Wild bees are one of the most undervalued insects on our planet, yet their contribution to the ecosystem is relied on heavily. In the past, we relied on wild bees to pollinate our crops, but wild bee populations are now in decline due to disease, extreme weather, competition from invasive species, habitat loss, and climate change. As a result, a UNH researcher has received a $550,000 grant that will help understand and protect the pollinators. Sandra Rehan, assistant professor of biological sciences in the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, received the Pollinator Health Fund grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a nonprofit created by the 2014 Farm Bill. The project was matched an additional $550,000 totaling the amount to $1.1 million.
The project will specifically investigate the stressors facing New England’s wild bee species, as well as encourage education and promote outreach to develop bee-friendly practices. Rehan and her student team will develop ecological and geospatial models to better understand the many factors affecting wild bees, including land use, the availability of flowering plants, and relationships with other bee species. The team will also produce the only comprehensive field guide to the bees of New England. Rehan will also produce the New England Bee ID course to educate much-needed pollinator taxonomists. The food and agriculture community will benefit from this research as they will learn about specific pollinator habitat requirements, leading to better land management, conservation policies, and strategies.
If you would like to learn more this research, please read here.More From: University of New Hampshire
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