16 February, 2023

Genotype and environment effects on sunflower nectar and their relationships to crop pollination

by Jarrad R. Prasifka, Beth Ferguson, and Karen K. Fugate



The nectar reward a sunflower provides to bees depends on the type or ‘variety’ and the conditions, especially temperature, in which the crop grows. To better understand how pollinators choose which sunflowers to visit, several sunflower varieties were grown under different temperatures and nectar collected from the flowers. Separate experiments also looked at how mesh bags (used to keep bees from moving pollen in breeding or insect research) change the nectar rewards available to bees. In general, much more nectar was found when plants were grown in warmer temperatures, but not all varieties showed the same pattern. The different temperatures in which plants were grown caused only small changes in nectar concentration or the types of sugars found in nectar. Sunflower plants covered with mesh bags contained much more nectar, and far more bees visited these plants when bags were removed. Even though not all varieties react to temperature changes in the same way, plant breeders can still create sunflowers that provide more nectar to bees. Because of how mesh bags change nectar rewards, research on sunflower pollination should avoid using these bags when possible.

Read the scientific publication in JPE.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this informative article on the impact of temperature and sunflower variety on the nectar reward that bees receive. As someone who is passionate about digital marketing, I appreciate the insights provided in this study as they can be helpful for companies looking to create sustainable and eco-friendly practices.

    It's interesting to note that the temperature in which sunflowers grow can impact the amount of nectar available to bees, but not all varieties react in the same way. Plant breeders can use this information to create sunflowers that provide more nectar to bees, which is great news for our ecosystem.

    As a digital marketer, I also want to emphasize the importance of avoiding mesh bags when researching sunflower pollination. This is because mesh bags can change the nectar rewards available to bees, which can ultimately impact their survival.

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