A study is underway in Seychelles to determine if the reproductive success of some native plants varies with the presence of the honey bee. The study will also look at the effect of the bees’ presence and habitat restorations on the structure and function of a plant-pollinator community.
The research is being undertaken by a Venezuelan researcher – Arturo Lonighi – who is currently doing a PhD at the University of Exeter, in the United Kingdom, in partnership with the Seychelles National Parks Authority. The study which is being conducted in phases will also provide information about the role of the honey bee in the reproduction of unique plant species of the Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
“Seychelles is an island ecosystem with a tropical climate. And it has been shown that the honey bee has a higher impact in islands than in continents,” explained Lonighi, adding that “you would expect that the effect of the honey bee in Seychelles would be higher than in a continent with cooler weather.”
There are eight sites where data is being collected for this research. These are mountainous zones of Mahe such as Bernica, Salazie, Bernityer. Some of these sites are also protected areas and some are restored sites. (Arturo Lonighi) Photo License: All Rights Reserved
According to the researcher, the study is also looking at whether habitat restorations can alter the effect of the bee on plant-pollinator communities.
“The future results might be useful for conservation since they will provide evidence of plant-pollinators community structure resilience and adaptation to the increase in the abundance of a competitive pollinator,” said Lonighi.
There are eight sites where data is being collected for this research. These are mountainous zones of Mahe such as Bernica, Salazie, Bernityer. Some of these sites are also protected areas and some are restored sites. Information collected included the abundance of flowers, fruits, pollination specimens and pollen production.
Nathalie Dufresne – Research Scientist – from the Seychelles National Parks Authority said that the study will also provide the local beekeeping community with vital information for their activity. “Nowadays a lot of people are harvesting honey here in Seychelles, the study will give them information about how and where they can keep their bees,” explained Dufresne.
The study will also provide the local beekeeping community with vital information for their activity. ((Patrick Samsom) Photo License: All Rights Reserved
Patrick Samson a local beekeeper from the west of Mahe told SNA that the research is much needed. “As beekeepers, we know very little about the value of our native plants to our bees. We find that the main honey crop in Seychelles occurs during the main flowering season of invasive species such as albesia and cinnamon,” explained Samson.
The beekeeper added that “at the same time these invasive plants are found closer to human settlement and therefore easier to observe bees on them. Our native plants tend to be less conspicuous and occur mostly in the undisturbed area and we are looking forward to the result of this study. “
Source: Seychelles News Agency