Air Pollution and Insects


April 14, 2022

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Our air is the one thing that surrounds all of us. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 9 of the world’s 10 most polluted cities are now in India. Yet, we have almost no idea how air pollution is affecting other organisms who breathe the same air as we do. In some of the first research in the world to try to address the physiological and molecular impacts of air pollution on our wild plants and animals, scientists from the Bangalore Life Science Cluster show that air pollution could be devastating for organisms we rely on most for our own survival – like the honey bee.

Dr. Shannon Olsson’s lab at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in Bangalore observed fewer pollinators in urban centres of the city. Was it pesticide use that caused this? Lack of water or shade? Determined to find out, Geetha G Thimmegowda traveled to different locations of this megacity to observe and collect the Giant Asian honey bee.

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