This October, we attended the SCAPE 2021 conference, which took place in Warsaw and Chęciny in Poland. SCAPE stands for The Scandinavian Association for Pollination Ecology, which has been organizing these conferences yearly since 1987.
We presented our project Cro Buzz Klima, met many nice people, and listened to 60 lectures covering the ecology and evolution of pollinators and plants, chemistry of floral scent and nectar, pollinator conservation, and pollinators in agricultural ecosystems.
In one of the plenary lectures, Massimo Nepi reviewed nectar neurobiology. Perhaps the best-known example is the discovery that caffeine in nectar improves bee memory so that caffeinated bees can find caffeinated flowers faster and easier. In addition to sugar and amino acids, nectar contains a number of other compounds. Some of these compounds protect plants from pathogens, and some are neuroactive molecules that regulate bee appetite, improve muscle function, or keep them calm. Such discoveries change our perception of the plant-pollinator relationship, as they suggest that plants may be active managers of the behavior of insects.
Research in Poland found that the pollen of trees, especially oak, is an important food resource for solitary bees in urban areas, where the availability of wildflowers is reduced. Such studies provide important data for the management planning of urban green spaces.
The meta-analysis of pollinator efficiency showed that honeybee, Apis mellifera, is not the most efficient pollinator, only average. Honeybees are still useful managed pollinators, but this research highlights that honeybees cannot replace wild pollinators or ecosystem services they provide.
The talk on mountain bumblebees revealed that at one locality and at a certain time bumblebees are picky eaters – they collect nectar and pollen from a small number of plant species, often not from the most abundant ones. However, when looking at data throughout the season and across the altitudinal gradient, bumblebees will collect food from different species, showing flexibility. Such analyses are important for predicting the adaptation of bumblebees to climate-related shifts in distributions of floral resources.
Our project began this spring when our field season officially started. Our project began this spring when our field season officially started. We also started to work on developing our logo at that time, in collaboration with phenomenal studio Verlauf. And over the summer and fall, we worked on creating this web page, in collaboration with an excellent team from Hyper Design Studio.
The icon representing our project is an insect put together from Windsor typeset characters, to match the rest of the logo typographically. Windsor typeset was created in 1905 and inspired by nature. Its old-school style gives our insect a certain dose of seriousness and credibility, which pollinators, responsible for the stability of most terrestrial ecosystems and food security, certainly deserve. Our insect seems well-read and friendly. It does not look like any particular insect but represents all, diverse and variable, wild pollinators.
Our logo also has a dynamic version based on the sound of the word BUZZ: it typographically simulates the buzzing of insects. In this version, our logo adapts to the format in which it finds itself, and fills all available space with the sound of pollinating insects. This is our project’s long-term goal: conservation of insects that fill our meadows, forests, parks, and gardens with buzzing sound; and raising the awareness of their importance so we can all remind ourselves that it is good when nature is buzzing.
In addition to the importance and vulnerability of wild pollinators, the motivation for this project is the overall lack of data about wild pollinators in Croatia. Our project therefore aims to collect first standardized data about these two pollinator groups, conduct analyses, and identify measures for increasing their climate resilience in order to establish a foundation for future pollinator conservation. Given the current policies of the European Union, in which pollinators feature prominently and which raise climate ambitions, our project activities will also help us to meet environmental policy obligations to the European Union.
Project objectives of Cro Buzz Klima are:
The collection of first standardized data on wild bees (Anthophila) and hoverflies (Syrphidae) of Croatia.
Climate change is one of the main threats to pollinators, in addition to land use change, pesticide use, pathogens, and invasive alien species. Due to climate change, pollinators and flowering plants experience shifts in their range, activity period and phenology, leading to spatial or temporal mismatches. How does climate change affect pollinators? Due to climate change, pollinators and flowering plants experience shifts in their range, activity period and phenology, leading to spatial or temporal mismatches. In addition, climate change can affect species directly, especially those less tolerant of thermal stress, This especially affects bees from the genus Bombus,bumblebees. Bumblebees are adapted to low temperatures and most species do not tolerate extremely hot days, the frequency of which is increasing due to climate change.
Addressing climate change is important for biodiversity conservation, and at the same time, conserving biodiversity can play an important role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Conservation of diverse pollinator communities is important for the resilience of terrestrial ecosystems against all environmental stressors, including climate change. Pollinators are essential for the survival of the vast majority of plant species, by maintaining their genetic diversity, reproductive potential, and by affecting plant survival in extreme weather conditions Research on agricultural plants shows that pollination helps plants tolerate thermal stress and that it has the potential to maintain the stability of plant populations.
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