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Posted Mon Apr 4 2011: from San Jose Mercury News:
Native bee populations on the decline, report says
The National Academy of Sciences recently released a report confirming that some native bee populations -- the ones agriculture has depended on for centuries for pollination, until the advent of the honeybee -- are in decline. And one of the major culprits is no surprise: habitat loss. The scientists, led by Sydney A. Cameron of the University of Illinois at Urbana, found that the relative abundances of four species have declined by up to 96 percent over the last few decades. In addition, their surveyed geographic ranges have contracted by alarmingly -- as much as 87 percent, and even at the lowest level, 23 percent. The bumble bees also are being hit with higher infection levels of a pathogen known as Nosema bombi. And -- the triple whammy -- they have lower genetic diversity than other populations of non-declining species. "Pollinator decline has become a worldwide issue, raising increasing concerns over impacts on global food production, stability of pollination services, and disruption of plant-pollinator networks," Cameron wrote. Native bee populations matter hugely, given the decline of honeybees. Researchers in this area have been studying them, with the idea of determining if they could take up the slack -- regain their agricultural prominence -- if honeybee populations should collapse altogether.
[Read more stories about: habitat loss, corporate farming]

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'Doc Jim says:
To a rose, a pollinator is a pollinator is a pollinator. Until it isn't.

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