Bee-monitoring for microplastics

By Amadeo Fernandez-Alba (Spain) Flemming Vejsnæs (Denmark) & Sjef van der Steen (The Netherlands) – The international INSIGNIA group

Microplastics are everywhere. The term microplastic is given to all micrometre (thousandth of a millimetre) sized plastic fragments. These small-sized plastic fragments come from cosmetics and industry, called primary microplastics, and also from the degradation of the enormous amounts of plastics all over the world, called secondary microplastics. Furthermore, there are also synthetic fibres, twisted with wool, cotton or cellulose used in clothing. Due to wear and washing, small parts of these fibres also end up in the environment and are also considered microplastics.

Continue reading “Bee-monitoring for microplastics”

INSIGINIA presenting on: TiBE – Trends in Biodiversity and Evolution Conference

This year, the TiBE – Trends in Biodiversity and Evolution Conference (https://cibio.up.pt/tibe/details/tibe2020) was fully dedicated to Metabarcoding and Metagenomics, which fitted like a glove in one of the INSIGNIA’s objectives: metabarcoding identification of botanical origin of pollen samples diligently collected by many Citizen Scientists from across Europe. Continue reading “INSIGINIA presenting on: TiBE – Trends in Biodiversity and Evolution Conference”

The emergence of the final apiculturist citizen science guidelines

The INSIGNIA study has been running now for two years and we are entering the final stage. In these two years, we have gone through all stages of organizing an apiculturist citizen science study. We developed the passive sampler APIStrip, the efficient matrix to capture pesticides, and all the pitfalls that came on the way like the “not-to-be -misinterpretable” label, best practice for storage shipping, sampling schemes etc. Now it is time to bring all of this information together in the “Guideline for apiculturist citizen science for applying honeybee colonies for bio-monitoring of the environment  – subject pesticides”.  Given the Covid-19 restrictions,  physical meetings to discuss all of the stages, best wording, most logical set-up, best flow-charts, and whatever it takes to write the best guidelines, would be great but are sadly impossible. Therefore we have started a scheme of virtual Teams-meetings with a strict agenda to go through all of these aspects. We started in December 2020 and will be finished in March 2021. There will be as many Teams-meetings as it takes to get the job done in time.

Jozef van der Steen

coordinator Insignia

 

Visiting Denmark

Corona and INSIGNIA
As told earlier, corona did influence the INSIGNIA project. Sjef van der Steen, the leader of the INSIGNIA Project had original the aim to visit as many of our Citizen Scientist in the 9 participating countries. Mission impossibly during corona time. Traveling is/was very difficult this summer. But we found a time-window for a visit in Denmark. Lot of car driving, more than 2.000 km in the small country of Denmark. But that is possibly. To have some exercise we did on our driving tour bring our bikes (read some had electric bikes, others without motor). Continue reading “Visiting Denmark”

INSIGNIA 2019 – Austrian results published in popular article

Austrian results of last year’s INSIGNIA samplings were made public in the beekeeping journal “Bienen aktuell”.
In 2019, 5 citizen scientists with 3 hives each participated.
We found that APIStrips together with beebread are the most promising matrices for detecting pesticides in beehives.
Further, we’ve chosen APIStrips for 2020, as they turned out to be more user-friendly.
For metarbarcoding, pollen sampling was the most suitable method.
The pollen analysis revealed 61 plant families with Fabaceae, Rosaceae, Plantaginaceae, Ranunculaceae and Asteraceae showing the highest occurence, respectively.
A total of 84 different substances were found in Austrian samples with an average of 2.4 in APIStrip samples, 2.9 in beebread, 1.7 in pollen and 1.4 substances in Beehold tubes.
Let’s see what 2020 samples from 9 beekeepers with 2 hives each will reveal.
Austrian INSIGNIA 2019 results in Bienen aktuell, 9, S 17-20, 2020.

Kristina Gratzer