||Towards a systems approach for understanding honeybee decline: a stocktaking and synthesis of existing models
||Becher, M.A.; Osborne, J.L.; Thorbek, P.; Kennedy, P.J.; Grimm, V.
||Journal of Applied Ecology
||Apis mellifera ; colony decline; feedbacks; integrated model; multiple stressors; predictive systems ecology; review
|UFZ wide themes
health of managed and wild honeybee colonies appears to have declined
substantially in Europe and the United States over the last decade.
Sustainability of honeybee colonies is important not only for honey
production, but also for pollination of crops and wild plants alongside
other insect pollinators. A combination of causal factors, including
parasites, pathogens, land use changes and pesticide usage, are cited as
responsible for the increased colony mortality.
despite detailed knowledge of the behaviour of honeybees and their
colonies, there are no suitable tools to explore the resilience
mechanisms of this complex system under stress. Empirically testing all
combinations of stressors in a systematic fashion is not feasible. We
therefore suggest a cross-level systems approach, based on mechanistic
modelling, to investigate the impacts of (and interactions between)
colony and land management.
- We review existing honeybee models
that are relevant to examining the effects of different stressors on
colony growth and survival. Most of these models describe honeybee
colony dynamics, foraging behaviour or honeybee – varroa mite – virus
- We found that many, but not all, processes within
honeybee colonies, epidemiology and foraging are well understood and
described in the models, but there is no model that couples in-hive
dynamics and pathology with foraging dynamics in realistic landscapes.
- Synthesis and applications.
We describe how a new integrated model could be built to simulate
multifactorial impacts on the honeybee colony system, using building
blocks from the reviewed models. The development of such a tool would
not only highlight empirical research priorities but also provide an
important forecasting tool for policy makers and beekeepers, and we list
examples of relevant applications to bee disease and landscape
|Persistent UFZ Identifier
|Becher, M.A., Osborne, J.L., Thorbek, P., Kennedy, P.J., Grimm, V. (2013):
Towards a systems approach for understanding honeybee decline: a stocktaking and synthesis of existing models
J. Appl. Ecol. 50 (4), 868 - 880