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Recent and Upcoming Highlights from our Pollinator Protection Work

Posted by Jenn Collins on June 7, 2021

Much of the most recent research in pollinator protection, and in fact a lot of new ecological research in general, is focused on computer model simulations, such as the BEEHAVE model. In particular, recent honeybee-specific projects have incorporated BEEHAVE to simulate the development of a honeybee colony and its nectar and pollen foraging behavior in different landscapes. BEEHAVE additionally allows for representation of multiple stressors to honeybee colonies and predicts the potential impact on colony development and survival.

Our Effects Team has used the BEEHAVE model for various projects and found it invaluable in honeybee colony predications. For example, in collaboration with the Pollinator Research Task Force, we recently released a 2-part publication series in Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry presenting, 1) a model validation of BEEHAVE using large-scale colony feeding studies, which can be used to inform the use of BEEHAVE to higher-tier ecological risk assessments, and 2) an application of BEEHAVE to analyze overwintering outcomes from simulated large-scale colony feeding studies. The findings from this work can be used to inform study designs for a large-scale colony feeding study in order to improve overwintering success in control hives and drive consistency within and across studies.

BEEHAVE was a star at May’s 2021 SETAC Europe conference where a new mechanistic effect model (BEEHAVE-Ecotox) was demonstrated to link realistic exposures of bees in the field with subsequent effects on different levels of the colony. We’re excited to review this work once published, as this model has significant risk assessment implications, including the capacity to extrapolate from laboratory to semi-field and field studies as well as the option to study effects in different crops and regions and to test various mitigation strategies.

Beyond BEEHAVE…  Waterborne’s scientists will soon be presenting and publishing a slew of recent work in the field of pollinator protection, including:

  • Evaluating vulnerability assessments across non-Apis bees: applying robust methodologies to examine individual and population level vulnerability across species!
  • Evaluating the utility of endpoints used in guideline laboratory studies for honeybees: what parameters are really driving the hazard?
  • Considering how we can approach screening-level type risk assessments for surfactants and inert ingredients.

Keep an eye on our upcoming newsletters for more details on our recent pollinator work.

Also, Waterborne’s Lead Ecotoxicologist, Jenn Collins will be co-chairing and presenting during the upcoming pollinator session of the American Chemical Society National Meeting in August. Other co-chairs for this session include environmental scientist John Purdy, Tom Steeger and Katrina White from the US EPA, and Annie Krueger from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This session is gearing up to be full of great presentations and new considerations for pollinator risk assessment.