Sorting bees into morphogroups, Sam Droege and your questions.
We apologize for the hiatus on the weekly blogs. We hope to be back on track now that Bee School and Oregon Pollinator Week are now done.
1. THIS MONTH IN PICTURES
2. SPECIMEN LABELS (UPDATE)
People who attended Bee School will have collected labels for their groups this week. The labels are from all information submitted from notebooks or uploaded to iNaturalist up to 6 July 2018.
NOTE: Send any additional notebook pictures to us as soon as possible so we can keep our undergraduate - Addison - busy (she works on the notebooks once per week). If you are loading records up using iNaturalist there is no need to also email records to us - this will happen automatically.
When you receive your labels, trim off the excess paper but be careful not to cut off any of the information. The label should be pushed up the pin just below the specimen and the length of the label should line up with the length of the specimen.
Once you have your location labels on your specimen you can then move the bees around and group them into what is commonly termed 'morophogroups', or groups of bees that look similar (i.e., similar size, color and shape). Once bees are in groups you can start to work on their taxonomy.
Please let us know if you are missing your labels and we will get them out this week. Also check over your labels carefully and let us know if there are any errors.
3. DIRECT ENTRY OF RECORD INFORMATION (GOOGLE DOCS)
Over the past few weeks we have streamlined how we pull records into to build your labels. As mentioned above, either submitting pictures of your notebook or uploading records through iNaturalist are options for getting your information to us to make your labels. During Bee School some of you wanted a third option - a way to actually enter data into spreadsheets for us. For those of you interested in this option, here is a link to where the spreadsheets live (they are Google Docs) and below that a video on how to enter data in.
4. THE FUTURE... of the Atlas.
We had some candid discussion about next steps for the Atlas at the Corvallis Old Spaghetti Factory during Week 1 of Bee School. We identified a few things that have not gone smoothly in our first year of the Atlas:
- What's Next: There was a lot of confusion about what happens after the summer. Will people come out and identify everyone's bees? Will the bees all be accessioned into the Oregon State Arthropod Collection? What about expanding the Atlas to other Counties?
- Communication: People mentioned that early on we seem to have many ways of communicating with one another (e.g., secret Facebook group, email listserve, weekly blogs). These different modes were identified as confusing. Most people agreed that the Weekly Roundup was the best method of communicating, so we will be sticking with this option moving forward.
- Supply Problems: Volunteers expressed frustration around getting supplies into their hands. There is a form for indicating supplies, but there is a disconnection between getting things on the supply list and having it show up in your County.
- Labels: Why has it taken so long to get labels in our hands?
Out of this discussion came the following ideas:
- Atlas Advisory Committee. Everyone agreed it would be a good idea to have a small group of people develop some proposals for how the Atlas will develop over the next four years. These proposals might range from anything from the development of protocols, to educational priorities, to funding strategies.
- Annual Atlas Summit. Sarah Kincaid raised the idea of a two day Atlas Summit in the winter. The Summit would comprise of a keynote speaker, an afternoon business meeting (where the Advisory Committee pitches its proposals for the upcoming year) and a second day to provide taxonomic training (e.g., covering one of the genera in detail to species).
- Streamlining Supplies. ODA recently received a big order of supplies. We will come up with a more efficient system for taking your orders and getting them back to you.
- Determining Specimens. We are looking for advice from the Advisory Committee, but one proposal was to have all the groups spend the fall trying to determine their bees, at least to the level of genus and then have a crew go through these bees and provide a 'mark' on how many bees people got correct. This proposal would not only provide a way to help you learn your bees, but could provide us data on where the taxaonomic difficulties are with our group. More to come...