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Bees, Ecological Roles Bees: Ecological Roles

A bee is not only a pollinator responsible for the seeds, fruit, and leaves that feed myriad organisms. It is part of a community. In that capacity, bees have a major impact in promoting genetic outcrossing of plant populations. That cannot be equaled in any way by recombination during plant gametogenesis and certainly not through self-pollination, as it allows gene frequencies to be maintained or to change within the larger gene pool and permits mutations to circulate. A second and little-appreciated role is in modulating plant floral traits – or attractiveness of a plant to an animal – often in direct opposition to deflecting the herbivores that eat flowers, seeds, fruit, and leaves. As a result, plants are more likely to conceal themselves from injurious insects and self-fertilize their flowers [3, 6]. Thus, by transferring pollen, bees contribute to the constant evolution and adaptation of flowering plants, the primary producers in terrestrial ecosystems. Bees also disperse fungal...

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Correspondence to David W. Roubik .

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Roubik, D.W. (2020). Bees, Ecological Roles Bees: Ecological Roles. In: Starr, C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Social Insects. Springer, Cham.

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