Diverse pollinators give better pollination, blueberry study finds

Species diversity in pollinating insects appears to be more important than total numbers in boosting commercial fruit pollination, according to new US research.

Image: Fernando Z
Image: Fernando Z

Researchers at North Carolina State University evaluated several mechanisms through which wild bees contribute to crop productivity in a highbush blueberry crop, surveying the bees and measuring pollination of both open- and singly-visited flowers.

"Wild-bee richness was a better predictor of pollination than wild-bee abundance," they concluded, adding: "We also found evidence suggesting pollinator visitation (and subsequent pollination) are stabilized through the differential response of bee taxa to weather (i.e., response diversity)."

The findings "add to a growing literature that diverse pollinator communities provide more stable and productive ecosystem services", they said.

The study is published in the journal PLoS One.


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