Bees of the Northeast

Incoming graduate student, Spencer Hardy, has spent his summer teaching an online course titled “Bees of the Northeast” with North Branch Nature Center.

“With over 300 species in Vermont, bees are so much more than the source of honey. This course will introduce you to a mindblowing diversity of shapes, sizes, and life histories found in almost any habitat. While most species can only be identified by using a microscope, we will focus on the species and groups that are relatively distinctive to the naked eye. By the end of the course, participants should be able to identify most bees to the genus level, which is certainly not a common skill! Guided field challenges will be based on the flowers and bees currently active. With so little known about the distribution of some of these species, it’s definitely possible to find new state records right in your own backyard!”

You can learn more about his course here!

Numerous Bee Species Found in VT

Spencer Hardy has been featured on Vermont Public Radio again this summer, this time for his work documenting bee species with the Vermont Wild Bee Survey in Chittenden County.  Ten new species have already been documented, with three quarters of specimens still to be identified! Read more about the project here.



Lost Vermont Lady Beetle Found

Incoming graduate student,  Spencer Hardy, was interviewed by Vermont Public Radio about his work with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and his recent re-discovery of a lost lady beetle! Listen to Spencer talk about his find here . To read about the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas project, click here.

F1000 Prime Recommendation: Multiple hysteretic patterns from elementary population models

Our paper in Theoretical Ecology was recently selected to be on F1000 Prime!

Critical transitions involve sharp changes in ecosystem states following small changes in driver variables.  This could be for example, the sudden loss of a fishery as harvest rates of fish slowly increase.  When these sharp changes cannot be reversed simply by going back to previous harvest rates, the system experiences hysteresis.

Most work in this area considers the effects of a single driver variable, although many systems are acknowledged to have multiple potentially interacting driver variables (in the example above, harvest rates and say, pollution).  In this paper, we explore what happens when multiple driver variables are correlated. 

In short, a diversity of hysteretic patterns are possible. Some indicate that system states could be lost, trapped in hidden stable states like:

As we move forward we lose the desired ecosystem state, but moving backwards does not allow us to recover no matter how far we retreat.

Check out the review of the work, which describes complicated versions of hysteresis in simple population models.