World Bee Day 2020 We-BEE-Nar with Dr Andrew Barron
Dr Andrew Barron is a neuroethologist studying the neural mechanisms of natural animal behaviour. He is conducting research to improve honey bee health and welfare including how bees and bee colonies are impacted by pesticide and disease stressors, and how we might best intervene to help colonies under stress.
One, then some: how to count like a bee
Our new study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, tested honeybees on exactly this question. We wanted to understand how honeybees choose where to forage in environments like greenhouses where our food is pollinated, in local parks, or in our own backyards. Specifically, our research looked at whether honeybees with no specific numerical training could choose a flower patch based on the quantity of flowers it had.
Why bees are finally getting a break
Australian Urban Wildlife App: Beneficial Insects
Statement from Australia's Natural History Museum Directors (Feb 2020)
The Directors/CEOs of Australia’s leading natural history museums today issued a joint statement in support of increased funding and co-ordinated national action to address the impacts of climate change on the nation’s biodiversity following the bushfires which ravaged the continent over the past few months.
The Directors of the Australian Museum (NSW); Museums Victoria; South Australian Museum; Western Australian Museum; Queensland Museum; and Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory; whose natural science collections hold almost 60 million reference specimens said:
Natural history museums are among the most trusted public institutions* playing a critical role in describing and conserving our natural history in Australia and connecting the natural environment with the public through education outreach and exhibitions.
We now recognise human-induced climate change, alongside land clearing and habitat use, as the over-arching issue affecting Australia’s unique wildlife as evidenced by more intense bushfires, drought, floods and the impact of warming oceans on the Great Barrier Reef and other marine environments.
Our museums hold invaluable reference collections for the nation – we are the ‘ark’ of information on Australian species with collections that date back as early as the 1850s.
Rewilding cities will improve public health
This could be achieved through restoring urban microbial biodiversity through rewilding.
Alternative pollinators to help farmers as bee populations suffer in drought and bushfires (Feb 2020)
We need to talk about the impact the bushfires are having on insects (Jan 21 2020)
Fates of humans and insects intertwined, warn scientists
The researchers said solutions were available and must be implemented immediately. These range from bigger nature reserves and a crackdown on harmful pesticides to individual action such as not mowing the lawn and leaving dead wood in gardens. They also said invertebrates must no longer be neglected by conservation efforts, which tend to focus on mammals and birds.
Why Gentle Honeybee Hives Are Less Resilient
Studies have shown that low-aggression hives have higher mortality rates than high-aggression ones. Scientists across many disciplines are trying to figure out why honeybee colonies are dying at historically high rates.
IPBES Science and Policy for People and Nature. Assessment Report on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production
Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services aims to assess animal pollination as a regulating ecosystem service underpinning food production in the context of its contribution to nature’s gifts to people and supporting a good quality of life. To achieve this, it focuses on the role of native and managed pollinators, the status and trends of pollinators and pollinator-plant networks and pollination, drivers of change, impacts on human well-being, food production in response to pollination declines and deficits and the effectiveness of responses. The assessment concludes that 75% of our food crops and nearly 90% of wild flowering plants depend at least to some extent on animal pollination and that a high diversity of wild pollinators is critical to pollination even when managed bees are present in high numbers.
We can now speak the universal language of honey bees Researchers have deciphered and codified the honey bee language.
“The bees can tell us in high spatial and temporal resolution where forage is available and at what times of the year. So, if you want to build a mall for example, we would know if prime pollinator habitat would be destroyed. And, where bees forage, other species forage as well. Conservation efforts can follow.”
Agroecology: A Systems Approach How scientists propose that we feed the future… and solve a host of other problems at the same time.
Residential green space in childhood is associated with lower risk of psychiatric disorders from adolescence into adulthood
benefits and possibly lower risk of psychiatric disorders. This
nation-wide study covering >900,000 people shows that children who grew up with the lowest levels of green space had
up to 55% higher risk of developing a psychiatric disorder independent from effects of other known risk factors. Stronger
association between cumulated green space and risk during
childhood constitutes evidence that prolonged presence of
green space is important. Our findings affirm that integrating
natural environments into urban planning is a promising approach to improve mental health and reduce the rising global
burden of psychiatric disorders.
The Rapid Decline Of The Natural World Is A Crisis Even Bigger Than Climate Change
Where have all the farmland birds gone? 21/03 2018
Neonicotinoids: risks to bees confirmed 28/02/2018
Scientist warn of 'ecological Armageddon' after study shows flying insect numbers plummet 75% over 27 years. October 18, 2017
Global declines in insects have sparked wide interest among scientists, politicians, and the general public. Loss of insect diversity and abundance is expected to provoke cascading effects on food webs and to jeopardise ecosystem services.