Special Issue "Pollinator Conservation"

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450). This special issue belongs to the section "Insect Ecology, Diversity and Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 December 2020) | Viewed by 19465

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Bertrand Schatz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE), Université de Montpellier, 34293 Montpellier Cedex 5, France; French Group on Pollination Ecology (GDR Pollinéco)
Interests: pollination ecology; evolution of plant-insect interactions; bee community; wild bee ecology; conservation; collaboration with protected areas
Prof. Denis Michez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Zoology, University of Mons, Mons B-7000, Belgium
Interests: bee diversity; conservation; nutrition; phylogeography
Prof. Anne-Laure Jacquemart
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Earth and Life Institute-Agronomy, Genetics, Reproduction and Populations Research Group, Université catholique de Louvain, Croix du Sud 2, Box L7 05 14, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
Interests: plant reproduction and pollination; plant-insect relationships; plant ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

The conservation of pollinators is crucial for their intrinsic value as a component of biodiversity, their strong involvement in interaction networks, and their essential role in pollination of crops and wild plant species, ensuring the reproductive success of a majority of plants and, thus, food production. However, their global decline is widely observed and is explained by a combination of several factors, such as the reduction and modifications of floral resources, the destruction of their habitat, the impact of pesticides and other types of pollution, and the invasion of exotic species. In this context, this Special Issue will report recent discoveries and review key subject areas in the field of pollinator conservation. From wild bees to different dipteran or other insect pollinators, articles will focus on the latest developments in their monitoring, their distribution, their biology, their interactions with plants, and their conservation status.

Dr. Bertrand Schatz
Prof. Denis Michez
Prof. Anne-Laure Jacquemart
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • conservation biology
  • pollination
  • pollinator threats
  • monitoring
  • policy

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Warm Temperatures Reduce Flower Attractiveness and Bumblebee Foraging
Insects 2021, 12(6), 493; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12060493 - 25 May 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1918
Abstract
(1) Background: Plants attract pollinators using several visual signals, mainly involving the display, size, shape, and color of flowers. Each signal is relevant for pollinators foraging for floral rewards, pollen, and nectar. Changes in floral signals and rewards can be induced by an [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Plants attract pollinators using several visual signals, mainly involving the display, size, shape, and color of flowers. Each signal is relevant for pollinators foraging for floral rewards, pollen, and nectar. Changes in floral signals and rewards can be induced by an increase in temperature, drought, or other abiotic stresses and are expected to increase as global temperatures rise. In this study, we explored how pollinators respond to modified floral signals and rewards following an increase in temperature; (2) Methods: We tested the effects of warmer temperatures on bee-pollinated starflower (Borago officinalis, Boraginaceae) and determined the behavior of one of its main pollinators, the buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris). We measured visual floral traits (display and size) and rewards (nectar and pollen) for plants cultivated at 21 °C or 26 °C. We investigated bumblebee behavior by tracking insect visits in a binary choice experiment in an indoor flight arena; (3) Results: Plants cultivated at 26 °C exhibited a smaller floral area (i.e., corolla sizes summed for all flowers per plant, 34.4 ± 2.3 cm2 versus 71.2 ± 2.7 cm2) and a greater flower height (i.e., height of the last inflorescence on the stem, 87 ± 1 cm versus 75 ± 1 cm) compared to plants grown at 21 °C. Nectar production per flower was lower in plants grown at 26 °C than in plants grown at 21 °C (2.67 ± 0.37 µL versus 4.15 ± 0.22 µL), and bumblebees visited flowers from plants grown at 26 °C four times less frequently than they visited those from plants grown at 21 °C; (4) Conclusions: These results show that warmer temperatures affect floral signals and reduce overall floral resources accessible to pollinators. Thus, the global increases in temperature caused by climate change could reduce plant pollination rates and reproductive success by reducing flower visitation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pollinator Conservation)
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Article
Seasonal Variations of Pollinator Assemblages among Urban and Rural Habitats: A Comparative Approach Using a Standardized Plant Community
Insects 2021, 12(3), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12030199 - 27 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1697
Abstract
Even though urban green spaces may host a relatively high diversity of wild bees, urban environments impact the pollinator taxonomic and functional diversity in a way that is still misunderstood. Here, we provide an assessment of the taxonomic and functional composition of pollinator [...] Read more.
Even though urban green spaces may host a relatively high diversity of wild bees, urban environments impact the pollinator taxonomic and functional diversity in a way that is still misunderstood. Here, we provide an assessment of the taxonomic and functional composition of pollinator assemblages and their response to urbanization in the Paris region (France). We performed a spring-to-fall survey of insect pollinators in green spaces embedded in a dense urban matrix and in rural grasslands, using a plant setup standardized across sites and throughout the seasons. We compared pollinator species composition and the occurrence of bee functional traits over the two habitats. There was no difference in species richness between habitats, though urban assemblages were dominated by very abundant generalist species and displayed a lower evenness. They also included fewer brood parasitic, solitary or ground-nesting bees. Overall, bees tended to be larger in the city than in the semi-natural grasslands, and this trait exhibited seasonal variations. The urban environment filters out some life history traits of insect pollinators and alters their seasonal patterns, likely as a result of the fragmentation and scarcity of feeding and nesting resources. This could have repercussions on pollination networks and the efficiency of the pollination function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pollinator Conservation)
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Article
Possible Spillover of Pathogens between Bee Communities Foraging on the Same Floral Resource
Insects 2021, 12(2), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12020122 - 29 Jan 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2057
Abstract
Viruses are known to contribute to bee population decline. Possible spillover is suspected from the co-occurrence of viruses in wild bees and honey bees. In order to study the risk of virus transmission between wild and managed bee species sharing the same floral [...] Read more.
Viruses are known to contribute to bee population decline. Possible spillover is suspected from the co-occurrence of viruses in wild bees and honey bees. In order to study the risk of virus transmission between wild and managed bee species sharing the same floral resource, we tried to maximize the possible cross-infections using Phacelia tanacetifolia, which is highly attractive to honey bees and a broad range of wild bee species. Virus prevalence was compared over two years in Southern France. A total of 1137 wild bees from 29 wild bee species (based on COI barcoding) and 920 honey bees (Apis mellifera) were checked for the seven most common honey bee RNA viruses. Halictid bees were the most abundant. Co-infections were frequent, and Sacbrood virus (SBV), Black queen cell virus (BQCV), Acute bee paralysis virus (ABPV) and Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV) were widespread in the hymenopteran pollinator community. Conversely, Deformed wing virus (DWV) was detected at low levels in wild bees, whereas it was highly prevalent in honey bees (78.3% of the samples). Both wild bee and honey bee virus isolates were sequenced to look for possible host-specificity or geographical structuring. ABPV phylogeny suggested a specific cluster for Eucera bees, while isolates of DWV from bumble bees (Bombus spp.) clustered together with honey bee isolates, suggesting a possible spillover. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pollinator Conservation)
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Article
Comparative Mitogenomic Analysis of Two Cuckoo Bees (Apoidea: Anthophila: Megachilidae) with Phylogenetic Implications
Insects 2021, 12(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12010029 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1352
Abstract
Bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea and Anthophila) are distributed worldwide and considered the primary pollinators of angiosperm. Megachilidae is one of the largest families of Anthophila. In this study, two complete mitogenomes of cuckoo bees in Megachilidae, namely Coelioxys fenestrata and Euaspis polynesia, were [...] Read more.
Bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea and Anthophila) are distributed worldwide and considered the primary pollinators of angiosperm. Megachilidae is one of the largest families of Anthophila. In this study, two complete mitogenomes of cuckoo bees in Megachilidae, namely Coelioxys fenestrata and Euaspis polynesia, were amplified and sequenced, with a length of 17,004 bp (C. fenestrata) and 17,682 bp (E. polynesia). The obtained results show that 37 mitogenomic genes and one putative control region were conserved within Hymenoptera. Truncated stop codon T was found in the cox3 gene of E. polynesia. The secondary structure of small (rrnS) and large (rrnL) rRNA subunits contained three domains (28 helices) and five domains (44 helices) conserved within Hymenoptera, respectively. Compared with ancestral gene order, gene rearrangement events included local inversion and gene shuffling. In order to reveal the phylogenetic position of cuckoo bees, we performed phylogenetic analysis. The results supported that all families of Anthophila were monophyletic, the tribe-level relationship of Megachilidae was Osmiini + (Anthidiini + Megachilini) and Coelioxys fenestrata was clustered to the Megachile genus, which was more closely related to Megachile sculpturalis and Megachile strupigera than Euaspis polynesia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pollinator Conservation)
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Article
Contribution of Extensive Farming Practices to the Supply of Floral Resources for Pollinators
Insects 2020, 11(11), 818; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11110818 - 20 Nov 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1294
Abstract
Intensification of agricultural practices leads to a loss of floral resources and drives pollinator decline. Extensive agricultural practices are encouraged in Europe and contribute to the preservation of biodiversity. We compared three agricultural landscapes without extensive farming practices with three adjacent landscapes containing [...] Read more.
Intensification of agricultural practices leads to a loss of floral resources and drives pollinator decline. Extensive agricultural practices are encouraged in Europe and contribute to the preservation of biodiversity. We compared three agricultural landscapes without extensive farming practices with three adjacent landscapes containing organic crops and extensively managed grasslands in Belgium. Nectar resource availability and plant–pollinator interactions were monitored from April to June. Flower density per plant species and plant–pollinator interactions were recorded in different landscape elements. In April, the main nectar resources were provided by linear elements such as hedgerows and forest edges. Nectar production peaked in May, driven by intensive grasslands and mass-flowering crops. Occurrence of extensive grasslands and organic crops significantly alleviated the nectar resource gap observed in June. Our results underscore the importance of maintaining landscape heterogeneity for continuous flower resources and highlight the specific role of extensive grasslands and organic crops in June. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pollinator Conservation)
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Article
Wooded Semi-Natural Habitats Complement Permanent Grasslands in Supporting Wild Bee Diversity in Agricultural Landscapes
Insects 2020, 11(11), 812; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11110812 - 18 Nov 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1261
Abstract
Loss of semi-natural habitats (SNH) in agricultural landscapes affects wild bees, often negatively. However, how bee communities respond varies and is still unclear. To date, few studies have used precise descriptors to understand these effects. Our aim was to understand the respective and [...] Read more.
Loss of semi-natural habitats (SNH) in agricultural landscapes affects wild bees, often negatively. However, how bee communities respond varies and is still unclear. To date, few studies have used precise descriptors to understand these effects. Our aim was to understand the respective and complementary influences of different wooded and herbaceous habitats on wild bee communities. We selected thirty 500-m radius landscapes on a gradient of a percentage of wooded SNH in south-western France. At each landscape, we sampled wild bees in spring 2016 and plants in spring 2015 and 2016 at the forest edge, in a hedgerow, and in a permanent grassland. Pollen carried by the most abundant bee species was collected and identified. Using beta diversity indices, we showed that wild bee community composition differs between the three SNH types, and especially between herbaceous and wooded SNH. Based on Jacobs’ selection index, we showed that pollen of some plant species recorded in wooded SNH are preferentially selected by wild bees. Studying the impact of the loss of each SNH type on the global bee-pollen interaction network, we found that wooded SNH contributed to its resilience, enabling specific plant–bee interactions. Overall, our results underline the non-negligible contribution of wooded SNH to the diversity of wild bees in agricultural landscapes, and thus the importance of maintaining different types of SNH. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pollinator Conservation)
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Article
Mixed-Species Gardens Increase Monarch Oviposition without Increasing Top-Down Predation
Insects 2020, 11(9), 648; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11090648 - 22 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 6411
Abstract
Monarch butterfly populations have declined by over 80% in the last 20 years. Conservation efforts focus on the creation of milkweed habitats to mitigate this decline. Previous research has found monarchs lay more eggs per milkweed stem in urban gardens than natural habitats [...] Read more.
Monarch butterfly populations have declined by over 80% in the last 20 years. Conservation efforts focus on the creation of milkweed habitats to mitigate this decline. Previous research has found monarchs lay more eggs per milkweed stem in urban gardens than natural habitats and recent work identified specific garden designs that make urban gardens more attractive to monarchs. Increasing plant diversity can reduce specialist insect herbivore colonization via bottom-up (e.g., plant) and top-down (e.g., predation) regulatory factors. Although this is beneficial for pest management efforts, it contradicts conservation efforts. In this study, we explored if adding multiple flowering species to garden-sized milkweed plantings affected monarch oviposition or top-down regulation of larvae. We compared monarch egg abundance, natural enemy abundance and richness, and biological control of monarch larvae in milkweed monocultures and milkweed mixed with four additional wildflower species. We found that monarchs laid 22% more eggs on sentinel milkweed plants in mixed-species plots with no effect of plant diversity on monarch survival. We also found higher natural enemy richness, wasp, and predatory bug abundance in the mixed-species plots and this did not translate to higher biological control rates. Our results provide more evidence that plant selection and habitat design are important for monarch conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pollinator Conservation)
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Review

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Review
Beyond the Decline of Wild Bees: Optimizing Conservation Measures and Bringing Together the Actors
Insects 2020, 11(9), 649; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11090649 - 22 Sep 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2793
Abstract
Wild bees are facing a global decline mostly induced by numerous human factors for the last decades. In parallel, public interest for their conservation increased considerably, namely through numerous scientific studies relayed in the media. In spite of this broad interest, a lack [...] Read more.
Wild bees are facing a global decline mostly induced by numerous human factors for the last decades. In parallel, public interest for their conservation increased considerably, namely through numerous scientific studies relayed in the media. In spite of this broad interest, a lack of knowledge and understanding of the subject is blatant and reveals a gap between awareness and understanding. While their decline is extensively studied, information on conservation measures is often scattered in the literature. We are now beyond the precautionary principle and experts are calling for effective actions to promote wild bee diversity and the enhancement of environment quality. In this review, we draw a general and up-to-date assessment of the conservation methods, as well as their efficiency and the current projects that try to fill the gaps and optimize the conservation measures. Targeting bees, we focused our attention on (i) the protection and restoration of wild bee habitats, (ii) the conservation measures in anthropogenic habitats, (iii) the implementation of human made tools, (iv) how to deal with invasive alien species, and finally (v) how to communicate efficiently and accurately. This review can be considered as a needed catalyst to implement concrete and qualitative conversation actions for bees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pollinator Conservation)
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