1. THIS WEEK PICTURES
2. SORTING YOUR COLLECTION TO MORPHOGROUP
Many of you are ready to take the first steps to figuring out what bees you caught this summer. This process will involve many steps, some of which will be preformed by specialists. The first step, however, does not require a lot of expertise. It involves sorting bees into 'morphogroups', which is a fancy way of describing something you learned from Sesame Street as a kid.
Basically, after you have your location labels on your bees, you are free to take all your bees and you sort them according to bees that look 'the same'. For some of you with more taxonomic awareness, your awareness of 'similarity' and 'difference' will be more advanced. But even if you know very little about bee taxonomy, you can still sort through your bees and group them into bees that 'look' similar. But just like in Sesame Street warns, appearances can be deceptive. After you have your bees in morphogroups, you can then work through your group using a key to get to your first determinations. Here is a short video from Atlas Taxonomist, Lincoln Best, describing this process.
3. SAM DROEGE AND THE BEE SCHOOL
The last episode of OSU's PolliNation podcast involved USGS Bee Biologist Sam Droege answering questions from Bee School participants. Thanks Linda Zahl, Sarah Johnson, Nathan Schulte, Christy VanRooyen for your questions. Have a listen:
4. YOUR QUESTIONS
Q: At your suggestion, we are no longer sending copies of our notebook data sheets. We continue to make entries on iNaturalist. Our understanding is that we will get the printouts at some point. Any idea what the time frame might be on that? Will they be sent directly to our home address or to our team leaders? Is there any advantage for us to use the Google spreadsheet system instead?
A: Great question. We now have figured out an automated way to upload records from iNaturalist. This means, if you are comfortable with iNaturalist, you can simply upload and don't need to send us a copy of your notebook, or enter your data in an Google Spreadsheet. Of course, pictures of notebooks and Google Spreadsheets are good alternatives if you don't feel comfortable using iNaturalist.
If you have more than 100 labels we will mail the labels directly to you. If you have less than 100 labels we will mail it to your team leader.
Q: I enter my data on iNaturalist at the point of collecting and add to the project Oregon Bee Atlas Regional Team. Two questions. First, will you get the data that way, or do I need to do something else like ‘uploading’ for you to have access to it? Second, sometimes it takes me a couple days to go back to iNaturalist on my home computer and edit the entries, e.g. the number of bees collected. Does that mess you up?
A: This is also a great question and it raises a problem we had not anticipated. We are planning to do a run of new labels this week with any data entered in up to August 2nd. If you are using iNaturalist, please make sure the number of bees on your iNaturalist records has been corrected. I realize for things such as pan traps, you may not have the number of bees done until the fall (many of us let our pan trap bees sit in alcohol until the fall, at which time, we blow dry and pin them). Please let us know by Thursday 9 August, if you need a little more time to correct your pre-Aug 2 iNaturalist bee count data. The worst case situation is you will be short a few labels, in which case email us and we will update the number and send out more labels.
Q: I am getting hung up on the sample ID number. If I just take a photo of a Bee on a plant and do not take the bee itself —do I not enter it into iNaturalist?
A: First, people don't need to iNaturalist. Paper and pen is perfectly acceptable.
It might be worth while reviewing some of the videos from one of the early weekly Roundup posts where I explain how to use iNaturalist.
Briefly, a sample of ID is synonymous with a collection event. If your pan trapping, a sample ID translates into a start and end time and a GPS coordinate. When you are netting, however, we encourage people to make the collection event tied to a specific host plant. So, for example, when you are netting on a specific species of willow (on a given date and at a given location), that constitutes a collection event. You may catch 50 bees on that willow, but they are all the same collection event. They are essentially 50 bees caught at the same collection event - and each of those bees will have the same GPS coordinate, date and host plant (but each be will be given its own specific specimen ID which is different from the collection ID).
The reason why we don't need a picture of each bee on the plant is because that's not the point. We want to get the host plant record.
Q: A couple of bees in my collection lost their heads (one of a tiny bee). I put each head in a micro vial for now. What should I do? Can I put them on a point and put it next to the bee or should I discard the specimen? A few other bees may have lost a leg or a wing. Can I still use it?
A: It depends how valuable/common to bee is. Since you likely don't know that yet, putting the head on a point is a good solution.