Posts Tagged ‘bees’

Research haikus

Research haikus

By EcoEvo@TCD | Research

Last month, the Zoology Department’s Dr. David Kelly launched his first book of Japanese short form poetry, Hammerscale from the Thrush’s Anvil. At the launch of the book, David invited us in the audience to try our hand at writing our own haikus. Taking him up on his challenge, and taking inspiration from his book, a few of us in the School of Natural Sciences have penned our own poems based on our areas of study. We even have a contribution from David Kelly himself! Trying not to sacrifice coherency at the alter of syllable number was [&hellip

Ecology & Science in Ireland: the inaugural meeting of the Irish Ecological Association

Ecology & Science in Ireland: the inaugural meeting of the Irish Ecological Association

By EcoEvo@TCD | Research

In the years to come, 140 ecologists working in Ireland will look back with fond memories of being part of the inaugural meeting of the Irish Ecological Association (24th-26th November). We will remember hard-hitting plenaries, compelling oral presentations, data-rich posters, influential workshops and the formation of the IEA’s first committee. The lively social events might be harder for some of us to remember… There could not have been a more fitting way to open the conference than the plenary seminar from Professor Ian Montgomery (QUB) on Thursday night. Within the hour, he managed to given an incredibly [&hellip

Shall we kill all our bees?

Shall we kill all our bees?

By EcoEvo@TCD | News, Perspectives

“Kill all the bees!!”, the modest proposal of Prof. Paul Sutton from University of South Australia is a provocative attempt to convince economic rationalists to finally start counting what really counts. If all the bees were to go extinct we will have to replace them by, for example, hand-pollinating our crops. That means employment, economic growth in terms of GDP and tax revenues: very good for the Economy. Now, the fact that not many economists will actually support this policy does not change the fact that if all the bees are going to be gone then GDP [&hellip

Mixed Messages, Pesticide Pestilence and Pollinator Populations

Mixed Messages, Pesticide Pestilence and Pollinator Populations

By EcoEvo@TCD | News, Perspectives, Research

“We’re getting mixed messages from scientists about the effects of neonicotinoids on bees” – I have heard this from several sources, including a very senior civil servant in the UK and from an intensive tillage farmer in Ireland. A recent article in the US media says pretty much the same thing. An article in the Guardian last week entitled “UK drew wrong conclusion from its neonicotinoids study, scientist says”, reports on Dave Goulson’s reanalysis of the Food & Environment Research Agency (FERA)’s own data, but draws the opposite conclusion. So why is there confusion on bee decline [&hellip

Seminar series highlights: Phil Stevenson

Seminar series highlights: Phil Stevenson

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives, Seminars

As mentioned previously on the blog, Andrew Jackson and I started a new module this year called “Research Comprehension”. The module revolves around our Evolutionary Biology and Ecology seminar series and the continuous assessment for the module is in the form of blog posts discussing these seminars. We posted a selection of these earlier in the term, but now that the students have had their final degree marks we wanted to post the blogs with the best marks. This means there are more blog posts for some seminars than for others, though we’ve avoided reposting anything we’ve posted [&hellip

Big is better!

Big is better!

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Reflections on geeking it up at Intecol 2013 by Jane Stout Having not been to a 2000+ delegate, multi-session, international conference for several years, I was a bit nervous in the run up to INTECOL2013 “Into the next 100 years: advancing ecology and making it count” – would it be possible to see all the talks, read all the posters and meet all the people I planned to? (Answer: no). Would I remember everyone and would anyone remember me from past meetings? (Answer: some yes, some no – thank goodness for name tags). Could I follow in the [&hellip

What I did this summer: Tortured some bees

What I did this summer: Tortured some bees

By EcoEvo@TCD | Research

Among the multiple pressures currently driving decline in bee populations, little attention has been given to naturally occurring toxins in plant nectar.  We carried out research this summer on invasive Rhododendron ponticum, a plant that contains neurotoxins in its floral nectar.  We found this toxin to be lethal to honeybees, but apparently benign to the plant’s main pollinators, bumblebees.  Differential responses by bee species to toxins and other pressures means we need to consider bee decline on a species by species basis. It is well documented that bee populations worldwide are in trouble, and we’ve written about [&hellip

The popularity of bees

The popularity of bees

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Because my research often uses bees as the study subject, friends and family are always forwarding links to news and culture that concerns these fascinating creatures.  Let me list for you some of my favourites: I found this article about the debate surrounding the ban on neonicotinoids within the EU on twitter.  On a lighter note, a performance group teamed up with a group of monks at Glenstal Abbey to compose a “Song of the bees” based on scientific recordings and data from honeybees.  A friend on facebook sent me this comic, which describes the seeming absurdity of honeybee [&hellip

Bees and biofuels….what’s the buzz?

Bees and biofuels….what’s the buzz?

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

As oil prices sore and the future of world energy is uncertain, there is rising demand for alternatives to fossil fuels. From solar energy to wind to algae fuel and biodigestion, the alternatives are numerous. One alternative that has received substantial media attention is the use of bioenergy which involves the production of energy from crops including maize, sugarcane, elephant grass and oilseed rape which are grown specifically for energy purposes. However, the debate over bioenergy crops is often heated. Do they compete with food crops and therefore increase prices in an already stretched market? Do bioenergy [&hellip

The buzz on neonicotinoids

The buzz on neonicotinoids

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

On the 31st January, stimulated by a European Food Safety Authority report, the EU proposed banning three neonicotinoid insecticides which have been implicated in causing honeybee decline. These insecticides are widely-used, systemic (i.e. soluble enough in water to move around the plant’s vascular system to nearly all plant tissues), and, like nicotine, affect the insects’ central nervous system. They are highly effective at reducing insect pests that feed on crops and reduce yields and value, and many farmers are concerned about the effect the proposed ban will have on crop production. But these insecticides can also end [&hellip