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Old records, new bees result in 'Science' paper for MSU ecologist
Date:2/28/2013

esearchers collected 3,620 "floral visitors," Burkle said. Of those, 2,778 were bees and the rest were mostly flies and butterflies. The plant that attracted the largest number of bees -- 923 individuals and 33 species was "Spring Beauty," a small herbaceous plant. Second most popular plant was the "Great Waterleaf."

In addition to their and Robertson's specimens, Burkle and Knight compared their findings to those of co-author John Marlin from the University of Illinois. Marlin, who had gathered data from the Carlinville area in the 1970s, provided intermediate-year information that was "incredibly helpful," Burkle said.

Burkle conducted her research with a $75,000 RAPID grant from the National Science Foundation.

Burkle's next study will begin this summer and look at disturbances such as from recent and more historic fires -- to see how plant and pollinator communities re-assemble across Montana between Yellowstone and Glacier national parks.

The suite of species that live in Montana and Illinois are entirely different, but some of the same issues apply, Burkle said.

Knight said, "I would expect that the effects of climate change on plant-pollinator interactions are even greater in some locations, such as high elevation sites in the Rocky Mountains that have experienced more dramatic changes in climate than our Midwestern site."

She added that Burkle's expertise on identifying bees and analyzing plant-pollinator networks were crucial to the success of the bee project.

"I miss working with her at Washington University, but I think she is in an excellent location to make new and significant contributions to the field of pollination biology," Knight said.


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Contact: Evelyn Boswell
evelynb@montana.edu
406-994-5135
Montana State University
Source:Eurekalert

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