Depletion of natural diversity
by Jennifer Powroznyk on February 28, 2013 - 9:18am
It is commonly understood that our planet is running into issues in sustaining our natural resources. Whether it be the effects of global warming or that of developing consumerism, our planets natural biomes have taken a large toll. According to an article posted by the National Wildlife Federation, due to inconsistent fluctuation in climate, diminishing of flowers due to development and global warming, bumblebees have also come to face a big obstacle. Due to their diminishing habitat, many bumblebee species are endangered.
According to a Plos one article posted Nov 27th 2012 bees are susceptible to becoming endangered because they may not be able to cope with the effects of habitat depletion. The Plos one article mentions specialized bumblebees, a type of bumblebee that relies on the pollen of specific flowers. Being dependant on one specific type of flower for pollen would suggest that some species may not be able to go on because they are only able to pollinate one type of plant. As for more dynamic bumblebees, it is stated that the fermentation of flowers is causing there to be a lack of flowers for bee’s to pollenate, therefore an overabundance of different bee colonies in certain areas. Even in said areas where flowers are available, colonies struggle to share flowers. Because fewer bees are being supported, there are less bee’s being bred. Diversity depletes with the depletion of flowers. The extinction of bees will result in lack of pollination, which will cause diversity in plant species to diminish rapidly.
Though it seems there is no positive side to this story, based on an experiment covered by Rachel Ehrenberg with Science News on Oct 20th, 2012, Bumblebees are advanced flower locators. In an experiment where 50 artificial flowers were spread out 50 meters from each other, with 120 possible routes from the hive to each flower, in 20 tries or less bumblebees were able to find the optimal route. Hopefully that will stall there extinction for some time, and allow humans to acknowledge the potential disasters that could come with the extinction of bees and hopefully do something about it.
1. Mayer C, Michez D, Chyzy A, Bre´dat E, Jacquemart A-L (2012) The Abundance and Pollen Foraging Behaviour of Bumble Bees in Relation to Population
Size of Whortleberry (Vaccinium uliginosum). PLoS ONE 7(11): e50353. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050353
2. Bees fast to find shortest route. By: Ehrenberg, Rachel, Science News, 00368423, 10/20/2012, Vol. 182, Issue 8