- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Two scientists—lead author Charlie Nicholson, a UC Davis postdoctoral scholar formerly with the University of Vermont (UVM), and senior author Paul Egan, a senior researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences--analyzed 117 published research papers on natural hazards that threaten pollinators and pollination.
Their paper, “Natural Hazard Threats to Pollinators and Pollination,” published in the journal Global Change Biology, sounds the alarm to scientists and policy makers to place the impacts of natural hazards at the center of future research in order to emphasize conservation and reduce disaster risks.
Previous research on threats to pollinators primarily focuses on direct human impacts, but scientific knowledge of natural hazard impacts has not been synthesized yet, they said.
“The frequency and intensity of many natural hazards, such as floods and storms, are set to increase under climate change, so bringing together the evidence of these impacts is really timely,” said Nicholson, who joined the Neal Williams lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, earlier this year.
“Research was not evenly distributed across pollinator groups, with many impacts recorded for bees, Lepidoptera, flies. wasps, birds, beetles, and bats,” they wrote. “Studies tended to report impacts to pollinators in terms of abundance (41 percent of responses), species richness (19 percent), and various population-level effects (19 percent), whereas impacts to plants were measured in terms of reproductive success (39 percent), floral traits (27 percent), and species richness (11 percent).”
Scrutinizing the scientific literature involved “poring over many accounts of the powerful destructive force of nature, but also searching for some pretty unexpected hazards such as solar flares, or the Earth's electromagnetic effect on pollinators,” Nicholson said.
The work also highlights disparities in the burden of evidence. Said Egan: “We see that this type of pollination research is strongly biased toward economically developed regions, whereas it is smallholder farmers and developing countries that will bear the largest impacts. Their existing vulnerabilities and dependence on crop pollinators tend to be higher.”
Nicholson and Egan identified several future research priorities, including the need to understand impacts to yields through impacted pollination services and to better characterize and contextualise the nature of exposure to natural hazards.
“Taken together, our findings show that the response of pollinators and pollination to natural hazards depends on the type of disturbance and level of biological organization observed and that different pollinator taxa can respond very differently to the same hazard,” they wrote.
Formas, a Swedish government research council for sustainable development, funded the research.
Nicholson holds a doctorate in natural resources (2018) from UVM. Egan received his doctorate in plant animal interactions from Trinity College Dublin in Ireland in 2015.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The Baxter House is no more.
And no one is happier than Lynn Kimsey, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
“I'm glad to see it go,” she said.
As part of a training exercise conducted Tuesday, June 30, the UC Davis Fire Department burned the abandoned and rundown Baxter House on Bee Biology Road. The building was located east of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Center, which is part of the Department of Entomology.
Some 15 firefighters, including trainees in the UC Davis student firefighter program, participated in the training exercise, led by assistant chief Nathan Trauernicht, operations and training.
Once a private residence and then an avian lab research facility, the 1200-square-foot building was constructed in May 1938. According to Davis Wiki, the building was once the home of Maurice and Naomi Baxter; Maurice Baxter, a former university employee, retired from the university in 1968. The building later became an avian research lab operated by Michael Fry, who left the university in 2002.
The site is part of the Department of Entomology's development plans. The half-acre Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven will be located between the Laidlaw facility and the burn site. A public dedication of the bee friendly garden is planned in October.
The key goals of the garden are to provide bees with a year-around food source, to raise public awareness about the plight of honey bees and to encourage visitors to plant bee-friendly gardens of their own, Kimsey said.
“The Baxter House site will be an access to the back of the garden,” Kimsey said. “On the east side will be a quarter-acre wildflower garden financed by Haagen-Dazs.”
A five-member Sausalito-based team won the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven design competition earlier this year. Landscape architects Donald Sibbett and Ann F. Baker, interpretative planner Jessica Brainard and exhibit designer Chika Kurotaki created a series of interconnected gardens with such names as “Honeycomb Hideout,” “Nectar Nook” and “Pollinator Patch” to win the competition.
Sibbett is a principal with the Sibbett Group; Baker is a senior landscape architect with RRM Design Group; Brainard is an independent museum consultant; and Kurotaki is an exhibit designer who works for RRM Design Group.
Last December Häagen-Dazs committed $125,000 to the UC Davis Department of Entomology for the garden project. This encompasses site planning, preparation and the design competition. The design plans are online.
A public dedication of the garden is planned in the spring of 2010.