Wild bee populations are declining due to human activities, such as land use change, which strongly affect the composition and diversity of available plants and food sources. The chemical composition of food (i.e., nutrition) in turn determines the health, resilience, and fitness of bees. For pollinators, however, the term ‘health’ is recent and is subject to debate, as is the interaction between nutrition and wild bee health. We define bee health as a multidimensional concept in a novel integrative framework linking bee biological traits (physiology, stoichiometry, and disease) and environmental factors (floral diversity and nutritional landscapes). Linking information on tolerated nutritional niches and health in different bee species will allow us to better predict their distribution and responses to environmental change, and thus support wild pollinator conservation.
This research was lead by Sara Leonhardt’s group at the TUM and the NutriB2 consortium
by Maria Parreño et al. in Trends in Ecology & Evolution