I have wide interests in the area of keeping native and managed bees healthy in working and natural landscapes.
A major area of my work focuses on how pesticide applicators understand the risks associated with pest management decisions. This has taken the form of large scale assessment of language of the Pollinating Insect Hazard Statement on pesticide labels (work led by an undergraduate Honors College student in my lab, Matthew Bucy) but also evaluation with pesticide applicators during recertification training. I think this kind of work is extremely neglected and I hope to do a lot more of it in the coming years.
Prompted by the work of a graduate student in my program, Emily Carlson, I have also been increasingly interested in estimating how pesticide use practices contribute to pesticide exposure. This has led to work I do on residual acute toxicity of insecticides to bees on weathered foliage and flowers, and attempts to compare how these residues dissipate relative to insecticide chemistry and crop.
I also have responsibilities to “develop baseline data on the status of both managed and native pollinators in the state”. To address this situation, I partnered with the Oregon State Arthropod Collection (OSAC) in 2017 to develop the Oregon Bee Atlas and the first and only Extension Master certificate program devoted to native bee survey, the Master Melittologist program. These remarkable volunteers have collected many thousands of museum-quality native bee specimens from every county, making the Oregon Bee Atlas the largest volunteer native bee inventory in the US. There are some excellent research opportunities associated with examining patterns of bee biodiversity in the state, associations with plant hosts and asking questions about how our volunteers learn. I expect I will spend out the rest of my career asking these questions.
Oregon has remarkable crop diversity and I have worked on problems associated with pollinating these crops. One example of this work was research lead by an Honors College undergraduate in my program, Kennedy Grant, who determined the strength of colonies delivered to blueberry pollination contributed to higher yields.
Finally, I have active work looking into increasing the nectar and pollen resources available to bees in working landscapes. This works has been conducted collaboratively with a range of scientists, from weed scientists, like Marcelo Moretti, pasture researchers, like Serkan Ates, and orchard fruit researchers like Chris Adams.