The Effects of Fungicides on Bumble Bee Colonies
In this video, entomologist Shawn Steffan describes an experiment designed to study the effect of fungicides on bumble bee colonies.
Fungicides are routinely used in agriculture to protect crops from harmful fungi. Although harmless to the adult bumble bee, these fungicides appear to be having unintended negative consequences for bumble bee populations. How could chemicals that kill fungi be impacting bumble bees?
At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Steffan discovered that the stored pollen and nectar that bumble bee larvae feed on is rich in yeast, a type of fungus. Based on this observation, he hypothesized that the use of fungicides could affect bumble bee food stores and ultimately the health of bumble bee colonies. In this video, he walks through an experiment designed to compare the sizes of bumble bee colonies that forage on flowering plants grown in the presence or absence of fungicides.
This video provides an example of designing a controlled experiment to collect data for testing a hypothesis and using data from research studies to guide the development of sustainable agricultural practices.
An audio descriptive version of the film is available via our media player.
agriculture, controlled experiment, fungus, graph interpretation, scientific methodology, scientific process