Missed the 2019 Lisa Loftus Gould Lecture with Dr. Robert Gegear?
At the recent October lecture at URI, Dr. Robert J. Gegear led a discussion on what you can do to help protect and restore our native pollination systems, and the ecological networks that they support, in your own backyard.
The decline of pollinators in general is widely known. The unprecedented rate of loss poses a significant threat to our food supply and consequently, there has been major focus on the development and implementation of conservation strategies aimed to increase pollinator abundance in agricultural areas.
But what about native bees? The ecological needs of 98% of wild pollinator species, however, are not considered in such strategies because they do not visit crop plants. These wild pollinators play a critical role in maintaining the function and diversity of natural ecosystems through their unique relationship with native flowering plant species – the products of native plant pollination, for example, provide food, shelter, and nesting habitat for birds and other wildlife. The continued degradation of native pollination systems therefore poses a significant threat to life on our planet.
Watch the video recording of the lecture to learn more about the the challenges for native bees and what you can do to promote native bee populations. We thank the URI Master Garden Program for filming the lecture. Download the plant list to learn about what plants to choose to support as many native bees as possible in your landscape
Dr. Robert J. Gegear is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Dr. Gegear’s research focuses on the neuroecology and conservation of plant-pollinator interactions, with particular focus on bumblebees pollination systems. He is also the Director of the Beecology Project, a citizen science effort to rapidly collect ecological data on pollination systems in New England in order to increase the effectiveness of conservation strategies for threatened species. For his community outreach activities related to the Beecology Project, Dr. Gegear was awarded the 2018 Regional Impact Award by the Native Plant Trust (formerly New England Wildflower Society).
This lecture was underwritten by the Lisa Lofland Gould Native Plant Program Fund and cosponsored by Rhode Island Natural History Survey and University of Rhode Island, Master Gardener Program.