New PoshBee data paper provides data on wing morphology and fat body content in bees
A new data paper published in the One Ecosystem journal called "Monitoring bee health in European agro-ecosystems using wing morphology and fat bodies" provides an extensive dataset of wing morphology and fat body content for the European honeybee (Apis mellifera) and the buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) sampled at 128 sites across eight European countries in landscape gradients dominated by two major bee-pollinated crops (apple and oilseed rape), before and after focal crop bloom and potential pesticide exposure.
Photo: Left forewing of a bumblebee and the 18 landmarks that quantifies its shape. Source: Vanderplanck M et al. (2021). Monitoring bee health in European agro-ecosystems using wing morphology and fat bodies. One Ecosystem 6: e63653. https://doi.org/10.3897/oneeco.6.e63653
Authors of the article, amongst whom PoshBee researchers, focus on biological traits, such as phenotype (e.g. shape, size and asymmetry) and storage reserves (e.g. fat body size). These are important pollinator traits linked to reproductive success, immunity, resilience and foraging efficiency and, therefore, could serve as valuable markers of bee health and pollination service potential.
The dataset provided in the data paper offers the opportunity to test whether variation in the phenotype and fat bodies of bees is structured by environmental factors and drivers of global change. The data aims to help identify which environmental threats predominantly contribute to the modification of these traits.
Access the full data paper here.