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June 3, 2024

Title:  What's the Buzz in USGS Pollinator Science

Date:  June 14, 2024, at 2:00-3:00 pm Eastern/11:00 am-12:00 pm Pacific 

Ecosystems—whether agricultural, urban, or natural—depend on pollinators, great and small. Pollinators in the form of bees, birds, butterflies, bats, and even moths provide vital, but often invisible services, from contributing to biodiverse terrestrial wildlife and plant communities to supporting healthy watersheds. Unfortunately, pollinator declines worldwide have been noted as increased land-use and climate changes occur on the landscape.

June is Pollinator Month and June 17-23 is Pollinator Week, an annual celebration in support of pollinators worldwide!  To celebrate, we will host a special 1-hour Friday's Findings webinar event to share the diversity of our USGS pollinator science.


Speaker: Lindsey Thurman, Partnerships Ecologist, Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center 

Title: Evaluating the Adaptive Capacity of Several Northwestern Pollinator Species 

Overview: Understanding adaptive capacity, or the ability of a species to cope with or adjust to changing climate conditions, is essential for informing future conservation actions. This project, focused on the adaptive capacity of northwestern pollinator species, is rooted in a broader, international effort to developed guidelines for a generalized method of evaluating adaptive capacity.  


Speaker: Kara Jones, Geneticist, Eastern Ecological Science Center 

Title: Using Pollinator eDNA to Assess Ecological Resilience of Restored Grasslands 

Overview: Collecting and analyzing the DNA left behind by pollinating species on plants is a novel, yet promising non-lethal method of documenting the presence of pollinators. This research is working to establishing protocols for using this DNA, known as environmental DNA (eDNA), to document the distribution of rare pollinators and predict adaptive capacity of pollinator communities to future climate change. 

Project Page: Using Pollinator Environmental DNA to Assess the Ecological Resilience of America’s Grasslands


Speaker: David Haukos, Unit Leader, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit 

Title: Status of Native Bumble Bees at Fort Riley Military Reservation, Kansas 

Overview: Scientists and partners with the Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit are assessing the richness, diversity, habitat relationships, and abundance of native bees on Fort Riley Military Reservation in Kansas. The results will be used to evaluate management practices and develop a bee monitoring program should native bee species be listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. 


Speakers: Kathryn Busby (Wildlife Biologist) and Kathryn Thomas (Research Ecologist), Southwest Biological Science Center 

Title: A Tiny Moth and the Iconic Joshua Tree  

Overview: Eastern Joshua trees (Yucca jaegeriana) are iconic and endemic trees of the Mojave Desert and rely solely on the poorly understood Yucca moth (Tegeticula antithetica) for pollination. Researchers conducted a study of the pollination ecology of the Eastern Joshua tree and evaluated the abundance of the pollinating Yucca moth to inform future conservation needs of the two species. 

Project Page: 'Eastern' Joshua trees and their sole pollinators, 'eastern' Yucca moths


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