Nature Blog Network Future Earth: Darwin's busy bees

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Darwin's busy bees

Something is buzzing in south Kensington. Around the side of the Natural History Museum a giant transparent wasp nest is emerging- in anticipation of the Darwin 200 celebrations next year, the "Darwin Centre" - a 200 cell hive for 200 busy bee scientists is nearing completion. They are excited and they will be on show, doing their bit for taxonomy. Watch the promo video (and spot the deliberate error):

"Don't worry (about the rate of species extinction)" they say as "90% of all the species in the world are still to be classified". So its O.K. if we go extinct as long as we are monitoring our own decline is it? As the workers, drones and multiple queens settle into their new surroundings we will have to amplify the buzz of the promo video that connects what they do to conservation impact in the world around us. Yes, it can be about food, disease and climate change, but it is important that not all available funding resources are carried back to this particular hive, and that a clear "line of sight" to conservation of living biodiversity is created.

Meanwhile, watch the story unfold .... will some of the drones follow an escaping queen on her nuptial flight back to America? Are there lessons to be learned from the devastating decline of honeybees....?

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