Pollinators play a key role in keeping the U.S. and world food supply healthy.
They provide pollination and food for our crops, our animals, and our people.
And yet, the pollinator population is facing an unprecedented decline, with scientists reporting that the number of pollinators in the U., and around the world, has fallen by 40% in the last 30 years.
But with more than one billion people and billions of acres of land in the United States, it’s not surprising that there are a lot of unanswered questions about the impacts of pollinator loss.
Now, a new study published in the journal Conservation Biology aims to answer those questions by studying the complex interactions between pollinators and their hosts.
The researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the University in London and the National Science Foundation (NSF) were looking for ways to quantify how pollinators contribute to the health of their native ecosystems.
What they found, according to the researchers, is that the interaction between a number of different species of pollination insects is a key driver of pollinating success.
“What we found was that the success of a pollinator depends on its relative abundance,” said Rachel Smith, a senior research scientist in the CU Boulder Department of Biological Sciences who worked on the study.
“The more abundant species are able to get to the plant, the more pollinators will benefit.
So this was an interesting opportunity to really explore that relationship.”
The researchers were able to do this because of a number the animals’ relative abundance.
They used a number that’s widely used to gauge relative abundance: the species that pollinate the most plants are more abundant than the ones that pollinated the fewest.
In other words, plants that are more pollinated are more likely to survive and reproduce.
“That was our goal,” said Smith.
“To understand how that works, we needed to know how the number is related to the species.”
To do that, the researchers took a look at species of butterflies that are the only pollinators for certain species of grasses and shrubs, as well as plants that have been introduced into the United Kingdom.
They then looked at the number and distribution of these plants in different areas.
“We were able,” said Kari Eppenmaier, an associate professor in the University at Buffalo’s Department of Biology and a co-author of the study, “to see that the more abundant pollinators are associated with a higher diversity of plants.”
In other word, plants are being introduced that have a higher relative abundance of pollinians, and those plants are then more successful.
So, for example, the butterflies that pollinify the most species of plants are most successful in areas where they’re the most abundant, and they’re able to spread their genes.
The study also showed that pollinators also contribute to pollinator success by providing a boost to plants and animals.
They can help plants by attracting and storing nutrients in their leaves, and by pollinating the flowers of plants that help the animals to pollinate their own crops.
For example, if a plant grows in a particular location, the plants will be more likely not only to attract pollinators but also to produce offspring, which then can help the plants survive.
“In fact, there is a correlation between pollinator abundance and survival of species,” said Eppensmaier.
“And we think this is a very important role for pollinators to play.”
In their study, the authors also looked at other factors that influence the success or failure of a plant’s pollination.
“There are a number different factors that affect plant growth and function, including environmental factors like weather and temperature, water resources, and insects,” said Dr. Krista Stokes, an assistant professor in CU Boulder’s Department in biology and one of the co-authors of the paper.
“These factors are often associated with species diversity, so we wanted to know if there was a relationship between pollination success and those factors.”
The authors looked at five factors in particular that were known to influence plant pollination, and how they influence pollinator health.
First, they looked at factors that have some relationship to pollinators’ relative abundances.
They looked at whether the number or density of certain species was more likely, or less likely, to be associated with their relative abundance in the same area.
They also looked for interactions between species that are common in different parts of the world.
The researchers also looked to see if there were differences in the relative abundance between pollinants.
They examined the effect of pollinated plants in relation to their hosts’ abundance.
“There is a lot to learn from this,” said Stokes.
“Our hope is that this research can help us understand how pollinator impacts may have changed over time.”
The paper is the first to look at the impact of the changing habitat for pollination species.
“When pollination is low, pollinator populations are declining,” said Hani Saadat, the lead author of