Anna Hatzakis Rose Hills
Examining the Foraging Preferences of an Imperiled Bumble Bee
The western bumble bee used to be the most common bumble bee in the west, but their numbers have declined drastically over the past couple decades – particularly in the southern half of their range. While populations have been able to survive somewhat more so in Washington, very few colonies remain in Oregon, California, and Arizona. I will be examining and identifying the pollen from a century’s worth of museum specimens collected across their range in order to describe their pollen preferences. Once we know their pollen preferences, we can find out whether suspected factors such as livestock grazing and/or drought decimated their preferred floral resources, potentially leaving the species more vulnerable to pathogens. I will also be working in the field this summer to document what the very few remaining populations in the Sierra Nevada region are foraging on so we can work to make policies protecting plants that contribute to their ability to thrive.