In order to save the bees, researchers are trying to learn as much as they can about them. That work received a big push recently thanks to a study published in Current Biology. To that end, a team of researchers working out of Singapore and China have mapped out a global map of bee populations and species. The hope is that this work will lead to more effective conservation methods to help the pollinator population.

Until recently, our understanding of the distribution and numbers of the more than 20,000 species of bees was limited. This is especially the case in countries where public access to such data is slim.

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To create the map, the team used data from 5.8 million public bee occurrence records and combined it with data on the 20,000 bee species publicly available at Discover Life.

Dr. Alice Hughes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences was an author of the study. She spoke to BBC News about the importance of this research.

“Here we combine millions of records to create the first maps of global bee richness, and understand why we see these patterns,” she told BBC News. “These maps, and our framework, can then form the basis of future work, enabling us to better understand patterns of bee richness and ensure that they are effectively conserved into the future.”

The team has already come to learn more about bee population distribution from the data collected. For instance, they have learned that the diversity of bee species is greater in the Northern hemisphere than in the south. Diversity is also greater in dry regions over wet.

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The University of Singapore’s Dr. John Ascher believes this information regarding the distribution of bee species will help researchers “distinguish areas less suitable for bees from areas where bees should thrive but have been reduced by threats such as pesticides, loss of natural habitat, and overgrazing”.

Sign this petition to help save the bees.

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