Gordon Frankie, Professor

Closed (1) Creating Native Bee Habitat in California Orchards

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

Under the direction of Dr. Gordon Frankie, the UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab is monitoring diversity and abundance of California native bee species (1600 species state-wide) and their plant preferences at stone fruit orchards in northern California and at avocado orchards in southern California. Collaborating with farmers at these orchards, we have been investigating whether installing pollinator habitat gardens increases the diversity and abundance of of native bee and other pollinator species that can supplement pollination of crops by honey bees.

In southern California, native bees and other insects will be monitored regularly at three avocado orchards in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. In northern California, six farms in Brentwood (conventional and organic) and nearby urban areas will be monitored for native bee diversity and abundance. Three of the orchards will have native bee habitat constructed by adding a variety of ornamental plants.
We are seeking 2 motivated undergraduate students with interests in entomology, botany, and ecology. Ideal student researchers will have an interest in being involved with different project aspects including field work data collection (if COVID safety precautions allow), insect specimen curation, plant and insect identification, and public outreach and education (most likely online and virtual education and outreach events for Fall semester). There will be opportunities to continue on with this project in the spring semester.

For more information about the Urban Bee Lab, please visit helpabee.com.

(Tasks and learning outcomes listed below may change as necessary due to COVID to ensure safety of all researchers):

1) Students will analyze and curate native bee and other pollinating insect specimens collected from the orchards.
2) Students may participate in education outreach events for the public or for elementary students (possibly online video presentations).
3) Potential opportunities for field research, plant propagation and gardening to care for the bee-attractive plants used for research.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Staff Researcher, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: We seek students with a strong interest in the following: 1) Learning about insect biology, especially related to pollinators. A desire to learn to curate insect specimen collections, including insect pinning, labeling and databasing. 2) Learning about California native plants and pollinator-attractive horticultural plant varieties. An interest in learning to identify plant species is highly desirable. 3) Learning about plant-insect interactions and research related to native bees and crop plant pollination. 4) Gardening, including planting, watering, weeding and plant propagation. 5) Participating in public education and outreach about bee-plant relationships; interest in teaching elementary school students about pollinators (likely online during Fall semester). 7) Sharing research with the public through social media platforms.

Weekly Hours: 3-5 hrs

Related website: http://helpabee.org

Related website: http://helpabee.org

Related website: http://helpabee.org