On the 30th of January, the UMR EGCE (IRD, CNRS, Université Paris-Saclay) successfully managed to organize a hybrid open conference in France at the IDEEV institute, about insect driven pollination services.
The open conference took place as part of the PRIMA project, SafeAgroBee, and it brought together more than 120 participants with fantastic speakers, leading scientists and researchers who are at the forefront of their fields. Something that is not that easy to arrange, especially when dealing with a simultaneous translation –an unprecedented event for many!
The talks and presentations were well curated and covered themes about pollinators’ diversity and conservation, and their efficiency in crop pollination. The SafeAgroBee project was also introduced, and it proudly presented Work Package I, comprising their results as well as field lessons, trainings and challenges throughout the year.
The objectives of the open conference were:
- Shed light on the importance of pollinators and their role in the wellbeing of the world
- Introduce the SafeAgroBee project
- Share updates on WPI and their results
- Promote networking and reinforce collaboration between partners.
Overview of the talks:
Elise Verrier and Fabrice Requier helped in moderating the conference, by introducing the speaker as well as give a brief introduction on the topic that was about to be discussed.
Laure Kaiser-Arnauld, PhD in Biological Sciences, talked a little about the Lab at EGCE/IDEEV that comprises three research units with a large insect quarantine, greenhouses, growth chambers, bee hives, and experimental fields as well as an apple orchard.
Malena Sibaja Leyton, a PhD student at EGCE/IDEEV, presented a very timely study on honey bee colony loss in Latin America.
The study showed that beekeeping management can mitigate or even reverse the adverse effect of the accumulation of symptoms of bee pathologies and pesticide exposure. But also, that management-based mitigating effect on colony loss is dependent on the climate.
Beekeeping management is critical to mitigate the colony losses in Latin America, but we cannot give the same recommendations to everyone, since we need to consider the climate too in order to achieve this.
Malena postulated that the biggest challenge in doing such research in developing countries was the citizens’ participation, since many do not have access to internet.
She also touched on the subject of stingless bees that are native to the tropics. Some of them are used in the honey production (Meliponiculture), but it is still not as developed as beekeeping.
Adrien Perrard, researcher at iEES Paris, talked about pollinators’ diversity and conservation.
He is part of two important projects: the SPRING project –Strengthening pollinator recovery through indicators and monitoring– to develop tools to facilitate the identification of wild pollinators. And the ORBIT project –a centralized taxonomic facility groundwork for the identification of European wild bees.
There is a lot happening right now for pollinators, both at the national and European scale. He emphasized the point that honeybees are not the only pollinators and there are much more pollinators to consider that play an important role in pollination:
- Wild bees: There are more than 20 thousand species of wild bees in the world and more than two thousand species in Europe.
- Hover flies
- Other flies
- Moths (observed at night, they also contribute a lot to the pollination as well as conservation)
He mentioned that there is a worldwide decline in arthropods.
He alluded as well to the Eu-PoMS (European Pollinator Monitoring Scheme), a colossal program that brings data for different pollinators and documents what is happening to the different pollinators. Since it is important to have indicators on how pollinators are doing, this program will be of great help for the future.
At the end, he encouraged everyone to learn more about the European websites ORBIT (improve wild bee taxonomic resources, TaxoFly (improve hoverflies taxonomic resources) and SPRING (improve general knowledge on pollinator monitoring and diversity)
Isabelle Merle, postdoctoral researcher at EGCE/IDEEV, talked about pollinator efficiency in cocoa crops.
She mentioned that this crop is very challenging, though it produces thousands of flowers, but few fruits are produced. What are the limiting factors? The sticky pollen that is difficult to be dispersed by wind and the flower life span that is too short (only two days).
She said that the insects from the diptera order are considered the main pollinators of cocoa fruits, mainly because of their adapting morphology to the flower.
In order to compare the efficiency of cocoa flower visitors, visual diurnal monitoring and infrared camera recording by day and night were conducted. Something not done before concerning the nocturnal observations.
Fani Hatjina, coordinator of SafeAgroBee project, presented the PRIMA project;
Safeguarding agroecosystem resilience under climate change through efficient pollination and sustainable beekeeping. The project started in 2021 and will end in 2024.
The key stakeholders of the project are APIMONDIA and FAO.
The experts as advisory board are: Nikola Kezic, Gilles Ratia, Anna Gajda, Dany El Obeid and Nizar Haddad.
She talked about the trainings that were conducted for citizen scientists as well as for partners’ teams.
She elaborated also a little bit on each Work Package:
- WPI: understanding and conserving the provision of bee-driven pollination services to crop and honey productions in the face of a changing climate.
Task I.1: experimenting with crops of key importance in five countries, France, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece and Algeria to assess the contribution of insect pollinators to agricultural production.
Task I.2: determining the resource based optimal carrying capacity of honey bee colonies for specific crops.
Task I.3: demonstrating the impact of climate changes on crop pollination service, wild bee communities and honey production. Pollination experiments on the same crops and varieties (task I.1) will be carried out in different climatic regions. Historical data on honey production will also be collected.
- WP II is a smaller work package, that focuses on the adaptation of honey bees which is part of sustainable beekeeping. Two trainings have already been made.
- WP III is about minimizing the losses of honey bee colonies. It focuses on the microbiota against bacterial and fungus.
- WP IV is about smart digital technologies –IoT Precision Apiculture Systems (BeeSecure, MiBeez).
- WP V aims at the development, calibration and validation of a set of modelling tools supporting sustainable beekeeping.
As a follow up to the presentation done by Fani Hatjina, Clémence Riva, a postdoctoral researcher at EGCE/IDEEV, gave an intricate explanation about the first results of the 2022 experiments on apple and sunflower pollination related to WPI, task I. Current trends in insect pollinator decline can intensify crop pollination deficits and thus challenge food security. It is however still unclear whether climate change affects crop pollination deficits. This hypothesis has been tested in the frame of the European SafeAgroBee project. Project partners have performed standardized pollination experiments on apple orchards and sunflower fields distributed along a climate gradient in the Mediterranean Basin, covering five countries: Algeria, Croatia, France, Greece and Slovenia. By comparing the fruit-set of flowers visited by insects and the fruit-set of flowers excluded from insect visitations, we assessed how climate impacts the service provided by insect pollinators. We also performed manual supplementation of pollen to these pollination treatments to assess the potential climate dependence of pollination deficits in apple and sunflower production. The first results of pollination deficit effects on yield and how climate interplays with pollination-driven productions have been presented.
We are thankful for everyone that attended the meeting both in person and remotely and enriched the meeting with useful questions, comments and suggestions.
We are thankful as well to the IDEEV institute for offering the venue for our conference.
If you are interested in listening to the whole session, you can watch it fully here:
You can also have access to the material and presentations using this link.