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Title: Social insects: from the lab to the landscape - translational approaches to pollinator health

item GROZINGER, CHRISTINA - Pennsylvania State University
item Evans, Jay

Submitted to: Current Opinion in Insect Science
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/19/2015
Publication Date: 10/31/2015
Citation: Grozinger, C.M., Evans, J.D. 2015. Social insects: from the lab to the landscape - translational approaches to pollinator health. Current Opinion in Insect Science. doi:10.1016/j.cois.2015.06.001.

Interpretive Summary: Honey bees are threatened by parasites, pathogens and stress factors including pesticides and inadequate nutrition. In this volume we present 19 reviews of bee biology and current research advances, with a focus on applying research insights to better bee management and breeding. Field and laboratory techniques have provided great insights into bee biology and the challenges ahead involve applying those insights for novel pest and stress management tools and for new strategies for breeding bees. These advances can be used by beekeepers to help ensure stable pollinator populations.

Technical Abstract: Approximately 90% of flowering plants — corresponding to nearly three quarters of global agricultural crops — use pollinators to set seed and fruit. However, populations of several species of pollinators are in decline throughout the world, threatening the stability of our ecosystems and productivity of our agricultural landscapes. Three major events from 2006 to 2007 catalyzed global awareness of our dependence on pollinators and the severe and increasing threats to their populations. First, the publication of the US National Research Council’s report on the Status of Pollinators in North America cataloged dramatic declines in several managed and unmanaged pollinator species, while highlighting our lack of understanding of the factors that are causing these declines and the surprisingly limited information available for the vast majority of pollinator species. Second, US beekeepers reported heavy and enigmatic losses of their honey bee colonies, a phenomenon soon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Third, an international coalition of researchers published the honey bee (Apis mellifera ) genome sequence, providing critical new tools and approaches for studying honey bee health. These events galvanized the scientific community, stakeholders, policymakers and the public to work together to conserve and expand pollinator populations.