3019Re: [beemonitoring] Relative importance of pollinators
- Nov 15, 2013Jim is right. This is the sort of thing you can give only as an estimate with a WARNING that research lags and lags. Plenty of pollination books (texts and references) will offer these estimates but what are the really based on?PeterOn Fri, Nov 15, 2013 at 10:51 AM, Cane, Jim <Jim.Cane@...> wrote:
Folks- since only some small fraction of plant species have been studied as regards even their basic breeding system, let alone quantifying floral visitation intensities and efficacies of candidate pollinators, I would be very suspect of any sweeping generality about the “importance” of pollinator groups. As an example, the largest genus of flowering plants, Astragalus (3270 named species), has classic pea-shaped flowers, so one might expect that it needs bees for seed set. It is true that bees are prevalent where people have looked, but for only 29 or 3279 species do we know anything about pollination needs, and among those 29, it runs that gamut from cleistogamy to obligate outcrosser. So how does anyone justify extrapolating to the other 3241 species in the genus? If you simply change your generalization from “most” to “many” you can be safe, but an actual number will be largely drawn out of thin air, I believe.
James H. Cane
USDA-ARS Pollinating Insect Research Unit
Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322 USA
web page: www.ars.usda.gov/npa/beelab
Gardening for Bees: http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/plants-pollinators09.pdf
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