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Roadsides, Pivot Corners, and Prairie Corridors: Pollinator Responses to Restoration Efforts in Public and Private Spaces
October 25, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pmFree
Biography: Dr. Judy Wu-Smart received her BS degree in Zoology at Humboldt State University, CA, then completed her graduate programs in Entomology, receiving a MS from Washington University and PhD from University of Minnesota. Her research has focused on understanding the sub-lethal and behavioral impacts of pesticides in managed honeybees and wild bumble bees. She’s now an assistant professor and extension specialist and has been the director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Bee Lab since the Fall of 2015. The UNL Bee Lab program focuses on understanding the underlying stressors in bee health, including bee pests and diseases, pesticide exposure, degraded habitats and malnutrition, and developing sustainable solutions through better management of bees and landscapes. The UNL Bee Lab also strives to engage with the community and integrate research and extension efforts with science policy to inform the regulatory decision-making processes. This includes identifying risk mitigation opportunities and best management practices that will better protect beneficial pollinators in agricultural and urban landscapes.
Presentation: Pollination services provided by insects, particularly bees, are critical for food security and fuel production but also play an integral role in shaping natural and human-modified landscapes which then support a suite of other wildlife. These keystone pollinators not only maintain diverse plant communities that provide habitat as well as improve soil and water health, but they also provide food web support for many birds and small mammals. Fragmentation of natural habitats reduce specific flora and nesting substrates as well as access to suitable habitats, vital for meeting reproduction, nesting, and foraging needs for specialists and generalists species of wild bees. With several hundred species of bees found in Nebraska, it is difficult to evaluate impact of restoration efforts on pollinator communities without assessing plant-pollinator interactions (i.e. which bee species are utilizing which plants and when). This presentation reviews findings from restoration projects that enhanced public and private lands with pollinator-friendly habitats to evaluate plant community establishment of high diversity seed mixes and pollinator responses to restored landscapes. Results from these projects will build upon our understanding of which plant species are effective in pollinator seed mixes and will also help guide future land management decisions, evaluate long-term monitoring efforts, and engage communities to support conservation in these fragile natural systems.