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Mini GPS units might solve bee population mystery

by GPS4US 2013-10-04 12:51

We’re never surprised to see what interesting animals scientists track with GPS devices.

But sometimes the mere physics of it all is just mind-boggling.

Researchers at Oregon State University are aiming to create a GPS unit small and light enough to fit on bumblebees. As you can imagine, that’s pretty tiny. To date, we’ve published stories on GPS tagging for muskoxen, condors, cats and others animals where size isn’t a problem.

But bumblebees? This is a new one.

However, the $500,000 project could be vitally important to society as a whole. The aim is to figure out why the bee population has been in such steep decline lately. The head of the project, entomology professor Sujaya Rao notes that without bee pollination, the world would miss about a third of its food supply.

We can then figure out ways to build their populations, to sustain their populations, to make sure they will be here even though the landscape is always changing,” Rao said.

 

Rao estimates the mini GPS unit won’t be working for another two years. Still, she’s up to taking on the task of solving one of the largest mysteries currently testing the world.

 

 

Good luck, Professor Rao!

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