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February 16, 2022

Date: February 25, 2022, from 2-2:30 p.m. eastern time

John M. Mola, Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow, Fort Collins Science Center 
Ian S. Pearse, Research Ecologist, Fort Collins Science Center 

Summary: Bee population declines have been recognized for a few decades now – but it is only since 2017 that federal action on has really ramped up with the listing of the first federally endangered bumble bee species (Rusty Patched Bumble Bee; Bombus affinis). A once common species throughout the northeastern United States, the species has been lost from nearly 90% of its historic range. Since the listing of the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee, another bumble bee species (Bombus franklini) has been listed with several more proposed for listing. In this talk, we will provide an overview of current science working to understand population declines and inform recovery plans of these important and fascinating species. We’ll present recent research on changing food availability for bumble bees as well as an ongoing population genetics study. We’ll also highlight ongoing efforts of other federal scientists working on occupancy modeling, searching for a long-lost species, and provide an outlook towards the future.  

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The Endangered Bumble Bee. Bombus affinis. The Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee. Here is a a male from Racine Wisconsin collected years ago when this species was one of the most common species. The collector was W.L. Macior and his specimens live in the National Collection at the Smithsonian. Photography Information: Canon Mark II 5D, Zerene Stacker, Stackshot Sled, 65mm Canon MP-E 1-5X macro lens, Twin Macro Flash in Styrofoam Cooler, F5.0, ISO 100, Shutter Speed 200. USGSBIML Photoshopping Technique: Note that we now have added using the burn tool at 50% opacity set to shadows to clean up the halos that bleed into the black background from "hot" color sections of the picture.