As summer approaches, here’s a preview of the our fieldwork projects…
Pollinators in bioenergy landscapes: This project is trying to understand the impact pollinator conservation strips around switchgrass plantings have on native pollinator communities. Fieldwork will be conducted at study sites throughout Central Virginia working with partners in the biofuel industry as well as a groups focused on wildlife habitat and conservation. Methods will include a mix of pollinator and plant community measures including bee bowls, sweep samples, bee nesting boxes and plant surveys. Led by Kiley Friedrich.
Arthropod communities in bioenergy landscapes: This field season is a continuation of a multi-year project aiming to understand how management of bioenergy crops such as grasslands, corn, soybean, influences the composition and functioning of arthropod communities and ecosystem services such as pest suppression and pollination. Habitat characteristics will be analyzed at multiple spatial scales to understand how communities vary by landscape composition and land management. Led by Tania Kim and Brian Spiesman.
Trophic cascades in the face of White Nose Syndrome: The forecasted decline of cave-dwelling bats in the face of White Nose Syndrome, which causes up to 90% mortality, will act as a natural experiment to understand the role of bats as predators of arthropods in agricultural landscapes. In partnership with the Peery Lab and the Wisconsin DNR, this is the first field season of a 5-year project which will include acoustic monitoring of bat activity, next-generation sequencing of bat guano collected by citizen scientists, and insect trapping of natural enemies and agricultural pests. Led by Emma Pelton.
Bumblebee foraging: This summer is an expansion on RFID tracking efforts with bumblebees. The aim is to determine if any relationship exists between bumblebee foraging and floral resources at a landscape scale. If relationships do exist, this work will contribute to understanding which landscapes are best to help conserve wild bees. Led by Jeremy Hemberger.