Forty Years of Change in the Sunflower Bee Community in the Southwestern United States

On Wednesday November 1st at 7:00 p.m. at the NM Museum of Natural History, the public is invited to a program on an historical ecology study of pollinators (bees) in the U.S. Southwest, including three sites in New Mexico, presented by Catherine Cumberland, PhD student in the UNM biology graduate program.
Catherine’s study replicates surveys conducted in the 1970s, when a team of entomologists from the Smithsonian Institute and UC Berkeley sampled bees involved in native sunflower (Helianthus annuus) pollination. Survey locations have undergone a variety of changes since the 1970s: human population growth, development, and agricultural intensification have occurred in some areas, while at other locations the human population has remained static or declined. The current study is examining this gradient of anthropogenic impacts for correlation with changes in bee distributions, abundance and diversity. She received a $1000 grant from NPSNM in 2016 to sample the New Mexico sites. Initial data suggest significant, ecologically important changes have taken place in the sunflower pollinator community.
Catherine Cumberland is a PhD candidate in the University of New Mexico’s biology graduate program. She is conducting research on population trends in native bees of the southwest, as well as on interactions between native and introduced bees. She has Bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Studies and Biology from California State University. She worked in ecological restoration, environmental education, native plant propagation, and volunteer habitat stewardship coordination for over ten years. She received an M.S. in Ecology from Colorado State University in 2013.
The evening begins with a brief refreshment and visiting period.  A brief chapter meeting begins at 7:15 with announcements, followed immediately with the program.  Native plant books will be on display and available for purchase.  This free public program is sponsored by the Albuquerque Chapter, Native Plant Society of New Mexico.