BBC: Bees hidden in plain sight: check out this BBC description of Tom Onuferko’s recent work on cuckoo bees!
Tom did his MSc research in our lab (see Rapid initial recovery and long-term persistence of a bee community in a former landfill.) He distinguished himself by identifying thousands of specimens collected over a 10-year period and providing the first definitive list of bee species for Niagara Region. Tom said from the beginning that he wanted to be a taxonomist, and now he’s achieved that goal! He’s been studying some really attractive kleptoparasitic bees named Epeolus. Kleptoparasites are cuckoos – like their birdy counterparts, they lay their eggs in other bees’ nests, parasitizing the maternal efforts of bees with more respectable life styles. Tom recently discovered 15 new species among museum collections. I think it is funny that they were there all along – and Tom is creating new employment and research opportunities for people like himself who are the only ones who can identify these bees in collections like ours!
Congratulations, Tom! Ya done good!
Defending grad theses in February has be(e)come a habit in our lab. Yesterday Lyndon Duff defended his thesis about body size effects on male mating strategies in eastern carpenter bees. After a rush to finish all the official requirements, he’ll be a full-fledged PhD student in about 10 days! Congratulations, Lyndon!
One I missed noting, and this is terrible, was the PhD defense of Jess Vickruck last February (yes, in 2017. I lose track of things in Februaries…). Jess’s thesis was on the social behaviour of female carpenter bees. Jess is now a post-doc at the University of Calgary – here she is in a tweet from CSEE-SCEE in honour of Women in Science day, 11 Feb 2018.
I do have a cute story to tell about Jess’s graduation. After the formal convocation in which Jess received her degree, a bunch of carpenter bees came out and flew around her in her academic regalia. It was great!
For want of a comma, the index was lost
For want of an index, the matrix was lost
For want of a matrix, the output was lost
For want of an output, my evening was lost.
Could have been worse...
We’re having an Andy Warhol day! First, a nice piece in the Brock News about our recent paper on 10 years (yes, ten!) of bee monitoring at the Glenridge Quarry Naturalization Site. Then some tweeting, including from NSERC and Canada’s Science Minister. That’s quite exciting!
A lot of people contributed to this work over the years, especially Tom Onuferko, who identified a lot of bees, and Dimitri Skandalis, who crunched a lot of numbers.
One of the last bees in our garden was this tiny little yellow-faced bee (Hylaeus), foraging on goldenrod in mid-September. The bee loves the goldenrod. Me, too. I don’t really understand why so many people dismiss such beautiful blossoms as mere weeds.