This Database can Help Your Garden Bloom

Bring on the bees!



(Gayle Marien /

If you've ever planted a garden, you probably spent a lot of time thinking about bugs. Not only do gardeners have to know how to keep the wrong creepy crawlies away, they also need to be able to attract the right insects. 

Pollinators, like bees, butterflies, and ladybugs, play a major role in helping food and flowers grow, reported Eco Watch. A new database compensates for and (researchers hope) can reverse the decline of the pollinator population by educating horticulturists on growing pollinator-friendly plants.

How it works
The Database of Pollinator Interactions (DoPI) contains publications and datasets detailing over 300,000 pollination interactions. Users can look up information about thousands of pollinators and plants. 

The University of Sussex kickstarted the online database, with the goal of aggregating information in an accessible and usable format in order to support biodiversity, help the pollinator population thrive, and facilitate food and flower growth, according to a news release from the university. 

“We hope the public can use the database to help them select pollinator friendly species to plant in their gardens and importantly, which plants not to ‘weed,” Dr. Nicholas Balfour, a University of Sussex, School of Life Sciences researcher said in the press release.. “One of the things that stands out from the data so far is that many common garden weeds are associated with a great diversity of pollinator species.”

The database is open to the public and isn’t just for researchers.  It will also help beekeepers, agronomists, and even gardeners. Government departments, funding agencies, and conservationists can also use the information contained in DoPI to drive policy decisions.

Shrinking pollinator population
The University of Sussex researchers were motivated by the shrinking population of pollinators to create the database, according to In the last two hundred years more than 40 species of pollinators have gone extinct, in part because the plants these insects relied on have disappeared from the landscape.

"Insect populations are declining rapidly, and we urgently need to take action,” Dr  Dave Goulson, a University of Sussex professor of biology said in the press release.. “This database helps show where to begin when it comes to everyday planting for pollinators."

A worldwide biodiversity revolution
Currently, DoPI focuses on native British plants and pollinators. But, it has the potential of setting off a worldwide biodiversity revolution. Dr Maria Clara Castellanos, who helped construct the database said,, “It is so unique that researchers from Canada and the US have already contacted us for collaborations to create similar databases in their regions."

The saying goes “knowledge is power.” The DoPI allows people who are invested in saving the pollinators to access a wealth of knowledge about these insects. Hopefully, that will empower researchers, conservationists, and horticulturists to make the changes needed to bring back the pollinators.

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