Sunday, January 12, 2014

For the love of bees and flowers in amber

Hi everyone,

I hope you are fine ... adapting to the changing weather we've been having ... here in Southwestern Ontario from far below freezing to almost balmy and melting today.  

Today I want to shout Hurray for Bob McDonald, Quirks and Quarks!  His CBC radio show presents a wide range of information and interviews over all areas of science.  He asks useful questions of his guests, so they and he can explain things clearly to us.  

Yesterday, McDonald and his guest gave us a history lesson that underscores the intricacy of nature and that we need to take care of it.

He interviewed Dr. George Poinar, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Integrative Biology at Oregon State University.  Dr. Poinar's specialization is the study of materials preserved in amber, surely a blend of beauty and science!

Poinar was describing the tiny plant he and his colleagues had discovered in Myanmar (Burma) ... 18 flowers on the sprig, each only 1mm in diameter, and even tinier tubes evident from 2 pollen grains.  The plant had been preserved in the act that would begin fertilization! 

The pollen type had been a sticky pollen, so it was likely pollination happened because of insect transfer of pollen. Poinar mentioned that several years ago he'd discovered a particularly tiny bee (also in amber) which might have been the type that pollinated the type of plant now discovered.

The age of these tiny remnants of biological history past?  100 million years ago.  A period of history called the Cretaceous.

This underscores that the varied ancestors of our bees have been helping plants for quite a while.  They've been integral to the increasingly diverse biological life on our Gaian home.

So, here I am back to the issue of it not being a good idea to keep using the neonicotinoid pesticides that kill honeybees, bees generally and other pollinators, birds, and other vertebrates and invertebrates.  Links below!

I hope you have the time to listen to Dr. Poinar's interview at the link below to Quirks and Quarks.

Ah bees!  Ah flowers!  Ah spring!  Ah anticipation!

Very best regards,

Why's Woman

For information on neonicotinoids:
National Farmers Union          

Quirks and Quarks, hosted by Bob McDonald

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