Simulating Pollinator Decline: How pesticide affects bumble bees and the plants that they pollinatePublic
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Pesticides may contribute to recent large declines in pollinator populations. Many kinds of pesticides impact learning and memory in bees in the laboratory. To determine whether these sub-lethal effects could impact bee populations over time, I created an agent-based simulation using virtual bees and flowers. The simulation assumes that pesticides reduce the bees’ memory capacity for floral rewards. The resulting prediction was that pesticide-impaired bees forage less efficiently, resulting in a decline in both the bee and flower populations. In addition to serving as a research tool that can predict the effects of pesticide impairment, this simulation will be able to act as an educational tool for the general population to learn about potential detrimental effects of pesticide usage.
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