The psychology of native pollinator decline
Join us on October 16th for a talk by Dr. Robert Gegear over Zoom. Starting at 6:30 we will have a pre-meeting social, followed by a brief business meeting and the talk by Dr. Gegear at 7:30. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom meeting info.
Abstract: Wild pollinators have declined in abundance, species richness, and geographic distribution at an alarming rate worldwide for unknown reasons, posing a significant threat to ecosystem health and biodiversity. Although the cause of pollinator decline is currently unknown, significant contributing factors are thought to include habitat loss, pesticides, disease, exotic species, and climate change. In this talk, I will show how research on pollinator cognition and behavior can be used to better understand and predict the impacts of these stressors on wild populations and can be used as a conservation tool. I will also show how I have combined my behavioral research and community outreach efforts to implement an successful restoration program for imperiled bumblebee species in Massachusetts, highlighting the eco-technology that we have developed to facilitate the collection and visualization of species-level ecological data on bumblebee-plant relationships by citizen scientists.
Bio: Robert J. Gegear is a Professor in the Department of Biology at UMass Dartmouth. He received his PhD from Western University in Canada and was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto (Canada) and in the Department of Neurobiology at UMASS Medical School. His research integrates concepts and methodologies from evolutionary ecology, psychology, neurobiology, molecular biology, and computer science to gain insight into plant-pollinator systems. In 2018, he was given the Regional Impact Award by the Native Plant Trust (formerly New England Wildflower Society) for his Beecology Citizen Science Project, which aims to accelerate biodiversity conservation efforts in New England.