We have put together a special page for pollinator specific resources! This page points farmers, other scientists, and anyone interested in pollinator protection to a collection of resources available both online, and in text that can help YOU protect our bees!
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.
This week, lab member Hannah Gaines Day presented a talk about pollinators for the 109th Midwest Food Processors Association’s Annual Convention in Milwaukee. To view her presentation slides, please see below. For more information on pollinator conservation, please visit our Pollinator Resource Page.
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.
Last week, the Entomological Society of America held their annual meetings in the Texas capital of Austin. Record attendance (over 3,200 people!) marked this as a great opportunity for members of the Gratton lab to share their research, and share they did! Several of us presented works there, including Hannah, who placed second in the student presentations competition! Congrats Hannah! Detailed below is a list of those who presented, and their respective presentation titles.
- Maddie Raudenbush (Poster) – “The role of insect carcasses in mediating soil microbial community function and composition in a heathland ecosystem”
- Kaitlin Stack Whitney (Poster) – “Long-term landscape dynamics of an agricultural pest (Aphis glycines) at multiple spatial scales”
- Rachael Mallinger (Talk) – “Pollination services provided by wild and managed bees to apple crops of the midwest”
- Hannah Gaines (Talk) – “Bee contribution to cranberry yield varies with local farm management”
- Tania Kim (Talk) – “Trophic cascades in bioenergy landscapes”
- Claudio Gratton (Talk) – “Balancing biological control and other ecosystem services in bioenergy landscapes”
Good job everyone, and here’s to a great meeting in Portland next year!
Jade Kochanski, an undergraduate in the Gratton lab, was recently awarded two prestigious scholarships from the UW College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: the Howard P. Gutgessell Agricultural Scholarship, and the Norman F. Olson Family Scholarship.
These are awarded in recognition of outstanding academic performance and contributions to the missions of the department. Jade has been a great value to the lab, and also to the lab of Dr. Ken Raffa, where she previously was involved in research.
The Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters recently featured a talk entitled “The Bee Crisis and Wisconsin: The Role of Native Bees” presented by Hannah for one of their Academy Evening Talks. The Wisconsin Academy is an independent, non-profit organization that connects Wisconsin people and ideas to foster dialogue on important issues. Hannah’s talk was part of a three part series about bee decline and bee keeping hosted by the Mead Public Library in Sheboygan. The talk covered a range of topics including the importance of bees to crop pollination and what people can do to help the bees. Here are three simple steps you can take to help the bees too:
1. Plant a diverse mix of native flowering plants that bloom throughout the growing season.
2. Create nesting sites for bees including sparsely vegetated, undisturbed soil and artificial nest boxes.
3. Reduce the use of pesticides around your yard or avoid spraying pesticides when bees are active.
For more information about bee conservation, visit The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation Pollinator Conservation Program website.
Hannah was interviewed by Wisconsin Public Radio for an article about honey bee decline. To listen to the interview, click here.