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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Applying Geometric Morphometrics to Identify Bee Species in the Genus Halictus (Hymenoptera: Halictidae) and to Quantify Island-Mainland Variation Within Species

(2020)

Bees (Hymenoptera: Anthophila) have unique wing venation and imaged bee wings can be used to accurately identify bees to species. Wing venation patterns alone may be sufficient to classify variation between populations of the same species using geometric morphometrics. An application of this method is presented to discriminate specimens from four species of Halictus (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). This genus of sweat bee was chosen for its abundance in local existing monitoring projects and relatively low number of possible species when compared to other Halictidae genera. Specimens were collected from Santa Cruz Island Reserve and Santa Barbara, California, a coastal mainland town. Santa Cruz Island is a 35-kilometer long island about 32 kilometers off the coast of Santa Barbara in the Pacific Ocean, which creates a physical barrier between mainland and island populations. To analyze wing venation patterns, both forewing and hindwing were removed, slide mounted, imaged, and annotated with digital landmarks using TPS morphometric software for approximately 300 specimens and 9 landmarks. Results from the principal component analysis to discriminate between Halictus species, and quantify the variation between mainland and island populations, are reported in this poster. Further investment in automated bee identification processes will aid future monitoring projects, which are often hindered by the taxonomic impediment.

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Cover page of Harnessing the power of digitized natural history collections to visualize spatiotemporal patterns in native and non-native bee flight phenology

Harnessing the power of digitized natural history collections to visualize spatiotemporal patterns in native and non-native bee flight phenology

(2020)

What time of year are bees flying, where are they flying, and how do biogeographical factors, sex, and native status affect flight phenology? Consistent monitoring along with creating spatially and temporally explicit visualizations using large openly available data sets enhance our understanding of trends in flight time phenology and shape our understanding of bee-plant interactions, including shifts in the phenology of bee pollinators.

Species occurrence data from digitized collection networks (iNaturalist, Global Biodiversity Information Faculty (GBIF), Integrated Digitized Biocollections (iDigBio), Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network (SCAN), and UC Santa Barbara Collection Network) are part of an effort to improve our understanding of bees in coastal Santa Barbara County, including the California Channel Islands. New inventory collections combined with historical data from over 11 natural history museums and 2 observation networks are used in an effort to examine patterns and changes in phenology of native and non-native bee species, and create updated species inventories.

Synthesizing species observation data from digitized natural history collections makes use of a wealth of existing data and multiplies the analytical power of isolated observations, but it is not without limitations and challenges. By exploring novel techniques to generate clear and accurate visualizations to communicate bee flight time, we present our key initial findings and identify geographic, temporal, and taxonomic gaps, which will lead to further focused inventory projects of coastal Santa Barbara County, improved data quality for phenological analyses, and reusable methods for visualizing insect phenology data across taxa or geography. 

Cover page of An Update on the Invertebrate Zoology Collection at the University of California, Santa Barbara 

An Update on the Invertebrate Zoology Collection at the University of California, Santa Barbara 

(2018)

We are in the second year of a project to revitalize entomology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and have new updates of its impact on the campus to report. The UC Santa Barbara Natural History Collection (UCSB) at the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration formed the UCSB Invertebrate Zoology collection from about 10K historical specimens that were found in a basement on the UCSB campus. The collection has continued to grow rapidly through Coastal California arthropod survey efforts, donated student collections, and faculty research projects. New results from the project include the formation of an outreach program through the UCSB Extension Department and discovery of several extirpated rare or endangered insects that once occurred on the UCSB campus. We will report on how the discovery of extirpated species on campus has received some press and the development of a collection on campus has raised the profile of entomology and insect conservation in the area.

This poster was presented at the 2018 Entomological Collections Network meeting held in Vancouver, Canada on November 10-11. 

  • 1 supplemental PDF
Cover page of From rejection to collection! A new entomology collection at the University of California, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History takes the university by swarm.

From rejection to collection! A new entomology collection at the University of California, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History takes the university by swarm.

(2017)

The Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER) has formed an insect collection from 10,000 historical specimens that were rediscovered in a basement on the UCSB campus and a little funding. Since its discovery, the UCSB collection has grown rapidly through Coastal California arthropod survey efforts, donated student collections, and faculty research projects. These surveys, conducted by the Cheadle Center for conservation and restoration monitoring, are hugely valuable as the coastal regions of Santa Barbara and Ventura County are critically endangered habitats, with over 95% of these areas lost to human disturbance.