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The project Status and Trends of European Pollinators (STEP) will document the nature and extent of these declines, examine functional traits associated with particular risk, develop a Red List of important European pollinator groups, in particular bees and lay the groundwork for future pollinator monitoring programmes.  STEP will also assess the relative importance of potential drivers of such change, including climate change, habitat loss and fragmentation, agrichemicals, pathogens, alien species, light pollution, and their interactions. STEP will measure the ecological and economic impacts on declining pollinator services and floral resources including effects on wild plant populations, crop production and human nutrition. It will review existing and potential mitigation options, providing novel tests of their effectiveness across Europe. The work will build upon existing datasets and models, complemented by spatially-replicated campaigns of field research to fill gaps in current knowledge. STEP will integrate the findings into a policy-relevant framework, creating Evidence-based Decision Support tools. It will also establish communication links to a wide range of stakeholders across Europe and beyond, including policy makers, beekeepers, farmers, academics and the general public. Taken together, the research programme will improve our understanding of the nature, causes, consequences and potential mitigation of declines in pollinator services at local, continental and global scales.

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STEP is funded by the European Commission as a Collaborative Project within Framework 7 under grant 244090 – STEP– CP – FP. More information on the STEP website: www.STEP-project.net

Further reading:

Developing European conservation and mitigation tools for pollination services: approaches of the STEP (Status and Trends of European Pollinators) project. Potts S.G. et. al. Journal of Apicultural Research 50: 152-164. 2011 [Link to PDF]

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Buglife President Germaine Greer, Wildlife Presenter Bill Oddie and former Prime Minister Tony Blair today become ambassadors for a new campaign at The Royal Society in London to help ‘Get Britain Buzzing’. The campaign led by Buglife hopes to highlight the crisis facing pollinating insects such as bees, hoverflies and moths.

The launch event is taking place this afternoon with a recorded message from Tony Blair followed by a series of talks on pollinators and a performance from Insect Circus a spectacular combination of physical theatre, circus skills and extraordinary insect costumes.

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Buglife

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Government releases honeybee review of neonicotinoid pesticide – but what about our wild pollinators?

10th March 2011

Buglife and other environmental charities are very concerned that Government inaction means that controversial neonicotinoid pesticides are continuing to damage bees and other wildlife; this is despite a newly released Government report claiming that field studies show “no gross effects” on Honeybees.

There is a growing pile of independent, published scientific evidence of damage to bees and other pollinators from these pesticides.In contrast the key field studies that the Government report relies on were funded by the pesticide company, have not been published and have not been subject to open examination.

Matt Shardlow, Buglife Chief Executive said “We welcome the publication of this report, for the first time it is clear what evidence the Government has been relying on to license the use of these potentially environmentally destructive chemicals,”

“However, the release of this Government report has not put us at ease.It focuses almost entirely on Honeybees, and while the health of domestic bees is important, more than 90% of pollination is done by wild bees, hoverflies, moths and other insects.”

“There is nothing in the report that leads to a conclusion that the chemicals are safe for the environment.Indeed, one study quoted showed even bigger impacts on solitary bees than on Honeybees.” ..

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Buglife

Buglife report – revised (pdf)

The Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) report and letter to the CRD

The Cresswell report

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Checkout Wesley Fleming’s superb glass insect sculptures

Japanese Hornet by Wesley Fleming

More in his Flickr Gallery

See how he does it here:

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Scientists have discovered why orchids are one of the most successful groups of flowering plants — it is all down to their relationships with the bees that pollinate them and the fungi that nourish them. The study, published February 1 in the American Naturalist, is the culmination of a ten-year research project in South Africa involving researchers from Imperial College London, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and other international institutions.

The orchid family is one of the largest groups of flowering plants, with over 22,000 species worldwide. New research suggests that there is such a huge range of species because orchids are highly adaptable and individual species can interact with bees, and other pollinators, in different ways.

For example, when orchids Pterygodium pentherianum and Pterygodium schelpei live side by side, Pterygodium pentherianum puts its pollen on the bee’s front legs, whereas Pterygodium schelpei puts it on the bee’s abdomen, as in the photo above. This means that one bee can carry pollen from two distinct species without mixing it.

The study also shows how orchids are able to live harmoniously together, with different species working in partnership with different microscopic fungi in the soil, ensuring they do not compete with each other.

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Science Daily

Research paper citation:

The Effects of Above- and Belowground Mutualisms on Orchid Speciation and Coexistence. Richard J. Waterman, Martin I. Bidartondo, Jaco Stofberg, Julie K. Combs, Gerhard Gebauer, Vincent Savolainen, Timothy G. Barraclough and Anton Pauw. The American Naturalist, Vol. 177, No. 2, 2011.

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From the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust:
Join our BioBlitz – 9 & 10 July 2010
at Banovallum House, Horncastle
A BioBlitz is a 24 hour wildlife survey where we try to find and identify as much wildlife as possible… and we need your help.
Everyone can take part in finding wildlife during the BioBlitz event and it’s quite incredible what can be found.
BioBlitzing the gardens of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust headquarters, Banovallum House in Horncastle, illustrates just how much biodiversity is out there. So far over 700 species have now been found and identified in the gardens of Banovallum House.

The fifth annual BioBlitz will be taking place at Banovallum House in Horncastle on Friday 9 July from 4pm and on Saturday 10 July from 10am until 4pm.

It’s a race against time to see how much wildlife can be found and identified in the gardens of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust headquarters, Banovallum House, in Horncastle and everyone is invited to come along and join in the fun.

There will be:
  • Pond dipping and minibeast hunts.
  • Searches for butterflies, dragonflies, hoverflies and other flying insects.
  • A self guided trail.
  • Bird ringing demonstrations.
  • Children’s activities.
  • Nature photography workshops.
  • Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust gift shop will be open.
Find out what happened on previous BioBlitzes:
The Lincolnshire BioBlitz is organised by the Lincolnshire Biodiversity Partnership, Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union and Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.
BioBlitz events are happening across the UK – find out about the national BioBlitz programme.
BioBlitz

Pics from previous BioBlitz

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