Pollinators are a group of animals that move from plant to plant while searching for protein-rich pollen or high energy nectar to eat. As they go, they are dusted by pollen and move it to the next flower, fertilizing the plant and allowing it to reproduce and form seeds, berries, fruits and other plant foods that form the foundation of the food chain for other species including humans. Pollinators are themselves an important food source for other wildlife. Countless birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians eat the protein and fat-rich eggs, larvae, or adult forms of pollinators, or feed them to their young. Pollinators play a critical role in the food supply for wildlife and people. But pollinators worldwide are in trouble and are declining.
Research how pollination works, the interactions and adaptations between plants and pollinators, the role they play in our ecosystem and why they are in decline on a global level. Create a game that teaches your peers about why pollinators are a critical part of our world and what we can do to save them.
Birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other small mammals that pollinate plants are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food.
Pollinators add 217 billion dollars to the global economy, and honey bees alone are responsible for between 1.2 and 5.4 billion dollars in agricultural productivity in the United States.
During buzz pollination (also known as sonication), bees rapidly contract their indirect flight muscles, producing strong vibrations that forcibly expel pollen out from inside the flower’s anthers. While sonicating, bees can generate forces of up to 30 G!
Neonicotinoid pesticides, which are widely used in intensive agricultural operations, have been implicated in the decline of bees, particularly in commercially bred species like honeybees and bumblebees.
The Allegheny Front is an award-winning public radio program covering environmental issues in Western Pennsylvania, airing on WESA in Pittsburgh and on stations throughout the region.