agrario de Marchamalo-IRIAF, Camino San Martin s/n, 19180 Guadalajara, Spain
Department of Ecology, Agronomy and Aquaculture, University of Zadar, 23000 Zadar, Croatia
Honeybee Valley, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281 S2, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
Department of Apiculture, Institute of Animal Science, Hellenic Agricultural Organization ‘DEMETER’, 63200 Nea Moudania, Greece
Beekeeping Research and Development Institute, 011464 Bucharest, Romania
Danish Beekeepers Association, 4180 Sorø, Denmark
Apinordica AB, 59190 Tjaellmo, Sweden
Department of Plants and Environmental Sciences—PLEN, University of Copenhagen, Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1871 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
Équipe “Écologie des Prairies”, UMR INRAE-UNICAEN 950 EVA, Université de Caen, Esplanade de la Paix, CEDEX 42, 14032 Caen, France
INRAE-APIS UE1255, Le Magneraud, 17700 Surgères, France
Bee Health Laboratory, Department of Biology, The Beytepe Campus, Hacettepe University, Ankara 06800, Turkey
Faculty of Ecological Agriculture, EDUCONS University, 21208 Sremska Kamenica, Serbia
Institute of Bee Health, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Schwarzenburgstrasse 161, 3003 Bern, Switzerland
Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, University of Turin, 10095 Turin, Italy
Entomology & Plant Pathology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA
Plant Research International, Wageningen UR, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
Alveus AB Consultancy, 5061 EL Oisterwijk, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Alessandro Campanaro and Cristina Castracani
Insects 2021, 12(11), 987;
Received: 17 October 2021 / Accepted: 27 October 2021 / Published: 2 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Citizen Science Approach for Expanding the Research on Insects)
Honey bee colonies collect pollen from plants as a source of nutrients. Diverse diets comprising pollen from many different plant species are beneficial for honey bee colony health, because they contain a greater diversity of nutrients than monofloral diets of one plant species only. Here, we present the results of the COLOSS “CSI Pollen” study on the diversity of pollen collected by honey bee colonies. In this study, beekeepers acted as citizen scientists sampling and analyzing pollen collected by their own colonies. As a simple measure of diversity, beekeepers determined the number of different colors found in pollen samples that were collected in a coordinated and standardized way. The support of 750 beekeepers allowed the collection of information about almost 18,000 pollen samples from many European countries. We found that the pollen samples consistently comprised approximately six different colors in total, of which four colors were abundant. ‘Urban’ habitats or ‘artificial surfaces’ were associated with higher pollen color diversity. This investigation highlights seasonal- and land-use-related differences in the pollen supply for honey bees, which affects beekeeping and pollinator health. Determining pollen colors is a simple, useful technique for beekeepers to estimate pollen diversity.
A diverse supply of pollen is an important factor for honey bee health, but information about the pollen diversity available to colonies at the landscape scale is largely missing. In this COLOSS study, beekeeper citizen scientists sampled and analyzed the diversity of pollen collected by honey bee colonies. As a simple measure of diversity, beekeepers determined the number of colors found in pollen samples that were collected in a coordinated and standardized way. Altogether, 750 beekeepers from 28 different regions from 24 countries participated in the two-year study and collected and analyzed almost 18,000 pollen samples. Pollen samples contained approximately six different colors in total throughout the sampling period, of which four colors were abundant. We ran generalized linear mixed models to test for possible effects of diverse factors such as collection, i.e., whether a minimum amount of pollen was collected or not, and habitat type on the number of colors found in pollen samples. To identify habitat effects on pollen diversity, beekeepers’ descriptions of the surrounding landscape and CORINE land cover classes were investigated in two different models, which both showed that both the total number and the rare number of colors in pollen samples were positively affected by ‘urban’ habitats or ‘artificial surfaces’, respectively. This citizen science study underlines the importance of the habitat for pollen diversity for bees and suggests higher diversity in urban areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: Apis mellifera; citizen science; foraging ecology; nutrition; diversity; landscape; season; COLOSS Apis mellifera; citizen science; foraging ecology; nutrition; diversity; landscape; season; COLOSS
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MDPI and ACS Style

Brodschneider, R.; Kalcher-Sommersguter, E.; Kuchling, S.; Dietemann, V.; Gray, A.; Božič, J.; Briedis, A.; Carreck, N.L.; Chlebo, R.; Crailsheim, K.; Coffey, M.F.; Dahle, B.; González-Porto, A.V.; Filipi, J.; de Graaf, D.C.; Hatjina, F.; Ioannidis, P.; Ion, N.; Jørgensen, A.S.; Kristiansen, P.; Lecocq, A.; Odoux, J.-F.; Özkirim, A.; Peterson, M.; Podrižnik, B.; Rašić, S.; Retschnig, G.; Schiesser, A.; Tosi, S.; Vejsnæs, F.; Williams, G.; van der Steen, J.J.M. CSI Pollen: Diversity of Honey Bee Collected Pollen Studied by Citizen Scientists. Insects 2021, 12, 987.

AMA Style

Brodschneider R, Kalcher-Sommersguter E, Kuchling S, Dietemann V, Gray A, Božič J, Briedis A, Carreck NL, Chlebo R, Crailsheim K, Coffey MF, Dahle B, González-Porto AV, Filipi J, de Graaf DC, Hatjina F, Ioannidis P, Ion N, Jørgensen AS, Kristiansen P, Lecocq A, Odoux J-F, Özkirim A, Peterson M, Podrižnik B, Rašić S, Retschnig G, Schiesser A, Tosi S, Vejsnæs F, Williams G, van der Steen JJM. CSI Pollen: Diversity of Honey Bee Collected Pollen Studied by Citizen Scientists. Insects. 2021; 12(11):987.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Brodschneider, Robert, Elfriede Kalcher-Sommersguter, Sabrina Kuchling, Vincent Dietemann, Alison Gray, Janko Božič, Andrejs Briedis, Norman L. Carreck, Robert Chlebo, Karl Crailsheim, Mary Frances Coffey, Bjørn Dahle, Amelia Virginia González-Porto, Janja Filipi, Dirk C. de Graaf, Fani Hatjina, Pavlos Ioannidis, Nicoleta Ion, Asger Søgaard Jørgensen, Preben Kristiansen, Antoine Lecocq, Jean-François Odoux, Asli Özkirim, Magnus Peterson, Blaž Podrižnik, Slađan Rašić, Gina Retschnig, Aygün Schiesser, Simone Tosi, Flemming Vejsnæs, Geoffrey Williams, and Jozef J.M. van der Steen. 2021. "CSI Pollen: Diversity of Honey Bee Collected Pollen Studied by Citizen Scientists" Insects 12, no. 11: 987.

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