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Alexandra Rose « Visiting Scientist » seminar

11.28.2017 - 4R1 seminar room (UPS)

Alexandra Rose « Visiting Scientist » seminar
Alexandra Rose will give a seminar « Studying Native Pollinators with Citizen Scientists: What we’ve learned about conserving bees and how to do science with volunteers » the 28th of November at 11 a.m in the EDB seminar room.

Dr. Alexandra Rose has a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California Santa Cruz, where she studied life history evolution of Tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) for her dissertation, relying on an entirely volunteer workforce of field assistants ranging in age from 17 to 67. After graduate school she taught for 3 years in the Department of Zoology and Physiology at the University of Wyoming, where she started a citizen science project on winter bird behavior. In 2012 Dr. Rose was hired by the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History as their Citizen Science Program Coordinator and here she began her work on native pollinators. Although she’s primarily a bird biologist, Dr. Rose has experience doing field work with a variety of species including white-tailed deer, small mammals, and even polar bears. In addition to doing basic and applied research on birds and pollinators, Dr. Rose is passionate about Science Education, Outreach and Communication. She teaches graduate student courses on these topics and works with faculty across the University of Colorado campus to help them communicate to public audiences of all ages about their research.

Citizen Science is an approach to doing research that uses non-scientist volunteers as research assistants. It’s a strategy that is increasing in popularity world-wide, as it not only allows for research to be done at broad geographic scales and with large sampling intensity, but it also provides an opportunity for scientists to educate members of the public about the value and process of scientific research while conducting their research. Solitary bee and wasp populations are understudied and their conservation status is poorly known in North America, despite their well-demonstrated value as pollinators. European honeybees, which are introduced in North America for agricultural services, are constantly in the news because their populations are impacted by pesticides, diseases, climate change, and habitat loss. We suspect that these same anthropogenic factors must impact native bee species as well, but there is little baseline data on native bee species. We started a citizen science project in Colorado to collect baseline data on native, solitary, bees and wasps in urban environments. Our scientific goals were to understand what landscape factors impact bee and wasp diversity and abundance in urban environments and at the same time we wanted to bring the public’s attention to our native bees, which unlike honeybees, get very little notice. I’ll talk about some challenges and benefits of using citizen scientists to do scientific research as well as our bee and wasp research and what we’re learning about the diversity and abundance of bees in our backyards.