Four notable researchers join HAVEN’s advisory board. All interested in the potential discoveries to be made through studying wild bees they are lending their talents to the project, and helping direct its mission.
Professor/Chairman Department of Neurobiology and Behavior
Cornell University Ithaca, NY
Thomas D. Seeley is Professor and Chairman in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University. He is a world authority on animal behavior, especially the social behavior of honey bees. At home more in the field than the laboratory, his scientific work features observational and experimental investigations of the inner workings of honey bee colonies living under natural conditions. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is the recipient of numerous honors for his scientific work including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Alexander von Humboldt Distinguished U.S. Scientist Award, and a Gold Medal from Apimondia for his book The Wisdom of the Hive.
Metropolitan Biodiversity Program
American Museum of Natural History
Elizabeth Johnson is the CBC Manager of the Metropolitan Biodiversity Program. Liz joined the Museum staff in 1997 and is responsible for applying the scientific expertise of the Museum to conservation issues region-wide. She is particularly interested in raising awareness about biodiversity in urban and suburban areas and has also focused attention on invertebrate conservation. Liz worked with colleagues from the Museum’s Division of Invertebrate Zoology and the Central Park Conservancy to conduct a survey of the leaf-litter invertebrates in the Park’s woodlands, which led to the discovery of a centipede species new to science. More recently, she and colleagues from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Greenbelt Native Plant Center have been studying New York City’s native bee fauna, with the help of citizen science volunteers. She also coordinated a multi-year New York State Biodiversity Assessment Project working with key conservation partners and has worked to strengthen the use of biodiversity information in land use planning.
When it comes to bees, Liz’s focus is on our wide variety of solitary native bee species. We met in October to discuss the Great Pollinator Project (which is a collaboration between Parks and the CBC/Museum). She is helping explore ideas for a native bee component to the HAVEN project.
Dr. Deborah A. Delaney
Entomology & Wildlife Ecology
University of Delaware
Dr. Deborah Delaney, a post-doctoral researcher in the N.C. State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is collecting feral bees across North Carolina. Delaney plans to study the DNA of the bees she has collected. When she was working on her Ph.D. in 2004 and 2005, Delaney analyzed the DNA of feral honeybees collected throughout the Southeast between 1980 and 1992.”We found that the feral population and the commercial population are actually very distinct genetically,” Delaney says of that earlier study.
She hopes to learn from the study in which she is now engaged whether that is still the case. And if that’s the case, is there something about feral bees that makes them better able to withstand the various assaults to which bees have been subjected?
“Whatever is surviving out there and has survived since the Varroa mite came, survived for some reason,” says Delaney. “We’re interested in looking at that stock to find out why it survived and maybe using that stock for breeding.”
Dr. David Tarpy
Associate Professor and Extension Apiculturist
Department of Entomology, NC State University, Raleigh, NC
Our lab studies the behavioral ecology of insect societies, with a primary focus on the proximate and ultimate mechanisms of honey bee queen behavior. In doing so, we attempt to address questions of basic science that have practical relevance. Our approach is to integrate a general understanding of bee biology to help improve overall colony health and productivity; in an era when the honey bee population is being severely impacted by any number of factors, we feel that it is necessary to become more proactive in asking questions that address not just basic (long-term) or applied (short-term) questions, but both.