Blue-green orchid bees zip through increasingly scarce patches of tropical forest pollinating rare flowers. For the first time, researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute track unique signals from tiny transmitters glued to individual orchid bees, yielding new insight into the role of bees in tropical forest ecosystems.
“When people disturb and destroy tropical forest they disrupt pollination systems,” said David Roubik, senior staff scientist at STRI. “Now we can track orchid bees to get at the distances and spatial patterns involved in pollination—vital details that have completely eluded us in the past.”
Originating reserch paper: Large-Range Movements of Neotropical Orchid Bees Observed via Radio Telemetry.