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Pamminger T, Becker R, Himmelreich S, Schneider CW, Bergtold M.2019. Pollen report: Quantitative review of pollen crude protein concentrations offered by bee pollinated flowers in agricultural and non-agricultural landscapes. PeerJ Preprints7:e27567v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.27567v1
To ease nutritional stress on managed as well as native bee populations in agricultural habitats, agro-environmental protection schemes aim to provide alternative nutritional resources for bee populations during times of need. However, such efforts have so far focused on quantity (supply of flowering plants) and timing (flower-scarce periods) while ignoring the quality of the two main bee relevant flower-derived resources (pollen and nectar). As a first step to address this issue we have compiled a geographically explicit dataset focusing on pollen crude protein concentration, one measurement traditionally associated with pollen quality for bees. We attempt to provide a robust baseline for protein levels bees can collect in- (crop and weed species) and off-field (wild) in agricultural habitats around the globe. Using this database we identify crop genera which provide sub-optimal pollen resources in terms of crude protein concentration for bees and suggest potential plant genera that could serve as alternative resources for protein. This information could be used by scientists, regulators, bee keepers, NGOs and farmers to compare the pollen quality currently offered in alternative foraging habitats and identify opportunities to improve them. In the long run we hope that additional markers of pollen quality will be added to the database in order to get a more complete picture of flower resources offered to bees and foster a data-informed discussion about pollinator conservation in modern agricultural landscapes.