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AFRI – FAS Pollinator Health: Research and Application (A1113)
August 24, 2023
Program Area Priority: The Pollinator Health: Research and Application program supports single-function projects (research, extension or education) with the goal of promoting healthy populations of animal pollinators in agricultural systems where reliance of crops on pollinators for pollination services is increasing and where declines of pollinators is evident. The declining health of pollinator populations poses a serious risk to crops that depend on pollinators for the production of marketable commodities and could ultimately impact the nation’s food security. Several factors are significantly impacting the health of pollinator populations, including pests, diseases, pesticides, pollutants or toxins, nutritional deficits; climate change, agricultural production intensification, and habitat loss; reduced species or genetic diversity; and pollinator or crop management practices. Recent research also indicates that changes in bee gut microbial communities could have effects on nutritional health, disease resistance, or susceptibility to pesticides. However, the mechanisms that underlie these effects on pollinator health need further research. Studies involving ecological, behavioral, genomic, physiological, biophysical, sociological, and/or economic approaches will be considered for funding. Targeted multi-year monitoring of selected species in the context of research is also appropriate. Projects using indigenous traditional ecological knowledge are appropriate for this program area priority.
Applications must address one or more of the following (order does not indicate importance):
- Factors that influence the abundance, diversity and health of pollinators. Examples may include biotic, abiotic as well as social, cultural or economic phenomena.
- Functions of the microbiome associated with pollinators and their role in promoting healthy populations.
- Development and evaluation of innovative tools and management practices that would likely be adopted by stakeholders to ensure healthy pollinators. Examples include, but are not limited to, innovative genetic/genomic and breeding tools, diagnostic techniques, other cutting-edge technologies, alternative chemicals or biologically-based strategies to combat varroa mites or key bee diseases.
- Development, implementation and/or evaluation of management practices of other crop pests/diseases that also ensure protection of pollinators and other beneficial species (e.g., integrated pest and pollinator management). Engagement of extension leaders with one or more types of stakeholders (crop producers, consultants, agribusinesses, non-profit organizations, land managers, beekeepers or others managing native pollinators) is strongly recommended. Experience working with stakeholders to overcome barriers to adoption of integrated pest and pollinator management practices is recommended. Letters of support or collaboration with stakeholders should be included in the application.
- Education-only that target K-14 level students to advance learning about pollinators in agricultural and associated landscapes. Non-exhaustive examples of educational approaches include curriculum development, experiential learning projects, learning opportunities that increase scientific knowledge, or other creative projects related to pollinators.
- Extension only projects that include informal training, workshops or demonstration projects related to pollinators in agriculture and associated systems.