Sex, Drugs and Bees: plant chemistry and pollinators

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Many plants rely on flower visits by pollinators such as bees in order to reproduce. When bees consume nectar and pollen, they must cope with naturally occurring plant secondary chemicals, substances usually associated with plants’ defense against herbivores. Why would plants expose their pollinators to these chemicals? How do they affect bee health? And what are the consequences of plant chemistry for pollination of wild and cultivated plants? Dr. Leif Richardson’s presentation at VCE’s Suds and Science series draws on his research in Vermont exploring effects of plant chemicals on bumble bee-parasite interactions and bee foraging behavior. He also addresses the importance of wild bees to agriculture and ongoing efforts to halt their decline.

Listen to Dr. Leif Richardson, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont and co-PI on the Vermont Center for Ecostudies Bumble Bee Atlas project, explain his amazing findings.

Suds and Science: Sex, Drugs, and Bees from CATV 10 on Vimeo.

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