Bee pollination decline has scientist buzzing
TORONTO - Scientists have been buzzing for years about the dwindling number of bees and linking that to less pollination, but a new Canadian study suggests the decline could also be blamed on climate change.
James Thomson, a scientist with the University of Toronto, has spent 17 years studying the wild lily from his log cabin in a remote plot of land in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. He's discovered that the flowers have been blooming earlier.
"Everyone tends to jump to the conclusion that if my lilies are having a decline in their pollination rate, it must be that the bee populations are dying off, but ... I'm not at all sure that that's happening," said Thomson.
"The plants are now blooming earlier than they used to and I don't think the bees are very active in the early spring," he explained.
He has called the discovery a "climate-driven" mismatch between when flowers bloom and when bees emerge from hibernation.
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Global Crop Diversity Threatened: Pavlovsk Experimental Station Facing Closure
In the early part of the twentieth century, an adventurous Russian agricultural scientist set out on an expedition to Iran. His goal: to begin a collection of seeds from across the world to better feed the people of his own country. Hundreds of trips and many years later, Nikolai Vavilov had not only succeeded in establishing a world-renowned seed collection, he had also revolutionized global understanding of plant and agricultural diversity and origins. The N.I. Vavilov Institute of Plant Industry, located in Petersburg, Russia, serves as the home for the hundreds of thousands of seed and plant varieties Vavilov collected.
This seed bank’s holdings have survived trial after tribulation, even outlasting the siege of Leningrad thanks to the dedicated commitment of scientists willing to starve to death to protect the invaluable collection. A recent ruling by the Russian Supreme Arbitration Court, however, threatens to result in the destruction of the Pavlovsk Experimental Station — home to Vavilov’s rare berry and fruit tree collection. Will all, then, have been for naught?
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