Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology

Assessing and monitoring impacts of genetically modified plants on agro-ecosystems

Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, Stephan Härtel, Nadja Danner

Funding: EU (FP 7)
Duration: Dez 2011 – Nov 2015

Subproject: Environmental impacts of GM crops on pollinators (WP6)

Bees are the main pollinators of agricultural crops and wild plants worldwide. There is concern that widespread commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops could harm pollinator populations but standardized sampling and laboratory testing methods as well as data on the status of pollinators in agricultural landscapes before the introduction of GM crops are widely lacking. In our AMIGA project we will study (i) the effects of GM crops on in vitro reared bee larvae, (ii) combined effects of multiple stressors (disease, food quality, GM crops) on pollinators, (iii) the exposure risk of honey bee colonies to potential GM crops in agricultural landscapes and (iiii) monitoring bee diversity in different European biogeographic regions. Based on results obtained in the project, we will harmonize sampling and testing methods across Europe to minimize risks of GM crops to important pollinator species. The project is part of a larger EU consortium of 22 working groups from 16 countries working on Assessing and Monitoring the Impacts of Genetically modified plants on Agro-ecosystems.

Species groups: honey bees, bumble bees and solitary bees

Study regions: Würzburg (Germany) and three other regions

Methods: Monitoring of wild bees, In vitro larvae rearing of important pollinator species, feeding experiments in the lab, semi-field approaches, GIS, experiments on a landscape scale, waggle dance decoding, ecotoxicological tests with multiple stressor in the lab.

More Information: http://www.amiga.enea.it/