02 July 2010

University receives £1.1m to fund pollinator research

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The University of Reading has been awarded £1.1m to help identify the main threats to bees and other insect pollinators and how to reverse a decline in their numbers.

The University of Reading has been awarded £1.1m to help identify the main threats to bees and other insect pollinators and how to reverse a decline in their numbers.

Dr Simon G. Potts, Principal Research Fellow in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, will be working with colleagues at other institutions across the country on the Insect Pollinators Initiative.

Pollinators, including honey and bumble bees, butterflies and moths, play an essential role in putting foods on our tables through the pollination of many vital crops. These insects are susceptible to a variety of environmental threats including loss of natural habitats, misuse of pesticides, diseases and climate change.

Dr Potts will be involved with the three of the projects - ‘Sustainable pollination services for UK crops', ‘Linking agriculture and land use change to pollinator populations' and ‘Urban pollinators: ecology and conservation'.

He said: "The University is delighted to be working on this vital research initiative. Pollination by insects is vital for agricultural production and maintenance of biodiversity - 80% of British wild flowers and 84% of EU crops depend on insect pollinators, mainly bees. Given that the value of insect pollinators to UK agriculture is estimated to be worth more than £430m per year, this research will make an important contribution to our food security."

(Presszoom.com)

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