A bit late, but the Lozier lab made a good showing at the fall graduate student poster colloquium at the UA Museum of Natural History at Smith Hall. Left to right: Meaghan, Riley, Jeff, Jason! The hippo is not in the lab. Also not shown is Peter, who is taking the picture, but he did not have a poster because he graduated!
The Lozier and Dillon Labs and our research into local adaptation across montane landscapes will be well represented at the upcoming Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting in New Orleans this January!
Just this week seven species of a unique bee group was declared endangered by US Fish & Wildlife. These are the first bees to be declared endangered in the US, and are from the genus Hylaeus and they live in Hawaii. Some of these little yellow-faced bees have undergone serious declines and are now restricted to one or a few spots from their historical distributions.
In other news, the bumble bee Bombus affinis (see the nice video a few posts down) has now been proposed for listing as an endangered species. My work with Sydney Cameron and others and an earlier study by Colla and Packer (2008) provided some of the data that documented the widespread decline of this species from once common to now rare. It was kind of fun seeing statistics that I calculated showing up in news reports!
If you are interested in bee conservation and the status of native bee conservation efforts, the Xerxes Society is a good group to follow: see their blog here.
We are getting ready to undertake a local bee biodiversity inventory at the University of Alabama Arboretum, a beautiful spot off of campus that is undergoing continual improvement thanks to director Monica Watkins. As part of this improvement, we hope to get a baseline assessment of bee biodiversity across the Arboretum, which includes pine and oak/hickory forest, a community garden, wildflower garden, and open areas with lots of general floral and habitat resources that should be great for bees. Ideally, bee habitat availability will increase at the Arboretum over time, and we would like to see how diversity tracks improvements.
The following is a writeup by Kennan Oyen, a UWY grad student working with collaborator Michael Dillon and describes some of our integrative aspects of the NSF Mountain Bees project.
I’m Kennan Oyen, A Ph.D. student in Dr. Michael Dillon’s lab. The Dillon Lab has been busy this summer! Our collaborator Jamie Strange from Utah State and USDA, along with his students, collected wild bumble bee queens (Bombus vosnesenskii) this spring and nested them in the lab. In May, we received our first batch of hives reared from wild queens collected in Southern California. With a team of undergraduates and a high school student I have been studying how these bees cope with extreme temperatures.
We recently wrapped up our first forray into the field for the 2016 season, travelling out west from Alabama to Washington, Oregon, and California. For those interested in what it takes to do bumble bee field work, this picture more or less sums things up. Nets, vials, coolers for storing ice and dry ice to preserve specimens, cooking gear, tents, sleeping bags, and you should be good to go! All this gear does make flying tricky, and since we need a vehicle when we get out west anyway, we usually just drive. Jason and I have driven back and forth across the country together about 4 times now.
A new video on the decline of the bee Bombus affinis, and bumble bees more generally. This video features some of the work from my postdoc, including interviews with my old PI Sydney Cameron, among a number of other great bee biologists. Please take a look, and check out the website of the video's maker. www.rustypatched.com/the-film/
FYI, my personal view is that we can find affinis around in geographically widespread pockets (I even know a few where we've found some over several years!), suggesting that imminant extinction may be less likely, however overall the range is shrinking and the species is certainly doing among the most poorly of any species we've investigated. A canary in the coal mine?
The Lozier Lab is represented by Jason Jackson and Peter Scott at the Evolution 2016 meetings in Austin, TX.
Jason will be talking some about neutral and adaptative structure among geographic populations of one of our study species, Bombus bifarius, and Peter will be talking about assymmetrical hybrid zones in turtles.
Jason passed his qualifying exams! Now the real work begins
A nice article about our NSF research by Chris Bryant (photos by Zach Riggins) at UA Press: “The Bees...I Just Quite Like Them”
A nice article in the Tuscaloosa News by Ed Enoch (with great photos by Karley Fernandez) "University of Alabama part of study on bumblebees' genetics, adaptability" features lab undergraduate researcher Gaybe Unbehaun!
It was pollinator week this past week, and on Saturday June 20 I set up a table at the Tuscaloosa Farmer’s Market to hand out informational material on pollinators, pesticides, and planting flowers, as well as some displays of local pollinator diversity. It was pretty successful as the first Tuscaloosa Pollinator Week, especially the interest from the young-uns. I’d consider it a success if even a handful of people learned that bumble bees were not, in fact, eating their decks.