Without bees, there would be no apples, no blueberries or cranberries. If the risk of losing these fruits forever sounds like science fiction, consider the new research out of UNH that has found a dramatic decline in 14 wild bee species important across the Northeast for the pollination of major local crops.
Minna Matthiasson ’18G co-authored the study, recently published in the journal Insect and Conservation Diversity, with Sandra Rehan, assistant professor of biological sciences. The duo used local museum records from 1891 to 2016 to compare changes in the wild bee community in New Hampshire.
“This research comes at an important time when we are seeing universal bee declines that we know are tied to human activity, but we still lack fundamental information on the extent of these environmental stressors, particularly at the species level,” Matthiasson explains. Matthiason says using long-term data to look intensively at local communities can help reveal specific drivers of change in the wild bee community that in turn may be used in developing habitat restoration initiatives and action plans tailored to those communities.