Sam Droege has been spent most of his career at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. He has coordinated the North American Breeding Bird Survey Program, developed the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program, the BioBlitz, Cricket Crawl, and FrogwatchUSA programs and worked on the design and evaluation of monitoring programs. Currently he is developing an inventory and monitoring program for native bees, online identification guides for North American bees at www.discoverlife.org, and with Jessica Zelt reviving the North American Bird Phenology Program. His group maintains high resolution photographs of insects an other macro natural history objects at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/
- B.S. from University of Maryland
- M.S. from State University of New York – Syracus
Science and Products
Surveys by the USGS Native Bee Laboratory have uncovered several new alien bee species in the United States. The data we and our collaborators are collecting tracks the spread of these species, at least in a coarse way. We hope to expand surveys in collaboration with our federal and state land management partners as we detect more invading species. Information on distributions and status of the approximately 40 alien species come from the literature, active North American collectors, online collection data available via the Global Mapper on www.discoverlife.org, and John Ascher’s compilation of distributional data. Thanks for the contributions from Mike Arduser, John Ascher, Rob Jean, Jack Neff, Cory Sheffield, and Robbin Thorp.
The USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Program designs and develops large and small scale surveys for native bees. As part of that program we also develop identification tools and keys for native bee species. One aspect of creating those tools is creating accurate and detailed pictures of native bees and the plants and insects they interact with.
The Challenge: Traditionally, bee identification has relied on taxonomic methods centered on descriptions of morphological differences between species. However, for many species, separate keys are required for identifying adult males and females and immature life stages. These keys are commonly unavailable. The lack of distinguishing morphological characters useful for separating closely related species is a common problem in many bee species, reducing the effectiveness and completeness of bee diversity surveys and general biological studies of bees.
The Challenge: Mountain tops and Coastal Dunes - These are perhaps the most vulnerable locations in the United States to climate change in the lower 48 states. Native bees also face challenges due to loss of the plants, from which they gather nectar and pollen, and from introduced diseases and general loss of habitat. Additionally, both Mountain Tops and Dunes contain bees that are only found in these isolated habitats. As regions warm and seas rise these species may be trapped without a place to go.
The Challenge: The North American Bird Phenology Program (BPP) houses a data set of 6 million historical observations of over 800 bird species, documenting occurrences and migration times from the 1880s through the 1970s -- the longest and most comprehensive legacy data set on bird migration in existence. In an effort to rescue this invaluable data set, the BPP has scanned and are in the process of transcribing the records with the help of a network of online volunteers. The data is stored in a database, from which it is shared with scientists, managers, educators, and the public. Since the program was revived in 2009, nearly one million records have been transcribed.
Species occurrence records for native and non-native bees, wasps and other insects collected using mainly pan, malaise, and vane trapping; and insect netting methods in Canada, Mexico, the non-contiguous United States, U.S. Territories (specifically U.S. Virgin Islands), U.S. Minor Outlying Islands and other global locations.
National protocol framework for the inventory and monitoring of bees
This national protocol framework is a standardized tool for the inventory and monitoring of the approximately 4,200 species of native and non-native bee species that may be found within the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). However, this protocol framework may also be used by other...Droege, Sam; Engler, Joseph D.; Sellers, Elizabeth A.; Lee O'Brien
Exotic plant infestation is associated with decreased modularity and increased numbers of connectors in mixed-grass prairie pollination networks
The majority of pollinating insects are generalists whose lifetimes overlap flowering periods of many potentially suitable plant species. Such generality is instrumental in allowing exotic plant species to invade pollination networks. The particulars of how existing networks change in response to an invasive plant over the course of its phenology...Larson, Diane L.; Rabie, Paul A.; Droege, Sam; Larson, Jennifer L.; Haar, Milton
Bees: An up-close look at pollinators around the world
While we eat, work, and sleep, bees are busy around the world. More than 20,000 species are in constant motion! They pollinate plants of all types and keep our natural world intact. In Bees, you'll find a new way to appreciate these tiny wonders. Sam Droege and Laurence Packer present more than 100 of the most eye-catching bees from around the...Droege, Sam; Packer, Laurence
Using a network modularity analysis to inform management of a rare endemic plant in the northern Great Plains, USA
1. Analyses of flower-visitor interaction networks allow application of community-level information to conservation problems, but management recommendations that ensue from such analyses are not well characterized. Results of modularity analyses, which detect groups of species (modules) that interact more with each other than with species outside...Larson, Diane L.; Droege, Sam; Rabie, Paul A.; Larson, Jennifer L.; Devalez, Jelle; Haar, Milton; McDermott-Kubeczko, Margaret
Detecting insect pollinator declines on regional and global scales
Recently there has been considerable concern about declines in bee communities in agricultural and natural habitats. The value of pollination to agriculture, provided primarily by bees, is >$200 billion/year worldwide, and in natural ecosystems it is thought to be even greater. However, no monitoring program exists to accurately detect declines...Lubuhn, Gretchen; Droege, Sam; Connor, Edward F.; Gemmill-Herren, Barbara; Potts, Simon G.; Minckley, Robert L.; Griswold, Terry; Jean, Robert; Kula, Emanuel; Roubik, David W.; Cane, Jim; Wright, Karen W.; Frankie, Gordon; Parker, Frank
Spatial patterns of bee captures in North American bowl trapping surveys
1. Bowl and pan traps are now commonly used to capture bees (Hymenoptera: Apiformes) for research and surveys. 2. Studies of how arrangement and spacing of bowl traps affect captures of bees are needed to increase the efficiency of this capture technique. 3. We present results from seven studies of bowl traps placed in trapping webs, grids, and...Droege, Sam; Tepedino, Vincent J.; Lebuhn, Gretchen; Link, William; Minckley, Robert L.; Chen, Qian; Conrad, Casey
New synonymies in the bee genus Nomada from North America (Hymenoptera: Apidae)
We provide diagnostic morphological characters to help distinguish males and females of the following species of Nomada: N. augustiana Mitchell, N. bethunei Cockerell, N. fervida Smith, N. fragariae Mitchell, N. lehighensis Cockerell, N. texana Cresson, and N. tiftonensis Cockerell. Based on morphological and DNA barcoding evidence we newly...Droege, S.; Rightmyer, M.G.; Sheffield, C.S.; Brady, S.G.
The lost micro-deserts of the Patuxent River using landscape history, insect and plant specimens, and field work to detect and define a unique community
Historical and recent records of both plants and insects are synthesized for uplands along the eastern edge of Maryland?s Patuxent River from the edge of the Piedmont south to Jug Bay. This strip is characterized by deep sandy soils found in the Evesboro and Galestown sandy loams soil series. Within this narrow strip there exists a unique flora...Droege, S.; Davis, C.A.; Steiner, W.E.; =Mawdsley, J.
Evaluation of specimen preservatives for DNA analyses of bees
Large-scale insect collecting efforts that are facilitated by the use of pan traps result in large numbers of specimens being collected. Storage of these specimens can be problematic if space and equipment are limited. In this study, we investigated the effects of various preservatives (alcohol solutions and DMSO) on the amount and quality of...Frampton, M.; Droege, S.; Conrad, T.; Prager, S.; Richards, M.H.
Long-term trends in breeding birds in an old-growth Adirondack forest and the surrounding region
Breeding bird populations were sampled between 1954 and 1963, and 1990 and 2000 in an old-growth forest, the Natural Area of Huntington Wildlife Forest (HWF), in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Trends were compared with data from regional North American Breeding Bird Surveys (BBS) and from a forest plot at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest...McNulty, S.A.; Droege, S.; Masters, R.D.
Long-term decline and short-term crash of the once abundant Rusty Blackbird
The Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus), a formerly common breeding species of boreal wetlands, has exhibited the most marked decline of any North American landbird. North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) trends in abundance are estimated to be -12.5% / yr over the last 40 years, which is tantamount to a >95% cumulative decline. Trends in...Greenberg, R.; Blancher, P.; Niven, D.; Droege, S.
Adventive Hylaeus (Spatulariella Popov) in the New World (Hymenoptera : Apoidea : Colletidae)Ascher, J.S.; Ganibino, P.; Droege, S.
Patuxent Scientist Sam Droege interviewed for "Inside Science" about how commercially managed bumblebees and honey bees may be contributing to wild pollinator decline.