[00:00:00] Andony Melathopoulos: If you're like me when you're walking within a region, let's say in the Willamette valley, if you go to a nature preserve or an agricultural setting or an urban environment, all three of these exist in the Willamette valley, you may notice. Some of the same pollinating insects, but there's a subtle difference between the composition of the pollinating insects and each one of those areas.
[00:00:24] I've always been interested in this topic of wa why that is what's driving those mechanisms. So I was really excited last month at the entomological society of America meeting in Denver, to hear Dr. Kyla Perry deliver a talk on just this subject. She's a post-doctoral fellow in the department of entomology.
[00:00:43] Ohio state university. And our research is looking to disentangle local and landscape level drivers of the kind of insect diversity that we see across landscapes. But before we get started, two quick announcements, the annual orchard bee association is having its annual meeting this year for the first time.
[00:01:00] In Corvallis, Oregon at Oregon state university it's going to be a hybrid meeting so you can come in person or join online. I'm going to put the link to the registration in the show notes. I was going to be some great talks by both people who've been, practically managing Mason bees, but also People pass guests, for example, at Kate Croix and PR Teresa pit singers.
[00:01:20] So don't miss out. And also over the next two months, we're going to be fundraising for the Oregon bee Atlas. We really need some donations to help us identify bees using molecular techniques, but also to pay for our taxonomist Lincoln bests, if you want to donate it's a tax-free deduction as a 5 0 1 C3.
[00:01:37] So again, I'll put that in the show notes and without further ado, let's go to. Understanding community bumblebee assembly with Dr. Kyla Perry from Ohio state university.
[00:02:35] Okay, welcome Dr. Perry to pollination.
[00:02:38] Kayla Perry: Thank you so excited to be here.
[00:02:40] Andony Melathopoulos: Here is Denver we're at the entomological society of America or this huge conference center has been really great, seeing all these wonderful talks about pollinators.
[00:02:49] Kayla Perry: Absolutely happy to be here. Happy to be out of my house.
[00:02:54] The other people,
[00:02:55] Andony Melathopoulos: it has been really wonderful and I was really great. Cause I got to see your talk. I had didn't know about your work before, and that's one of the wonders of going to a conference like this. You get exposed to so much work that you just work didn't know what was going on. And the thing I was really struck by in your research, it was, this issue of, everybody's really interested in planting for pollinators in their gardens.
[00:03:16] And I always get asked this question. How do I know if I'm having an impact? Like how would you even measure that? And what I really appreciated in your talk was how would we measure this? How would we be able to assess the the success of something like a habitat augmentation in urban area, how pollinators work in an urban area.
[00:03:34] So can you just broadly set up, you had these concepts, I'm doing a lot of talking, but you talked about three level. I think when people often say, oh, I have a diverse amount of bees in my garden and you set up three levels of diversity. Can you explain those to me? They seem fascinating and seem to really explain a lot in terms of what we see on the ground.
[00:03:55] Kayla Perry: Absolutely. I'm really interested broadly and understanding how disturbances structure inset. Both what species we find and habitat patch, but also their function. And so I have taken an approach to answering some of these questions by looking at community assembly. And essentially this is just understanding what species we find at a particular habitat patch.
[00:04:18] And why
[00:04:19] Andony Melathopoulos: you get this right community assembly. It's I can just imagine the kids at the assembly at the school, it's when all. All the biodiversity sort of assembles in a local spots.
[00:04:28] Kayla Perry: Absolutely. Yeah. So there is some given number of species that you might find within your region. But if you go out to your backyard, you only find maybe a subset of those species at your house.
[00:04:39] And so I want to know why is it just those species that are in your backyard compared to other species that you might find at a forest patch down the road or at your neighbor's house?
[00:04:50] Andony Melathopoulos: I remember when when you were so I get this, so you've got this, there's gotta be and the work that you were presenting was on bumblebee.
[00:04:56] So you can imagine in our region, people found all these bumblebee species and then at these local levels of your garden, you're seeing only a subset variably. You're only going to see us a subset. But the thing that I remember in the intermediary is that you have these kinds of big chunks of land use like agriculture and urban spaces.
[00:05:13] And those may. Admits certain peoples in Sydney assemblies.
[00:05:19] Kayla Perry: Absolutely. Yeah. So what I talked about yesterday and what I'm really interested in is how, humans might influence what species we're finding at a particular habitat patch. And do we see different species when the greenspace is surrounded by primarily agricultural land compared to a green space, surrounded by primarily urban land and how maybe the amount of natural habitat.
[00:05:42] Surrounding that site might influence those patterns,
[00:05:45] Andony Melathopoulos: And it brings me back to what you were saying earlier as well. I can imagine in terms of disturbance, a city probably has, is a large, growing area of disturbance in that, that in variably the disturbance itself and the surrounding area as well, but that there's a kind of must be a dynamic between the disturbing.
[00:06:03] And what species are found there from the periphery.
[00:06:06] Kayla Perry: Absolutely previous research has found that urban disturbance typically selects for more generalist species. You also tend to find more non-native species in cities. And so some of my research has tried to go beyond just looking at species, but also looking at what traits.
[00:06:21] And you can see what species are in the city or in, an ag field, for example. But if you want to apply those. To say another state or another country. It's really hard to do that when you are just looking at a list of species, right? You might not find the species that I find in Cleveland or Wisconsin, in Germany for example, or Europe.
[00:06:42] And so if we take a look at functional traits which is essentially Morphological physiological behavioral traits of the species, then those results are more broadly applicable. And you can say something about their function, that those insects are providing
[00:06:57] Andony Melathopoulos: example. W what do you mean by functional trait?
[00:06:59] Kayla Perry: that? A gray one is body. So insect ecologists often use body size or wing development. So body size relates to a lot of metabolic processes. It can also relate to reproduction within insects and wind development can relate to dispersal capacity.
[00:07:15] Andony Melathopoulos: Oh yeah. So clearly you have a, B you might have a B that has a larger bigger body side.
[00:07:21] It might disperse further. And so it's has a dispersed.
[00:07:24] Kayla Perry: Absolutely. These tend to be considered more mobile. So some of my work with beetles, I can actually distinguish those two because some are flightless and some are not. So depending upon what group you're looking at, that dispersal capacity trait can be more or less extreme.
[00:07:40] Andony Melathopoulos: Okay. That's great. In the there's another example, right there. You have wings are not functional trait. Okay.
[00:07:46] Kayla Perry: All right. Yeah. And some of my previous work has found that cities really select species that are good dispersers we don't see flightless species in the city very much. And major landscape change such as urbanization can influence a species that you find.
[00:08:01] Just based on dispersal capacity.
[00:08:03] Andony Melathopoulos: Okay. This is great. I think this sets everything really well. I think I've got the groundwork to learn more about your research. So you were interested in this question of you have these regional pools of bumblebees and you've got different land uses in Wisconsin where your study is taking place and you want it to figure out in these how these traits.
[00:08:22] How the traits might, filter for something to what on the ground tells a little bit about the broad design of the experiment.
[00:08:30] Kayla Perry: Yeah. This project is in collaboration with Ohio state university, which is where I was when I was conducting it, but also university of Wisconsin. And so our partners at the university of Wisconsin set up a design along an urban, rural gradient.
[00:08:41] So they were sampling bumblebees and green spaces and sites that were primarily dominated by urban land cover or ag land cover. And so this allowed me to test the hypothesis of whether different land cover types result in different filtering of traits. And so you can think of a filter as like a S a seed sort of how the analogy goes.
[00:09:01] Species that are able to survive in that habitat, pass through that filter and exists. Whereas other species that can't are left out, they can't pass, they might
[00:09:10] Andony Melathopoulos: land. They might by happen chance land in the city, but their traits are just not well adapted and they absolutely,
[00:09:17] Kayla Perry: or they can't even get into the city.
[00:09:19] So it can happen at multiple scales. They either can't get in there or once they get there, it's not right. And they can't survive.
[00:09:28] Andony Melathopoulos: Okay. All right. So you've got you've got this gradients, urban, rural gradient. And then tell us how you tell us the next step. I guess people are, you need observations of bees.
[00:09:39] Kayla Perry: I was not involved in that aspect of the study. So the Wisconsin team went out and they did their sampling along transects. And they provided me with a dataset of the species that they.
[00:09:51] Andony Melathopoulos: Okay. So you have a dataset where you have bees at sites along this gradient. I imagine a site's a little like mile or so and
[00:10:00] Kayla Perry: transects.
[00:10:00] So they walked through a green space and negative. Okay.
[00:10:04] Andony Melathopoulos: So you've got all these sites, we've got some the community assembly at this one site looks like this. And then another one looks like that. How were you able to understand how the filter was operating? Yeah, all these observations.
[00:10:15] Kayla Perry: That's a great question. And so I looked at species and I also looked at traits. And so in order to do that, I had to go into the literature and figure out what traits these different species had. And so a couple that I looked at were body size and I actually measured those on specimens. And so I looked at some number of specimens and I measured body size.
[00:10:34] I also measured the wing length to look at their dispersal capacity. And I also looked at some traits related to the core curricular, the pollen basket. We looked at how long that pollen basket was and also how hairy it is. So how long the CD were coming off of the Pando.
[00:10:49] Andony Melathopoulos: Oh, cause if you look at a curriculum, it's a, this is the pollen carrying basket on a Bumblebee's leg.
[00:10:54] And honeybees, are the other group that people will see these on. It's nice and bright. But then it's, it can be fringed with hairs and some of those hairs can
[00:11:02] Kayla Perry: be quite long. Some of them we quite long. Yeah. There's quite a bit of variation actually, between species. Yeah. How long those hairs are.
[00:11:08] Oh, I also
[00:11:09] Andony Melathopoulos: remember this if, for people who are DKI and have gone through the Williams' bumblebee tea, the shape of the curricula is one. Characters are used to determine like some of them got this narrow anyways. It's it, there's a lot of variation between the
[00:11:22] Kayla Perry: species. Yeah. And it's a trait that actually hasn't been used in bumblebee functional work.
[00:11:28] So that's something that I wanted to bring to this project. I also measured the hair on the thorax to see how hairy the bees were. There was also a lot of. And that as well it was a bit challenging to do but that's also a nutrient I can imagine
[00:11:40] Andony Melathopoulos: cause some species have the characteristic bald spot.
[00:11:43] Kayla Perry: And sometimes, depending upon the specimen that you have the hairs all smooshed over, or you have the, the greasy lipids on them. And so it was a bit tricky, but
[00:11:52] Andony Melathopoulos: okay. So you've gotten that now. You've got these beers, you've got them sorta not only are. Species ABC, but now you can think of them as carriers of traits, yeah.
[00:12:01] Kayla Perry: Yeah. So at another trait we looked at was tongue length. And so you might have, when, where we have, nine species that were collected, then we can group them based on what do they have short tongues. So they have long tongues. And then what does that say about the resources that they're using and what flowers are?
[00:12:14] Andony Melathopoulos: That would make sense. I imagine anybody knows you, something like a deep, current flower, only very long tongue. When will these get in the short ones? Can't make it. Okay. That sounds great.
[00:12:24] Kayla Perry: Yeah. And once I have these trait data, then I can look at how these traits differ among our different sites.
[00:12:33] And one of the ways that I wanted to look at community assembly is to see whether the species and the traits that we have are unique. And. Particularly, whether they're unique compared to the species that we might find in the region. And so I went back to the literature and I identified all the species that the team could have collected.
[00:12:59] I'm calling that the regional
[00:13:00] Andony Melathopoulos: pool. So this is just going through historic records or contemporary records. And you just, people sought saw this you've got to, this is the limit of species that you're likely to find in this whole area.
[00:13:11] Kayla Perry: Surrounding Madison, Wisconsin in particular.
[00:13:14] Yeah. And I use bumblebee wash, which is a citizen science initiative. And I determine a conservative estimate of 16 species that's at the team. Yeah. It's actually quite a lot. Yeah. But then the team only collected. And so I wanted to know whether there was something unique about those nine species compared to the 16 that they could have collected.
[00:13:35] And so to do that, I used a no model technique. Oh, what a no model technique. Yeah. So I basically generated a bunch of random. Communities. So given our 16 species that we could have found, we've got our observed nine species that we did collect. Let's just create, I created 999 random communities.
[00:13:58] No, because 1,001 are observed scores is one. The whole dataset together. Yeah.
[00:14:07] Andony Melathopoulos: So you simulate this, you say if we just rolled the dice with these 16 species, I should see some here.
[00:14:14] Kayla Perry: Gotcha. Yeah. And so I essentially randomize our species matrix and I also randomize the trait matrix.
[00:14:21] Okay. So I randomized both of those with some constraints of course. And For example, if three species were collected at a particular site each random, no model iteration is only going to pick three species randomly to put at that site. So there are constraints, this isn't the complete wild west here.
[00:14:40] But then we can look at all of those random communities and say whether the bees that we actually collected are unique in some way. Okay. So that's the Knoll
[00:14:51] Andony Melathopoulos: components who's got these observed. Observed B assemblies and then you have one that if it was just random, it had nothing to do with these traits, had nothing to do with speech.
[00:15:00] It should look like this. And so I guess you have something to compare to,
[00:15:04] Kayla Perry: right? And because we do at 999 times, you get a pretty good idea of what random would be essentially. And then I can compare. The bees we actually collected to these know model communities and say things like, okay are the bees and urban and ag dominated landscapes larger or smaller than we might expect by chance?
[00:15:23] Or do they have longer or shorter tongues than we might expect by chance. Okay. Yeah. And so that allows us to, to put some perspective on what we're actually finding is it unique or not
[00:15:36] Andony Melathopoulos: drum roll, please look on fine.
[00:15:38] Kayla Perry: We found that fees tend to be not these tend to be smaller. This is actually a really important point here.
[00:15:44] So we're finding that species in ag landscapes and in urban and landscapes tend to be smaller species.
[00:15:53] Andony Melathopoulos: Gotcha.
[00:15:54] Kayla Perry: Yeah. And they also tend to be less hairy, which is very interesting and they tend to have some.
[00:16:02] Andony Melathopoulos: Oh, so in, in the whole pool, the S the smaller species that are less hairy and with smaller wings, the ones that are finding disproportionately above a random expectations in agriculture and in urban settings,
[00:16:19] Kayla Perry: they're more prevalent than we would expect based on.
[00:16:24] We're also seeing that species, that nest above ground. So like in trees or in, grass, clumps, things like that. Those are also More prevalent than we would expect. And our klepto parasitic species that require the host bumblebee species to survive and reproduce. Those are less, less prevalent than we would expect
[00:16:43] Andony Melathopoulos: by chance.
[00:16:45] Okay. So I guess the nesting above ground and below ground, a functional trait, and for listeners who don't know Sunbelt will be species low to nest above ground. Some only nest below ground. Like switched back and forth. And so we are seeing more of the ones that nest above ground and in both urban and egg grew cultural landscapes.
[00:17:07] And we have these klepto parasitic bumblebees that don't make their own nest. They go in and they assume another nest. They also seem to be dropping out from what we would expect by random. Oh, okay. So this is a very interesting, so there seems to be some kind of. Preference in these landscapes for certain
[00:17:24] Kayla Perry: species.
[00:17:24] Okay. Absolutely. And you mentioned below ground nesting species, and we actually found that those were present as we would expect by chance. So they overlapped with our no model results. And so we didn't see that those species were more or less prevalent. This is what we would expect.
[00:17:41] Andony Melathopoulos: Okay. The last thing I remember this in the talk, which I was really, we were taught, we had spent all this time talking about curricula, but there seemed to be a signal associated with this
[00:17:52] Kayla Perry: trait.
[00:17:54] Absolutely. Let me pull this up. Cause I forget. Oh
[00:17:57] Andony Melathopoulos: yeah, listeners. We are So you can see the laptop on a
[00:18:02] Kayla Perry: yeah. Okay. Here we go. So this figure is includes most of the traits that I measure directly on specimens, which is a lot of fun. It's also very time-intensive microscope work. But see, as I mentioned, we're seeing bees that have a shorter wings.
[00:18:18] We're also seeing bees that have wider heads and larger.
[00:18:23] Andony Melathopoulos: Your eyes. Okay.
[00:18:25] Kayla Perry: So it's length in particular larger eyes. We see bees that are less hairy, and we are seeing bees that have longer CD on longer hairs on the corporate.
[00:18:37] Andony Melathopoulos: So shorter hair on the body
[00:18:42] Kayla Perry: nature
[00:18:43] Andony Melathopoulos: consistent here. Okay.
[00:18:46] Kayla Perry: Yeah. And wing length would relate to dispersal capacity and, we're seeing some resource capture traits show up here in terms of Brex hair length and also the hair on the core Bikila.
[00:18:59] And so if you think about what species are. Over underrepresented. And what traits are being over and underrepresented? No nesting traits above ground nesters smaller species and these traits related to dispersal capacity and resource capture.
[00:19:18] Andony Melathopoulos: I suppose it begs the question why, and I know, I remember we had, my colleague at OSU has worked.
[00:19:25] Urban landscapes and looking at solitary bees species. And this seems to be some environments where you get a lot of cavity nesters, as opposed to ground nesters. I can see a pattern emerging here, but what do we make of some of these trends that I guess one has to be careful because of the trade.
[00:19:40] Functional, but they, how they're being used in that specific environment, especially I'm looking at these, that trend seem quite similar for urban agriculture, but they're very kind of different places.
[00:19:50] Kayla Perry: And there is a lot of variability among the sites. And so that's also important to note that, not every site is the same and it's its composition and also in the land.
[00:20:00] That's surrounding it or the local plant community. And so we do see variation particularly with the agricultural sites. In some of the other figures that urban sites are very tight.
[00:20:10] Andony Melathopoulos: Let's take a quick break. I want to come back cause I see all of these dots and I think I'm very curious about the variation.
[00:20:17] That occurs within an agricultural or an urban landscape. So let's let's take a quick break and let's come back and explore that. Cause you've looked at this too. I have, yes. Oh, okay. And we're back. All right. W you also looked at You have a lot of variation within, in the, what you would call the urban landscape.
[00:20:35] One, one backyard is not like another backyard or one region. I imagine a place that's got a big park or has a forest next to it. It's not the same as something that's like in downtown Denver where we are today. So tell me a little bit about. What you find in that kind of setting when you're looking at the broad spectrum of sites nested within the
[00:20:55] Kayla Perry: absolutely.
[00:20:56] As we mentioned before the break, I noticed a lot of variation among my sites, both in the urban dominated landscapes and in the agricultural dominated landscapes. And I really wanted to understand, okay, what might be contributing to this variation. And so I immediately thought, what about the amount of natural habitat in these landscapes?
[00:21:14] That are highly urban. Yeah. Or with agricultural intensification. And so around Madison, Wisconsin, that tends to be forest as well as wetlands. And so I wanted to calculate some different landscape metrics to try and tease apart some of this variation and see how the amount of natural habitat surrounding those greenspace patches might be influencing the traits that we find.
[00:21:39] And I found some really interesting results. So if we just look at percentage agriculture in the landscape or percentage urban land cover, and really look at the gradient we see that long tongue bees tend to be more prevalent in agricultural landscapes and short dug, short tongue bees, excuse me, tend to be more prevalent in urban landscapes
[00:22:00] Andony Melathopoulos: and it has a disproportionate.
[00:22:03] Agricultural land around it. It seems that the species that have long tongues are just, they're just there they're higher than they would be
[00:22:10] Kayla Perry: by chance. Absolutely. Yeah. And if we look at what species those are the team collected bombs or Acomas in , so those species have long tongues. Yep. And if we look at short tongue species, this includes Bombus grisea colas Bombus Rufio Cintas, as well as the federally endangered Bombus Africanus, which they did
[00:22:29] Andony Melathopoulos: collect some.
[00:22:30] I've heard this. I follow I have colleagues at university of Minnesota and oftentimes in the bumblebee. Atlas that they have there. They have, they've been spotting it in Minneapolis. Huh? Okay. All right. This might be because the filter of Minneapolis is welcoming to Bombus
[00:22:45] Kayla Perry: FNS. Yeah. And there could be other, in addition to landscape, resource floral resources and things that I didn't necessarily look at.
[00:22:54] Andony Melathopoulos: least not yet. I mentioned the other thing is you may have flowers that have been likes, but there's another be there that's just way more competitive for it and it gets bumped out. And so it may, I imagine it gets complicated. So maybe the bee community.
[00:23:11] Kayla Perry: Absolutely different competitors at a particular habitat could influence whether a less common species can successfully survive and establish.
[00:23:20] And we do see that some species are very common across all of these sites, including bombs of patients in Bombus by immaculate us and bombed this Chrissy colas. Really abundant along this urban, rural
[00:23:31] Andony Melathopoulos: gradient. Okay. So let's dig in deeper to more fine scale. These, what else, what other kind of functional traits do we see associated with what we might see
[00:23:39] Kayla Perry: in?
[00:23:40] Yeah I took a look at the amount of natural habitat. So as I mentioned, primarily forest and wetlands, I looked at how connected forest habitat patches were as well. How large the the largest forest patches. So one continuous forest patch in the land, the landscape how large that was.
[00:23:59] And we saw some interesting patterns with traits. I mentioned before that the species we're finding in these modified landscapes were primarily smaller species and. Species, the larger ones are actually present in sites that have more natural.
[00:24:16] Andony Melathopoulos: Okay. Let me get that in general, by chance, compared to the by chance you get smaller bees, we establish that in the first part of the episode, but the larger species on that spectrum are more predominant when you start to have more natural area.
[00:24:33] Absolutely. That's interesting. So it's it does suggest a mechanism, perhaps it's like natural. Seem to favor bees of a
[00:24:40] Kayla Perry: larger size. Yeah. And that could have potential conservation implications because as I mentioned we're losing larger species, but we feel that larger species need natural habitat.
[00:24:51] And so that could be a potential conservation act. To
[00:24:56] Andony Melathopoulos: focus on. Fantastic. Was there anything else that popped out of this analysis where I'm the listeners I'm looking at this graph and it is a work of art, but
[00:25:04] Kayla Perry: there's a lot of, so in addition to larger species, we also see Harrier species. So they have longer hairs on there.
[00:25:13] Which could influence pollen collection,
[00:25:15] Andony Melathopoulos: for example, it's the same trend that we saw with the online sort of the broader scale. Yeah.
[00:25:20] Kayla Perry: That'd be done. Yeah. And opposite of this with increasing forest patch, isolated. So this would be an opposite measure of connectivity, right? So with increasing natural habitat, we tend to see increasing connectivity opposite of that.
[00:25:35] We see increasing isolation. And so as we see increasing forest isolation, we see medium tank species, which tend to be the very common species like bombesin patients. We also see species that have wider heads that can affect the resources that they use and. I's which was really driven by Bombus Fagan's Bombus Bacon's has very big eyes compared to the other species and there's this one other functional traits that I haven't really mentioned before and it's worker body length variance, and I find this to be really interesting.
[00:26:11] Essentially, it's a measure of how variable a species, body size is. And so if you open up like B's of north America, for example, a field guide and you look at each species, it'll give you a range of size for that species. And so if you just take the difference between those two numbers, you get a measure of experience.
[00:26:32] Andony Melathopoulos: I, I, intuitively I think this there's some species in Oregon that can code you have a much wider range of size. I think like yellow headed a bumblebee bomb as far as a sense of GI, the first workers are just tiny and you really do have a range. Like those tiny ones are disproportionately small for that size of,
[00:26:53] Kayla Perry: yeah.
[00:26:53] And so we, we see species that have greater variability in their size. This plasticity tend to do better or are more prevalent in urban sites. And also this is falling in between our forest patch, isolation. And insights that have more isolated greenspace patches in this case forest or in highly urbanized sites.
[00:27:14] We see species that have this plasticity in their body size being more prevalent, potentially as a,
[00:27:21] Andony Melathopoulos: This is fantastic. I can see how, if I was an urban planner looking at this work and how it pencils out there is a, a way in which having a variety of landscape types around.
[00:27:30] There'll be something for everyone and knowing that you're not going to be able to maybe not all species will be find a home in the city. I imagine that's becomes really important in terms of trying to, keep B diversity up in urban as well as an agricultural
[00:27:43] Kayla Perry: areas.
[00:27:45] And so the next step with this work is I'm hoping to take a look at some of these landscape variables, natural habitat, forest connectivity and use some of the know model data that I generated to perhaps identify some thresholds. So I can make some recommendations about what we might want to do at a landscape scale to help support
[00:28:07] Andony Melathopoulos: bumblebees.
[00:28:08] Fantastic. This is. I know you got to rush off to another meeting, but maybe we have just a quick moment. We're going to do our three, three last, or I guess these three questions. I'm so curious what yours are. We'll be back in just a second and we're back. Okay. So three things. Do you have a book recommendation for our listeners?
[00:28:31] Kayla Perry: Oh gosh, this is the one that's been stumping me, so with my functional trait work I've primarily study beetles. So this is bumblebees are a whole new research avenue for me. Been very interested in learning about bumblebees, but my background is actually in beetles. And so there's this one beetle book that is like my beetle Bible.
[00:28:51] And it's essentially a natural history book of ground beetles. And it's been a wonderful resource for pulling functional trait information. So it would be great if someone could create a book like this for bees. So this beetle book is. It is yeah. North America above Mexico and it's ground beetle, natural history.
[00:29:12] So I think we need a parallel we're for bumblebees or for bees in general. And this is my challenge to
[00:29:19] Andony Melathopoulos: listen to all right, listeners, the gauntlet has been laid
[00:29:23] Kayla Perry: down. I couldn't really use that when I was trying to find these
[00:29:26] Andony Melathopoulos: traits. It's, I guess the thing is like with a lot of. I remember you were talking going to discover life.
[00:29:31] There's various places where there's some of this information squirreled away, but it's not compiled very well. And in some cases, this is not known and it would just be nice to know that I love to have a
[00:29:41] Kayla Perry: resource like that and to have it all in one place, they would be a really big task, but somebody out there,
[00:29:48] Andony Melathopoulos: somebody young cause it gonna need decades to do this.
[00:29:51] Okay. So the next question I have is your go-to tool for the.
[00:29:57] Kayla Perry: Yeah, I am a huge fan of dichotomous keys and it doesn't matter what tax that I'm looking at. It's an essential resource for all the research that I do. I'm not a proponent of people using the guide and other sort of online. Yeah. I'm all about the paper, dichotomous keys.
[00:30:14] And I collect
[00:30:15] Andony Melathopoulos: them. There's something there's something well there and there's lots of them. There's tons when it comes to bees, but there's something great about having the paper copies. Especially when the illustrations are good illustrations and you can really see these traits in it. And then the payoff is that suddenly this world of be biodiversity opens up to you because you can tell the difference between
[00:30:35] Kayla Perry: that math and you're learning about the morphology as well.
[00:30:39] And then. It's just a great skill to be able to use one of those because they are challenging. If you're going to pick up a dichotomous key, you have to know all that morphology. So there is a learning curve when you want to use them. But it's a skill that you can then apply to any.
[00:30:53] But you
[00:30:53] Andony Melathopoulos: want to learn, and I think if people get scared of it, but it's one of those things you've worked, you put 10, 20 bees through a key and you actually have reference material there, you spot it, real train techs, autonomous, and they're just glancing at it. Like they, the key has already been reprogrammed into their neurons and they're just like, yep.
[00:31:13] Kayla Perry: Yep. Yeah. It's a great skill
[00:31:16] Andony Melathopoulos: fantastically. The last question before I let you go, is, do you have a favorite pollinator species?
[00:31:21] Kayla Perry: That's a tough question. So with my bumblebee work, my favorite one has been bombed this Pennsylvania because, oh, it's beautiful. It's a large, robust fee. I love the shades of yellow and black, across bumblebee species that yellow color can change.
[00:31:40] I just love the contrast and the long face of Bombus Pennsylvania, because,
[00:31:46] Andony Melathopoulos: W because it's been in the news recently, our taxonomists went through. Cause there's, there's a couple of records on the Eastern part of our state, and it's unclear whether they're real records, but, I know I haven't seen them in Oregon.
[00:31:58] If they're, if they were there it was really on its edge of its range. So I really looked forward to coming out to the east and seeing it. Yeah. That sounds great. Thanks for taking the time at a busy conference. We really appreciate it. And thanks for walking us through this complicated world of like why bees in one place look different from another,
[00:32:16] Kayla Perry: thank you so much for having me.
[00:32:17] This has been a real joy.
The type of insect pollinators you find within a region can vary depending on broad categories of land use. This week we learn about the potential mechanisms that drive this variation, focusing on bumble bees.
Kayla Perry, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Entomology at The Ohio State University. Her current research aims to disentangle local- and landscape-level drivers of insect communities. Previously, Kayla earned a Ph.D. in entomology at Ohio State, studying how disturbance events like emerald ash borer–induced tree mortality impacted the community structure of forest invertebrates. Kayla has received numerous awards and fellowships for her work, including a postdoctoral fellowship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the J. H. Comstock Award from the North Central Branch.
Dichotomous keys (for identifying insects - like The Bees of the Willamette Valley: A comprehensive guide to the genera (2019))