Check out the nice article that the GLBRC Communications folks put together regarding a recent Gratton Lab paper about ecosystem service tradeoffs that come with working perennial energy crops into agricultural landscapes.
Gratton lab member Rachel Mallinger has created an online WI Wild Bee Guide for native bee species commonly found in the spring and early summer. The guide allows users to identify bee species using picture matching or a dichotomous key.
The guide’s purpose is two-fold: allow people to identify bees themselves and act as a citizen-science tool to collect more data about bee abundance and distribution statewide. At the end of a successful bee identification, the site prompts you to fill out a quick form where you can submit your identification and the time and place you saw the bee.
The guide’s easy-to-use format is aimed for everyone from farmers to gardeners to students to curious citizens. With over 500 species of bees in the state, the guide helps users narrow in on the bee family or genus, if not to species.
Landowners and farmers may be able to use the identification tool to understand what kind of bees are abundant on their land and use that information to plant nectar and pollen resources and manage habitat in a way beneficial to bees.
Here is a nicely done piece by Eleanor Nelson of WPR and QuestScience on some of the bee work we do in the lab.
This was accompanied by a lovely video as well.
I am sure we will be getting emails and calls about an iPhone app for bee identifications! Although this is where we’d like to go with the project, it is really just in it’s infancy and a long ways from ready for the public. But I hope you will stay tuned!
Posted by Claudio
This past week was the 2013 Wisconsin State Fair. It had near record high attendance, with over million visitors over 11 days (eating a total of 387,000 cream puffs!). One of them was me (Kaitlin), and it was my first time at any state or county fair. It was great, and I already can’t wait to go back next year. The above photo is me toasting the Wisconsin Agricultural Ambassador with a choice locally produced beverage.
While my favorite part of the day was seeing a woman show her Holstein in a Bovine Beauty contest while wearing a camo-print ballgown, highlights also included the ag education stations and kids’ activity books focused on some of the crops that the Gratton lab works in — cranberries (Hannah), apples (Rachel), berries and grapes (Emma), and soybeans (Kaitlin). McDonalds had even built a fake cranberry bog for kids to practice harvesting in! It’s exciting to know that we’re investigating interesting and critical ecological questions in agroecosystems important to the state we live and work in.
The snow is slowly but surely melting and we are starting to think about the upcoming field season. Here in the Gratton Lab, we do most of our field work in agricultural settings. One crop we work in is corn. For those of you who didn’t grow up on a farm, you might not have had the opportunity to run through a corn field. We want to share that experience with you. This short video gives you a glimpse into a day in the field with the Gratton Lab.