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Bio­di­ver­sity


A Col­lec­tion of News by Moos

201618Oct20:52

Orna­men­tal plants have poten­tial for con­serv­ing pol­li­na­tors such as bees

Infor­ma­tion
pub­lished 18 Octo­ber 2016 | mod­i­fied 18 Octo­ber 2016
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Sphecid waspInsects play a vital role in ecosys­tem health, help­ing to aer­ate soil, keep­ing the nat­ural sys­tem in bal­ance, and pre­vent­ing detri­men­tal pests from tak­ing over essen­tial nat­ural resources. Addi­tion­ally, insects pro­vide crit­i­cal bio­log­i­cal ser­vices such as pol­li­na­tion and bio­log­i­cal con­trols. The authors of a study pub­lished in the August 2016 issue of HortScience say that flow­er­ing orna­men­tal plants have the poten­tial to sup­port ben­e­fi­cial insect com­mu­ni­ties, such as pol­li­nat­ing bees, wasps, and preda­tory plant bugs.

Bethany A. Har­ris, S. Kris­tine Bra­man, and Svo­boda V. Pen­nisi from the Uni­ver­sity of Geor­gia con­ducted visual obser­va­tions and sam­pling by sweep nets to assess the poten­tial of flow­er­ing orna­men­tals to act as a con­ser­va­tion resource for pol­li­na­tors. “By mon­i­tor­ing pol­li­na­tor and ben­e­fi­cial insect occur­rence within habi­tat man­age­ment sites, orna­men­tal plant species can be eval­u­ated for their arthro­pod attrac­tive­ness and the pro­vi­sion of arthro­pod medi­ated ecosys­tem ser­vices,” said Bethany Har­ris, lead author of the study.

To the best of our knowl­edge, this study is the first to doc­u­ment the response of pol­li­na­tors and nat­ural ene­mies to plant­i­ngs of orna­men­tal plants suit­able for south­east­ern landscapes
Bethany A. Har­ris, S. Kris­tine Bra­man, and Svo­boda V. Pen­nisi, the authors »

The research included visual obser­va­tions and sweep-​net sam­pling in four research plots at the Uni­ver­sity of Georgia’s Grif­fin Cam­pus. The plots, called the ‘But­ter­fly’ and ‘Con­ser­va­tion’ Gar­dens, included 74 com­mer­cially avail­able annual and peren­nial herba­ceous and shrub orna­men­tals, includ­ing exotic and native plant species.

The gar­dens attracted a diverse pop­u­la­tion com­prised of pol­li­na­tors (30+ species and 16+ fam­i­lies) and ben­e­fi­cial insects (20+ species and 9+ fam­i­lies),” Har­ris noted. Hov­er­flies, skip­pers, preda­tory plant bugs, and par­a­sitic wasps were fre­quent vis­i­tors to ‘But­ter­fly’ and ‘Con­ser­va­tion’ Gar­dens. “In addi­tion, species of native bees were iden­ti­fied in the gar­dens, sug­gest­ing that pol­li­na­tor habi­tats could be cre­ated in south­east­ern land­scapes using these taxa.”

Celosia, Gaura, Lan­tana, and Nepeta xfaassenii were some of the most-​visited plants by both pol­li­na­tors and ben­e­fi­cial insects. “This could be due to the vibrant colours, rich nec­tar and pollen sup­ply, and the vari­ety of flo­ral inflo­res­cences these plants pos­sess,” Har­ris said. Agas­tache and Celosia were the most fre­quently vis­ited by pol­li­na­tors among 74 plant taxa.

To the best of our knowl­edge, this study is the first to doc­u­ment the response of pol­li­na­tors and nat­ural ene­mies to plant­i­ngs of orna­men­tal plants suit­able for south­east­ern land­scapes,” the authors noted. They said that deter­min­ing which plants will pro­vide ade­quate resources at dif­fer­ent times in the grow­ing sea­son is one of the first steps toward con­ser­va­tion of bees and other ben­e­fi­cial insects. “Using these data, rec­om­men­da­tions can be pro­vided on the use of flow­er­ing orna­men­tal plants for pol­li­na­tor and ben­e­fi­cial insect con­ser­va­tion pur­poses as well as sam­pling meth­ods that can be employed to effec­tively sur­vey ben­e­fi­cial insect communities.”

(Source: Amer­i­can Soci­ety for Hor­ti­cul­tural Sci­ence press release, 13.10.2016)


UN Biodiversity decade

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

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