Wild bees are essential to our environment, but development, pesticides, and other issues are creating hardship for the pollinators. In this week’s “Issues of the Environment,” David Fair talks to Rackham student Gordon Fitch, a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, about the latest research and where it will lead.
Wild bees are indispensable pollinators, supporting both agricultural productivity and the diversity of flowering plants worldwide. But wild bees are experiencing widespread declines resulting from multiple interacting factors. A new University of Michigan-led study suggests that the effects of one of those factors—urbanization—may have been underestimated.
The study, led by a group of current and former U-M students and conducted at sites across southeast Michigan, looks at one aspect of this topic they say has received scant attention from bee researchers: the sex ratio of wild bees and how it changes across a rural-to-urban land-use gradient.