Navigation Links
Secret life of bees now a little less secret
Date:2/1/2011

Many plants produce toxic chemicals to protect themselves against plant-eating animals, and many flowering plants have evolved flower structures that prevent pollinators such as bees from taking too much pollen. Now ecologists have produced experimental evidence that flowering plants might also use chemical defences to protect their pollen from some bees. The results are published next week in the British Ecological Society's journal Functional Ecology.

In an elegant experiment, Claudio Sedivy and colleagues from ETH Zurich in Switzerland collected pollen from four plant species buttercup, viper's bugloss, wild mustard and tansy using an ingenious method. Instead of themselves collecting pollen from plants, the researchers let bees do the leg work, harvesting pollen from the nests of specialist bees which only feed on one type of plant.

They then fed the pollen from each of the four plants to different broods of the larvae of two closely-related generalist species of mason bee (Osmia bicornis and Osmia cornuta) to see how well the larvae developed.

They found that despite the fact that the two generalist mason bees have a wide diet of different pollens, they showed striking differences in their ability to develop on pollen from the same plant species.

According to Claudio Sedivy: "While the larvae of Osmia cornuta were able to develop on viper's bugloss pollen, more than 90% died within days on buttercup pollen. Amazingly, the situation was exactly the opposite with the larvae of Osmia bicornis. And both bee species performed well on wild mustard pollen, while neither managed to develop on tansy pollen."

"As far as we know, this is the first clear experimental evidence that bees need physiological adaptations to cope with the unfavourable chemical properties of certain pollen," he says.

Plants would have good reason to protect their pollen against bees. Bees need enormous amounts of pollen to feed their young, pollen that could otherwise be used by the plants for pollination. The pollen of up to several hundred flowers is needed to rear one single larva, and bees are very efficient gatherers of pollen, often taking 70-90% of a flower's pollen in one visit. Because they store this pollen in special hairbrushes or in their gut, this means the pollen is not used to pollinate the flower.

Sedivy explains: "Bees and plants have conflicting interests when it comes to pollen. While most plants offer nectar to visiting insects as a bait for insects to transport the pollen from flower to flower, bees are very efficient pollen collectors. Therefore, plants have evolved a great variety of morphological adaptations to impede bees from depleting all their pollen. This study provides strong evidence that pollen chemistry might be at least as important as flower morphology to constrain pollen loss to bees."


'/>"/>

Contact: Claudio Sedivy
claudio.sedivy@ipw.agrl.ethz.ch
41-446-323-905
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Unlocking the secret(ase) of building neural circuits
2. A pesky bacterial slime reveals its survival secrets
3. Hair color of unknown offenders is no longer a secret
4. Unlocking the secrets of a plants light sensitivity
5. Unlocking the secrets of a plant’s light sensitivity
6. Discovery of the secrets that enable plants near Chernobyl to shrug off radiation
7. In new novel, secret discovery threatens company and damages love affair
8. Ancient wind held secret of life and death
9. Air flows in mechanical device reveal secrets of speech pathology
10. A stem cell secreted protein can be given to improve heart function after experimental heart attack
11. Pigs reveal secrets: New research shines light on Quebec industry
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Secret life of bees now a little less secret
(Date:12/15/2016)... 15, 2016  There is much more to innovative ... the engine. Continental will demonstrate the intelligence of today,s ... . Through the combination of the keyless entry ... biometric elements, the international technology company is opening up ... authentication. "The integration of biometric elements brings ...
(Date:12/12/2016)... Dec. 12, 2016  Researchers at Trinity College, ... graphene by combining the material with Silly Putty. The ... pressure detector able to sense pulse, blood pressure, ... spider.  The research team,s findings ... read here:  http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6317/1257 ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Calif. , Dec. 8, 2016  Singulex, Inc., ... Molecule Counting technology, entered into a license and supply ... serving science. The agreement provides Singulex access to Thermo ... Europe is used to diagnose systemic ... United States to aid in assessing the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... ... engineers, and scientists from around the world, was today awarded the "Best Science ... is based entirely on merit and decided upon by a dedicated team of ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... organization with services spanning the full spectrum of drug and device development, and ... services to pharma/device companies and clinicians, today announced Verified Clinical Trials ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... Md. , Jan. 18, 2017  Northwest Biotherapeutics, ... developing DCVax® personalized immune therapies for operable and inoperable ... Bosch , Chief Technical Officer of NW Bio, will ... January 19, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in ... Bosch will chair the session entitled "New Therapeutic Approaches ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. , Jan. 18, 2017 BD ... medical technology company, announced today that it will host a live ... 2017, at 1 p.m. (ET). The webcast can ... will be available for replay through Tuesday, January 31, 2017. ... About BD ...
Breaking Biology Technology: