Helping agricultural pollination & bees in farmland

Balfour, Nicholas James (2016) Helping agricultural pollination & bees in farmland. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

Previous research has shown that bees are vital to crop pollination. However, modern agricultural practices are occupying an increasing share of the world's land area and have been heavily linked to declining bee populations. This thesis explores: i) the foraging behaviour of the honey bee (Apis mellifera) and its influence on crop pollination, and ii) the impact of current farmland management on bees and other flower visiting insects.
Chapter 3 demonstrates, via waggle dance decoding, that the majority of honey bee foraging was outside the orchards in which our hives were located, and that oilseed rape (Brassica napus) is a significant competitor to orchard flowers for honey bee visits.
Chapter 4 indicates that competitive interactions between honey bees and wild pollinators can influence honey bee flower choice, foraging behaviour and, potentially, their cross-pollination services.
Chapter 5 presents a survey of an area of agri-environmental farmland previously identified as a foraging 'hotspot' via waggle dance decoding. The data show that the five plant species with the most flower visitors were agricultural weeds, and that the abundance of flowers was a key determinant of flower visitor abundance.
Chapter 6 suggests that the proximity of honey bees to neonicotinoid (thiamethoxam) seed-treated oilseed rape has little impact on their long-term colony performance.
Chapter 7 shows that larger mature seed-treated plants have higher neonicotinoid residues in two widely grown crops: oilseed rape and maize (Zea mays).
Chapter 8 implies that the performance and reproduction of bumble bee colonies in an agricultural landscape is similar whether located adjacent to or distant from fields of thiamethoxam seed-treated OSR

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Biology and Environmental Science
Subjects: Q Science > QK Botany > QK0900 Plant ecology > QK0926 Reproductive interrelation. Pollination
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2016 10:21
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2016 10:21
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/60526

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