URBANA, Ill. — Famed Illinois Entomologist May Berenbaum will discuss the potential for devastation as the world’s pollinators fight for existence. The free, online webinar is sponsored by University of Illinois Extension Master Naturalists and will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 17.
Insects are the most species-rich multicellular organisms and exist in nearly all habitats across the planet. Still, dramatic declines in insect biomass and species numbers have alarmed scientists. Debates rage over the potential cause: agricultural practices, invasive species, climate change. What isn’t debatable is the importance insects provide to plant ecosystems and world food production, says Amanda Christenson, Extension Master Naturalist program coordinator.
More than 75 percent of flowering plants and one-third of crops require pollinating bees, flower flies, moths, and butterflies for pollination and reproduction. Berenbaum will present challenges and opportunities to avoid further decline of insects.
Berenbaum came to Illinois’ Entomology Department in 1980 and served as department head since 1992. Her research focuses on interactions between flowering plants and insects (from pollinators to crop pests) and on the application of ecological principles toward sustainable management practices. A member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1994, she chaired the Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America and testified before Congress on issues relating to honey bee health and pollinator decline.
In addition to publishing more than 300 refereed scientific papers, she is devoted to public engagement in science and has authored six books about insects. She founded several outreach and citizen science activities, including Beespotter and the Illinois Pollinatarium.
She received the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement and the National Medal of Science from President Barack Obama.
Register online for the event here.
— University of Illinois Extension
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