The Research Retinue is a new segment on PolliNation that goes into depth on research papers that have been recently featured in the news. The Retinue is made up of intrepid OSU undergraduates and this week involved Addison DeBoer (Biology), Lacy Haig (Zoology), Umayyah Wright (Environmental Science), Isabella Messer (Horticulture). They take up the question of the conservation implications of honey bees by examining two papers published in top research journals last month that take up this question from different angles.

Listen in to learn more about how honey bees affect global regions, which pollinators are the most effective, and how studies could improve their research.

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“Even if [honey bees] could [do the job of all the other pollinators combined], would we want them to? Because then we’d be missing out on all of the ecological variation of the other species.“ – Umayyah Wright

Show Notes:

  • How the honey bee contributes to pollination of wild plant communities worldwide
  • Why honey bee contributions to wild plant pollination can change due to many different environmental factors
  • How effective a pollinator the honey bee is in comparison to other bees
  • Why a pollinator’s native region is so important in it’s local ecosystem
  • Why simply pollinating plants is not the entire goal of pollinator protection
  • What is the most important trait of pollinators for conservation
  • Why these studies were useful, and what they need to improve
  • What the Research Retinue would like to see in the future for pollinator studies
  • Are their risks associated with beekeeping in sensitive areas
  • How different programs are taking steps to help home gardeners benefit the pollinator population
  • What home gardeners can do to help local pollinators flourish

“In the fight for bee conservation, we shouldn’t be focusing on honey bees because that’s an agricultural and economic issue, not a conservation issue.” – Isabella Messer

Links Mentioned:

2 thoughts on “42 Research Retinue – Honey Bees and Conservation

  1. Thank you for your interest in our study–it’s an honor to have our work featured in your inaugural Research Retinue segment! I thought that the team did a great job analyzing our results and methods in the context of the current state of knowledge, and identified many of the same limitations and challenges we wrestled with in writing the paper and presenting our results in an appropriate scope. It was a balancing act to neither undersell nor overstate our results, as well as to prevent the paper from taking on a “pro-honey bee” or “anti-honey bee” tone.
    Congratulations Addison, Lacy, Umayyah, and Isabella on a job well done–and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any further questions on our paper!
    Dr. K. James Hung

  2. Thank you so much Dr. Hung. It was the Retinue’s first outing, and we were all nervous; it is an amazing boost to get your note. Keep up the good work and if you are ever interested in coming on the show as a guest we would be completely thrilled!


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