The big, big data of bees

December 11, 2015

From: BlueNotes

Helen Clark

We’ve had an internet of things for a decade and pretty soon we’ll have a big data set of everything, too. Combine those with insects and you get a particularly ambitious and impressive Australian CSIRO-led global project essentially studying the big data of bees. Why? Because they continue to die in record numbers and we still don’t know why.

A mass bee die-off threatens food security and would drive up the costs of many foods considered staples today. The stressors on bee populations across the world are complicated and the CSRIO project aims to untangle them by studying populations en masse, rather than the small-scale experiments largely done up to this point.

The situation in Australia differs from the majority of the world given it does not yet suffer from the colony collapse disorder or destructive pests such as the Varroa mite hurting other bee populations. The country is relatively well insulated – but especially vulnerable should those things change.

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