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Landscape evaluation for stingless bee nest maintenance and honey quality in urban areas

Grant number: 21/10875-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2022
Effective date (End): November 30, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology
Principal researcher:Isabel Alves dos Santos
Grantee:Mariana Victorino Nicolosi Arena
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Modern urban ecology approaches consider cities as heterogeneous and dynamic ecosystems, composed of biotic, physical, social and built complexes, whose boundaries extend and interact with natural and cultural landscapes. In this context, the urban meliponiculture (stingless bee keeping) - whether for the production of honey and marketable products, for conservation and educational purposes, or even as a leisure activity - stands out as a growing practice that demands further studies. Many species of stingless bees (Meliponini tribe) have adjusted to urban areas, while others are more sensitive. The composition of the surroundings where the meliponary is located is of vital importance for its success, and the distribution of resources for foraging is a fundamental factor for the population dynamics of bees. This is essential for the establishment and maintenance of meliponaries in the long term, aiming both the health of the nests and bees and the quality of the products generated by them. The project aims to identify the main parameters of the urban landscape that interfere in the activity of stingless bees and the quality of the honey produced by them. For this, experiments will be carried out in 15 meliponaries in the city of São Paulo, using nests of Melipona quadrifasciata (mandaçaia), an important species of stingless bee native to the Atlantic Forest. The displacement time of bees in the landscape and the amount of pollutant particles present in the honey produced by them will be related to parameters of the landscape surrounding the meliponary, especially considering green areas, roads and the flow of vehicles and buildings. At the end of the project, the aim is to produce results that support public policies for the conservation of urban biodiversity and for the practice of meliponiculture as a social and economic activity.

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