Author: Chris Petranek, a PhD candidate studying bumble bee physiology
"There is growing evidence that managed
and/or wild honey bees can negatively
impact native bee populations."
Agricultural development threatens the integrity of what is left of our nation’s natural landscape and wildlife. Honey bees, non-native domesticated animals, are part of the problem.
Honey bees originate from Europe and were brought to the Americas in the 17th century. They form huge colony-nests (~40,000 workers) that operate year-round. Colonies can be reared in wooden boxes and transported to wherever pollination services are needed, which makes them so helpful to humans. Typically, they are most useful on lands developed for agriculture where wild pollinators have become scarce.
Author: Chris Petranick, a PhD candidate studying bumble bee physiology
"Even when discussing a basic research idea, I hope my
audience is left with some appreciation for the virtue
of finding things out."
My name is Chris Petranek and I study bumble bee physiology as a graduate student at the University of Wyoming.
Before I got here, my research was focused on conservation population biology of obscure bumble bee species in Mexico and Guatemala. Communicating the relevance of the science was not difficult, especially since it coincided with the popularity of “saving the bees”. While I think science motivated by an obvious benefit to society is fine, science for the sake of itself is incredibly important, as many game-changing discoveries were happenstance, e.g. penicillin, X-rays, and super glue. Research on creatures spanning the tree of life can provide apparently unlikely insight to myriad issues pressing mankind, even if the studies seem entirely trivial at face value.
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