What keeps native bees from expanding their pollen diet?

Worldwide, many bee species specialise on floral resources from local native plant species, and do not incorporate pollen from introduced species, including crops, in their diet. 

It is hypothesized that local native bees have coevolved with the protections that plants put in against pollen predation. Relatively few native bee species have overcome the obstacles imposed by introduced crops and weeds against pollen predation, and have a more cosmopolitan diet.

To facilitate both pollination security and the conservation of native bees it is important to understand both the nature of the impediments against diet diversification as well as the strategies bees have used to overcome them. This research project will explore the latter by investigating the composition of pollen collected by generalist, crop pollinating bees, and explore potential adaptive mechanisms for overcoming pollen toxicity.

Other potential Honours project topics on bees include:

  • Developing novel methods to localise nests of ground nesting native bees 
  • How does netting influence honey bee movement in apple orchards?
  • Does pollen specialisation change bee pathogen abundance in the larval food?


Recommended honours enrolment: Honours in Agricultural Science

Tagged in Honours projects - Agricultural science, Honours projects - Ecology and environmental science