The image above depicts a bumble bee pollinating a globe thistle plant. UMass Amherst entomologist Anne Averill (Environmental Conservation) and her research colleagues John Burand (Microbiology), Guang Xu (Genomics Resource Lab) and Thomas Stevens (Resource Economics) and other collaborators are in the midst of a five-year $3.3 million USDA grant to develop strategies for protecting native bees in the northeast. Working with local farmers and cranberry growers, the team is analyzing the effects of pathogens, parasites, insecticides, land use, and farming techniques on this essential link in the food supply chain. What researchers do know is that populations of at least two species of northeast bumble bees have already collapsed and that the decline is occurring nationwide. Learn more.
Photo credit: Anne Averill Research Group