(Twitter, Michael Branstetter @bramic21) “… @thecriticalbee has published an amazing paper on the phylogenomics and biogeography of the parasitic bee group Neolarrini…” The original paper.
(Frontiers) The genus Iris of flowering plants comprises over 300 species across the northern hemisphere, some of which are Vulnerable or (Critically) Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Given this diversity, what might the last common ancestor of irises have looked like?
(Austral Entomology) “We surveyed bees using a blue vane trap during spring, summer and autumn from 2008 to 2017 at one location in Canberra, Australia. To the best of our knowledge, this is the longest near‐continuous record of bee activity in the southern hemisphere… Our findings relate only to our study site but are similar to findings from other long‐term studies conducted in the northern hemisphere, which collectively present a picture of high natural variability in bee communities that must be considered when interpreting findings of bee responses to anthropogenic disturbances.”
(EurekAlert/Flinders University) Ancestors of a distinctive pollinating bee found across Australia probably originated in tropical Asian countries, islands in the south-west Pacific or greater Oceania region. Describing the likely dispersal corridor for the ancestral lineage of the bee genus Homalictus will help understand the social evolution of the vibrant halictine bees say researchers. Ecologists are hopeful that the diverse origins of native bees are giving them an edge in withstanding and adapting further to climate change.
(The Conversation) The HMS Endeavour’s week-long stay on the shores of Kamay in 1770 yielded so many botanical specimens unknown to western science, Captain James Cook called the area Botany Bay. Today, however, the site better reflects 20th-century European exploitation of the Australian landscape than it does early or pre-British Botany Bay. Yet not all is lost. “We studied pollen released from flowering plants and conifers, which can accumulate and preserve in sediment layers through time. Looking at this preserved pollen lets us develop a timeline of vegetation change over hundreds to thousands of years.”
(Stanford University) Researchers have discovered an ancient plant species whose reproductive biology captures the evolution from one to two spore sizes – an essential transition to the success of the seed and flowering plants we depend on.
(EurekAlert/Flinders University) The adaptation to new habitats and niches is often assumed to drive the diversification of species. But rare bees found in high mountain areas of Fiji provide evidence that they have evolved into many species, despite the fact they can’t readily adapt to different habitats. “Perhaps, if Darwin had studied Fijian bees instead of Galapagos finches, he might have come to rather different conclusions about the origin of species.”
(Museum für Naturkunde) Help the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin make its Hymenoptera collection digitally accessible by transcribing labels for bees and other species in the collection. All you need is some time and a computer. Here’s how you can help.