Pollinator by night – research review

Plant & Food Research today posted this research update on its website…  

 Concerns over insect population declines and the associated ecological, economic and cultural implications have been widely circulated in the media in recent years. This concern has led to an increase in research on the role of wild pollinators, especially those that contribute to crop pollination…

While honey bees continue to be important managed crop pollinators, a number of wild insects and animals also pollinate crops, including some nocturnal species. Moths, for example, are pollinators for crops like apples and avocados.

A recent paper by scientists at Plant & Food Research, and colleagues at the University of Auckland and the University of Otago, reviewed the research into the role of nocturnal pollinators for crops and medicinally important plants.

The study found that nocturnal pollinators interacted with 52 plant families, including cactus, legumes and plants in the asparagus family. The study also found that 81 animal families were nocturnal pollinators, including species of moths and bats.

The study’s findings suggest that nocturnal pollinators visit a large range of crops and plants of medicinal importance and may be more significant for ecosystem function and crop production than previously understood.

Journal Reference:

Buxton MN, Gaskett AC, Lord JM, Pattemore DE. A global review on the importance of nocturnal pollinators for crop plants.Journal of Applied Ecology DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.14284

Source:  Plant & Food Research



Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog