Doug Sponsler on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

Doug is currently a postdoctoral scholar at Penn State University’s Center for Pollinator Research. He was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, and he went on to receive his PhD from Ohio State University. His research brings spatial ecology perspectives to the topics of pollinator foraging and toxicology, with particular emphasis on urban plant-pollinator interactions and mechanistic understandings of toxic exposure.

Listen in as we go over pesticide’s effects on pollinators, the difficulties in testing, and the advantages certain insects have in fighting pesticides.

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“It’s a bit ironic that the most convenient organism for which to study toxicology from a logistical perspective, the honey bee, is also the most problematic one for which to interpret toxicology.“ – Doug Sponsler

Show Notes:

  • What determines risk of a pesticide’s effect on pollinators
  • Why toxicity is talked about more than exposure
  • How field experiments on pesticides and pollinators can run into problems
  • How the EPA’s new BeeREX model helps in risk assessment
  • What the “dynamic hazard surface” can explain about the complexity of pesticide testing
  • Why the fully distributional nature of exposure is necessary
  • Why honeybee’s social complexity aids in defending them against pesticides

“[current models for pesticide exposure to bees in risk assessment] are good, but they do not get to the behavioral and chemical mechanics of exposure that go into bringing a bee into intersection with a pesticide.” – Doug Sponsler

Links Mentioned:

2 thoughts on “31 Doug Sponsler – The Risk of Pesticides to Honey Bees and Ecotoxicology

  1. Andony,
    I just got home from attending the OGCSAA pesticide seminar in which you gave the final address concerning pesticide risk to pollinators. Thank you for that talk. I wish everyone there could have listened to this podcast with Doug Sponsler as it rounds out your message so well.
    Thanks for all you do for pollinator health.

  2. Ha – that’s terrific! If I recall the golf course superintendents were some of the sharpest and most knowledgeable applicators I have encountered… keep up the good work!


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