Mathieu and his collaborators biologists, engineers, modelers and ecologists will study the movement of pollinating insect populations (bees and bumblebees) under natural conditions to better understand and predict their impact on plant reproduction. They will develop a radar system to record the movements of hundreds of insects foraging over several kilometers. By coupling this system to robotic “plants”, the researchers will study how the structure of the landscape and the quality of available resources influence the choice of pollinators.
These experiments, unprecedented on a large scale, will allow the development of predictive models of pollinator movements and pollen flows, which will be tested on natural plant populations. On a longer term, this fundamental research may help to improve crop pollination or the conservation of declining plant or bee species, in a context of widespread environmental crisis.
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