Science & Technology

Pollination plummeted 31% in contaminated areas

Entomophily of plants and crops supports healthy and diverse ecosystems, Hundreds of billions of dollars Of economic value every year. However, due to a combination of environmental factors such as rising air pollution levels, entomophily has declined over the past century.

“Nitrogen oxides (NO)X) Diesel emissions and ground level ozone emit two of the most common air pollutants that interact in the air. ” James RyallsAn ecologist at the University of Reading, UK. Previous laboratory tests Shows its ozone and NOX Pollen maters can disrupt their ability to sniff flowers. “But I didn’t know much about the actual field-scale effects that are spatially and temporally related to insects.”

Recently, Ryalls and his colleagues conducted a field study to measure how common British pollen maters responded to increased NO levels.X And ozone. The team found that even at pollution levels well below government-regulated limits, pollen maters, flower visits, and overall pollination rates were significantly reduced.

Bug’s Life

Researchers conducted field trials in the summer of 2018 and 2019. They buried a black mustard pot in eight open-field patches. Grow widely In Europe, the Americas, and parts of Asia and Africa. Two zones were each filled with ozone using a custom-designed fumigation facility.X, And a combination of both pollutants. Ambient air was left in the last two zones as an experimental control. Next, pollen maters of 10 insects monitored the number of mustard flower visits per hour, the rate of flower visits, and overall pollination rates.

Testing prevented elevated levels of ozone and nitrogen oxides Cabbage white butterfly The above butterflies from pollination of mustard plants. credit: Tom Blackwell, CC BY-NC 2.0

During the two seasons, the team found that pollutants reduced the number of pollen maters in the zone by 62% to 70% and visits to flowers by 83% to 90%, depending on the type of insect. discovered. Flies and hoverflies were most repelled by pollutants, followed by bees, butterflies and moths. Beetles, stink bugs, and parasitoids appeared to be less affected by contamination, but the team found pollination reduced by up to Release These results are Environmental pollution In January.

Some plant species rely on a single pollinator for reproduction, and some insects pollinate only a single type of plant. Yet other pollinating insects rely solely on air odors to reproduce. “Insects smell the world as we see it.” Shannon OlsonA chemical ecologist at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bangalore, India, The Wall Street Journal.. “Their antennae are more than a million times more sensitive to some species than the human nose.”

These results highlight the significant vulnerabilities of pollen maters and their dependent plants. “Some niches may be filled by other species, but not enough to counter the negative effects of reduced biodiversity,” Ryalls said.

Sensitive nose

“Legal” safe “levels of contamination can discourage pollen maters. “

Global level Ground level ozone Continue to rise, and Diesel exhaust It continues to exceed regulatory limits, leading to a strong mixing of pollutants near the ground. These experiments were performed at levels where contamination levels were lower than commonly measured levels. Urban area And again below U.S. air quality standards.. The results of the study suggest that “current levels of air pollution can have far greater impacts on pollen maters, biodiversity, and food production than we previously thought. “Masu,” said Ryalls.

“The results are important because they show that legally’safe’levels of contamination can prevent pollen maters,” said Olson, who was not involved in the study.

“There are many global stressors that affect pollen maters’ populations, including pesticides, land-use changes, and climate change,” Ryalls added. “Air pollution is another potential stress factor that adds to the increased pressure on pollen maters.”

— Kimberly MS Cartier (@AstroKimCartier), Staff writer

Quote: Cartier, KMS (2022), pollination plummeted 31% in contaminated fields. Eos, 103, Published on February 18, 2022.
Text © 2022. author. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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Pollination plummeted 31% in contaminated areas Pollination plummeted 31% in contaminated areas

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