Neal Williams to Speak in Japan at International Symposium on Pollinator Conservation
Jan. 16, 2012
DAVIS--Pollination ecologist Neal Williams, assistant professor of entomology at UC Davis, will be one of the featured speakers at the International Symposium on Pollinator Conservation, to be held Jan. 27-29 in Fukuoka, Japan.
Neal Williams will be giving a presentation at the International Symposium on Pollinator Conservation on Jan. 27 in Fukuota, Japan. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
His talk will explore agricultural landscape change and the role of bee life history in predicting and understanding responses of bee communities. The conference, sponsored by the Japan Society of the Promotion of Science and themed "Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators: Towards Global Assessments," will take place on the Hakozaki campus, Kyushu University.
Williams is the only invited speaker from California. (See his lab research)
“Bees provide a critical ecosystem service for humanity through their pollination of crops worldwide,” said Williams, who will speak on “Bee Life History and Resource Distributions Determine Population and Community Responses to Agricultural Landscape Change.”
“There is increasing recognition of the contributions of wild species to crop pollination and their role in sustainable pollination into the future. The persistence of wild bee species depends on the availability of essential nesting sites and forage resources within the landscape. Agriculture management can profoundly change the abundance and distribution of these resources over time and space."
Bombus vosnesenskii (yellow-faced bumble bee). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
“Because bee species differ in specific nesting and forage requirements, there is the potential for land transformation to filter wild bee communities based on such ecological traits,” Williams said. “I will present two separate studies from central California exploring the role nesting and forage resources in determining bee responses to agricultural intensification. The first study explores the effects of bee life history traits and resource distributions on observed changes in bee communities between semi-natural and farmland components of an agricultural landscape.
“I will use a combination of empirical data sampled over multiple landscapes and spatial modeling of bee communities to reveal the relative importance of forage and nesting resources to bee responses. The second study focuses on the bumble bee Bombus vosnesenskii. I will use empirical data on bumble bee colony performance and a spatially-explicit model of floral abundance to quantify the importance the forage-resource landscape in determining worker and queen production.”
Williams pointed out that “the abundance of forage strongly affected worker production; however, it was most sensitive to early season resources. Spatio-temporal variation in the resource landscape across the season reduced the overall effect of the forage landscape on queen production. Nonetheless consistent forage resources are key to the persistence of bumble bee populations in this region.”
Other featured speakers include:
James Cane from the USDA-ARS Bee Biology and Systematics Lab, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, who will speak on “Native Bees for Wildflower Seed Farming and Large-Scale Wildland Restoration in the western United States.”
David Goulson from University of Stirling, UK, “Bumble Bee Conservation in Practice; the Work of the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust”
Jacobus Biesmeijer from the NCB Naturalis, The Netherlands, “European Pollinators and Plants: Recent Changes in Space and Time”
Bernard Vaissiere from the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, France, “Economic Valuation of Vulnerability of World Agriculture Confronted with Pollinator Decline”
Hisatomo Taki, “Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Japan, “Pollinator Responses to Forest Management in Japan”
The conference is supported by the Ecological Society of Japan and the Japanese Society of Applied Entomology & Zoology.
The conference aims:
Recently, crop pollination by insects has been regarded as one of the most important ecosystem service. Insect pollination is necessary for 75 percent of all crops that are used directly for human food worldwide. Economic value of insect pollination is estimated to be € 153 billion per year. Furthermore, insect pollination is also necessary for the reproduction of many wild plants. However, pollinator declines have been reported in many parts of the world. Such declines are considered to be due to habitat destruction and fragmentation, environment pollution, and invasion of competitors and pathogens. This symposium aims to (1) grasp current situation facing pollinators around the world, (2) discuss effective conservation efforts and (3) develop collaborative networks among researchers from around the world including Asian countries. Many Asian countries will be required to achieve economic growth and conservation of biodiversity simultaneously. If cooperative framework is established between Asian researchers and those from other parts of the world, it can facilitate global-scale monitoring and efficient and effective conservation of pollinator diversity.
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology