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Fate of tropical pollinators

STRI Labs Panama
Workflow of the project

Current evidence suggests insect pollinators to be undergoing population declines worldwide with catastrophic consequences to biodiversity and human crop production. These population declines are difficult to demonstrate using census data alone. High-throughput sequencing techniques such as RAD-seq allow to generate single nucleotide polymorphism datasets, permitting the estimation of population genetic parameters such as effective population size. Using collections from long-term monitoring efforts allow to study how populations have been recently affected by factors such as climatic change.

We will analyze recent population changes of diverse insect pollinators (euglossine bees, Cyclocephalini beetles and butterflies). The ForestGEO Arthropod Initiative has been monitoring arthropod assemblages on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, since 2009. We will use these data to infer population genomic changes in the 25 most common pollinator species. We will improve forecast of population dynamics using flower resource, determined from DNA pollen metabarcoding and litterfall trap data, as covariates of pollinator time-series. In sum, we will study recent population changes of insect pollinators in a tropical rainforest. We will develop models of population dynamics for the 25 most common species, incorporating genomic and trophic information.


Daniel Souto‐Vilarós

Ernesto Bonadies