Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pollution and the bees flower sniffing problem

Another externality from air pollution that I had previously not considered. ABCnew no less report on this story that has bees everywhere up in arms.

We have covered the demise of bees before - each scientist comes up with some vaguely plausible answer that hits the news with a splash before the next "solution" comes along.

Flowers Are Losing Their Smell [ABCnews]

Air pollution is killing the smell of flowers, possibly eliminating the "scent trail" that helps guide those terribly important pollinators, like bees, to the plants that depend upon them for survival, scientists believe.


While it is still too soon to determine the full impact of air pollution on the symbiotic relationship between insects and the flowers they pollinate, researchers at the University of Virginia are confident they have shown that pollutants are killing the scent trail, and that could turn out to be extremely significant.

Before the industrial revolution, the trail extended at least half a mile from the flower, but today at that distance "it's almost completely destroyed," said Quinn McFrederick, a doctoral candidate in biology at the university and lead author of a study that in the current issue of the journal Atmospheric Environment.

At least a little economics speak sneaks into the article towards the end of this 3 page piece.

"In Britain, pollinator species that were relatively rare in the past have tended to become rarer still, while the commoner species have become even more plentiful," Stuart Roberts of the University of Reading said at the time. "Even in insects, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer."

Does this statement hold up in court? Has GDP per capita converged or diverged over time and across all countries?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good Job! :)