Blueberries, Pollinators, and Pests with WVU

Hill top view of McConnell Berry Farm
Project Status
Ongoing
Location
Independence, WV
Partner(s)
West Virginia University

One third of all of our food comes from pollinated crops. 

Because increasing temperatures impact both plants and the pollinators they rely on, climate change poses a dual threat to crop production. Shifts in dates when plants flower or pollinators are present could lead to a mismatch in timing, reduced crop pollination, and declining yields. Even a slight change in temperature can impact crop production in many ways. This, in turn, can affect pollinator survival. Pollinators are needed by many plants so they can produce fruit and seeds, and pollinators rely on plant nectar and pollen for food. Because of this delicate balance, it is important to understand how climate change affects both pollinator and plant populations.

West Virginia University (WVU) researchers are working with McConnell’s Berry Farm to study climate impacts on blueberry production. They are looking at blueberry flowering as well as interactions between bee and mite populations. In this tour, you will visit beehives at the WVU Organic Farm, a cooperators farm south of Morgantown, WV, and the WVU greenhouses.

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“Blueberries are an economically valuable crop, and they are susceptible and vulnerable to climate change. We’ve been looking at flower development, and what we’ve found is that a 2 to 4 °C increase has led to a decline in blueberry flower production.” – Sarah Mills, Graduate Student, West Virginia University

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