Dr. Juliana Rangel of NCSU spoke at the PCBA September meeting. Dr Rangel gave a presentation on the relationship between honey bee health and pollination in Agro-ecosystems. Some of the topics she discussed were.
- Importance of honey bees as pollinators, value of honey bee pollination services in the US, and some definitions of ecosystems, agro-ecosystems, and ecosystem services (pollination being an important ecosystem service to humans)
- Basics of pollination biology, morphological adaptations of honey bees for pollination
- Economic impact and benefits of honey bee pollination nationwide and in NC
- Costs of honey bee pollination and of lack-there-of (pests and pathogens to honey bees and their impact on honey bee health and productivity).
- Honey bee health vs. ecosystem health
She also shared a few very interesting stats:
- 75% of flowering plants rely on animal pollination
- 33% of the food we consume is pollinated by honeybees
- Multi-million dollar crops such as Almonds, Apples and Blueberries are 90% reliant on honey bee pollination.
- Annual value of honey bee pollination on agricultural products is about 15 billion dollars.
Dr. Rangel is a postdoctoral fellow at NCSU. She was awarded one of only 15 National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology titled “Queen supersedure in honey bees: how and why do workers replace their mother queen with a sister queen?” The award is for $189,000 over three years. Juliana’s research addresses the collective decision-making of honey bee colonies over colony level reproduction, which has important pragmatic implications for the apicultural industry in maintaining stable and productive colonies.