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Academic & Professional Books  Botany  Plants & Botany: Biology & Ecology

Paths of Pollen

By: Stephen Humphrey(Author)
244 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations
Paths of Pollen
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  • Paths of Pollen ISBN: 9780228018971 Hardback Oct 2023 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
Price: £27.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

A tiny organism called pollen pulls off one of nature's key tasks: plant reproduction. Pollination involves a complex network of different species interacting with one another and mutually adapting to their ecosystems, which are constantly changing.

Some pollen grains require just a puff of wind to set them in motion, but most plants depend on creatures gifted with mobility. These might be birds, bats, reptiles, or insects including butterflies, beetles, flies, wasps, and over twenty thousand species of bee. In Paths of Pollen Stephen Humphrey asks readers to imagine a tipping point where plants and pollinators can no longer adapt to stressors such as urbanization, modern agriculture, and global climate change. Illuminating the science of pollination ecology through evocative encounters with biologists, conservationists, and beekeepers, Humphrey illustrates the significance of pollination to such diverse concerns as food supply, biodiversity, rising global temperatures, and the resilience of landscapes.

As human actions erase habitats and raise the planet's temperature, plant diversity is dropping and a growing list of pollinators faces decline or even extinction. Paths of Pollen chronicles pollen's vital mission to spread plant genes, from the prehistoric past to the present, while looking towards an ecologically uncertain future.


Illustrations   vii
Acknowledgments   xi
Prologue - Pollen’s Progress: Where’s It All Going (and Where Has It Been)?   3

1 A Prehistory of Pollen   10
2 Pollinators Painted the World   21
3 When Bees Are Not Bees and Flowers Are Not Sweet   34
4 Floral Darwinisms   47
5 Casting Pollen to the Wind   59
6 Bee Flowers and Earth Mothers   69
7 Mutual Exploitation   83
8 No Bee Is an Island   92
9 Honeybees Aren’t Good at Everything   105
10 The Curious Case of the Vanishing Bees   115
11 Desperately Seeking Bumblebees   127
12 Insect Noses and Night Flowers   138
13 Butterflies, Bats, and Border Walls   147
14 A Few Degrees in the Future   157
15 Last Flowers? Shrinking Pollination options   171
16 Sunflowers and Space Invaders   179
17 Pollination Influencers and Urban Prairies   188
18 Bees and Neighbours   198
19 Turning over New Leaves   206

Notes   215
Index   239

Customer Reviews


Stephen Humphrey is a writer, radio contributor, and citizen naturalist originally from Western Canada, now based in Toronto.

By: Stephen Humphrey(Author)
244 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations
Media reviews

"Stephen Humphrey is a highly accomplished, and engaging storyteller. In the manner of Carl Sagan or Aldo Leopold, he calls attention to little-known or misunderstood topics, and presents these to an often science-hostile public. Paths of Pollen advances the cause of pollinator and plant conservation for their benefits to all humankind and wildlife, now and in the future. I couldn't put it down."
– Stephen Buchmann, author of What a Bee Knows: Exploring the Thoughts, Memories, and Personalities of Bees

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