More Than Just the Buzz: A practical guide to the conservation of native pollination systems
Over the past two decades, human activity has significantly degraded the integrity of plant-pollinator or ‘pollination’ systems across New England, with many of our historically abundant native flowing plant and pollinator species now locally extinct and others soon to follow if we do not take immediate conservation action. The loss of species from plant-pollinator systems poses a significant threat to natural ecosystem function and service due to the fundamental role that ‘pollination products’ play in supporting wildlife diversity across trophic levels. Yet, the factors driving pollination system degradation remain unclear, impeding the development of effective conservation strategies. In this talk, Dr. Gegear will discuss how ecological data collected by his research lab and Beecology Citizen Science Project are being used to gain insight into the causes of species loss from bee and butterfly pollination systems native to New England. He will also highlight the ‘eco-technology’ that has been developed to aid Beecologists in the collection of species interaction data, including the new version of his webapp with automated butterfly and plant ID functions powered by iNaturalist. His talk will conclude with an overview of how citizen scientists have been using Beecology data to significantly advance native biodiversity restoration efforts in Massachusetts over the past 3 years.