UCR Researchers Receive Grant to Improve Pollinator Health

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Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research award will identify best management practices to protect bees

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — A team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have received a $490,000 Pollinator Health Fund grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR). The grant will support a study measuring the effectiveness of recommended almond orchard management practices in reducing the negative impacts of pesticides, parasites, and inadequate nutrition on bees.

With matching funds from UCR’s Office of Research and Economic Development, College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences, and Department of Entomology, the project will total almost $1 million.

Lauren Ponisio, Quinn McFrederick, and Hollis Woodard, all assistant professors of entomology at UCR, are examining how management practices in almond orchards affect the interacting risks of inadequate bee nutrition, pesticide exposure, and parasites.

“Determining whether recommended pollinator-friendly practices are successfully improving bee health and crop pollination will have important outcomes for farm managers deciding whether to employ those practices,” Ponisio said.

In recent years, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in honeybees and pollinator declines in general have become serious environmental concerns that could threaten the functioning of natural ecosystems and affect the production of important crops, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Insect pollinators contribute an estimated 24 billion dollars to the U.S. economy annually.

Read the full release here: https://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/52183

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