People often think of cities and suburban areas as zones with little or no wildlife. While it is true that the wildlife in our urban areas is not the same as what existed before we added our buildings and parking lots to the landscape, there is more non-human diversity than many realize. I am reminded of this each time I see a raptor in my neighborhood, hear the peeping of young tufted titmice in the nest box in my back yard, or watch the many insects that make a home in and around the rain garden in my front yard.
While my personal anecdotes of urban diversity are valuable to me on a personal level, they don't do much to advance scientific thought on the subject. For that, today I will defer to the research being done in the Camilo Lab at Saint Louis University. Dr. Camilo and his students look at native bee diversity in urban areas, specifically in community gardens. While you might expect to find more species of bees in rural areas, they are finding a greater diversity of species in urban areas. In addition, the number of species is higher in economically depressed urban areas. I'll let Dr. Camilo speak for himself; hear more about his work in this You Tube video.
The Ecological Society of America held their annual conference on August 5-10, 2018, in New Orleans. This was my first time attending and I have to say that I was overwhelmed! There were over a thousand scientists in attendance and the wonderful individuals I met were as diverse as the ecological subject areas that were being studied.
I went to the meeting with Megan, a fellow grad student working in Jason Knouft's lab. I was pleased to be able to present a poster of my recent work and had some great feedback from one of the editors of one of the British ecology journals. I was also glad to see Kara, a former member of the lab. We enjoyed an evening on Bourbon Street, a must for any trip to New Orleans.
While I heard a lot about some very interesting science programs and areas of study, one of the sessions that I found most inspiring was one on the importance of communicating our science. Based on my insights from that session, I am re-kindling my blog and I have every intention of posting regularly so that my massive throngs of readers (Hi, Mom!) can hopefully glean something from my own thoughts on science...
Thanks for reading!