A honeybee feeding on a purple inflorescence (possibly an Echinops species)

ZooSoc Takeover: The Birds and the Bees

Why does this matter?

World-wide, 87.5% of flowering plants are animal pollinated.

But I’m not a flowering plant.

You’re right. But that won’t help you. 75% of all crop species are pollinated by animals. Losing them would affect food production, impacting on farmers and consumers; aka, everyone. Pollinators are even responsible for some of the food your food eats, for example alfalfa, which is used in cattle fodder.

Pollination effects not only the quantity of food but also the quality! Produce like strawberries and apples benefit in appearance, shelf life and taste from animal pollination. Similarly, we need animal pollinators to produce some of our favourite plant derived luxuries like chocolate, coffee, shea butter, a ubiquitous chief ingredient in skincare products!

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Delicious strawberries, made bigger, better and sweeter by insect pollinators! Image credit: Sharon Mollerus, Flickr.

Pollinators are a key part of terrestrial ecosystems, valuable for the services they provide us and as biodiversity in their own right. In addition, they are incredibly cute!

768px-Male_bumblebee_(Bombus_hypnorum)_on_a_finger,_Sandy,_Bedfordshire_(9201092401)
[A very cute] Tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum). Image credit: Orangeaurochs, Wikimedia Commons.
This week ZooSoc are taking over CampusBuzz! Expect a new blog everyday written by student members of the society. Today’s entry was written by Caroline McKeon (@ZooSoc), a final year Natural Science student studying Zoology at TCD. She is interested in ecology and saving the world. She plans to work in systems biology. 

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