D0483 Monitoring native bees: can citizen scientists help fill in the data gap?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Hall D, First Floor (Convention Center)
Katharina Ullmann , Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis, CA
Claire Kremen , Environmental Science, Policy & Management, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Robbin W. Thorp , Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis, CA
Mace Vaughan , The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Portland, OR
Heidi Ballard , School of Education, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA
Insect pollinators provide critical services to natural systems and agriculture throughout the world. An estimated 75% of the world's flowering plants and 30% of our global crop production depend at least partially on animal pollinators. Despite their recognized value, long-term population studies for most pollinating taxa are lacking. Citizen scientists may be able to help fill in this gap, if they can gather accurate and consistent data. To explore the potential for use of citizen scientists in monitoring pollinators and test one approach in a real world context, we developed a floral visitor identification guide for Yolo County, CA, focused on bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). We used this guide to train citizen scientist monitors (CSMs) to observe and identify bees and other floral visitors. CSMs then joined professional scientists in the field – the former collecting observational data on coarse taxonomic bee groups, the later netting and pan trapping specimens. In a preliminary analysis the CSM observational data and the professionally collected specimen data showed similar trends in the abundance and richness of bee species. This study suggests that CSMs can be trained to collect reliable data which can be used to monitor bees.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.44787