Effectiveness of Pollination by Ontario Bees

Project Description:
Among all floral visitors, bees are the most abundant and proficient animal pollinators of plants worldwide. However, in bee pollinated plants, pollen can serve a dual purpose – since pollen provides nutrition to bee larvae and adults, pollen is both a reward for bee pollinators and a vector for the transfer of genetic material. As a result, bee activities may conflict, rather than coincide, with pollen transfer success. This project will explore pollinator behavior, pollen removal ability, and deposition effectiveness of the bee genera of Ontario. I will investigate which factors are most important to success for the foraging pollinator and which factors result in the highest rates of pollen transfer for the visited plant. Finally, I will determine the consequences of active pollen collection for plant reproductive success, and explore plant adaptations that may help control pollen movement in a plant population. Results of this work will clarify the role of different groups of bees in the pollination of plants in both natural and agricultural systems.

Principal Investigator: 

Prof. James Thomson, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto

Other Investigators:
Alison Parker, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto

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