UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab - The Buzz, Volume 12, September 2016
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NEWS: Formal Recommendation to add Bombus affinis to U.S. Endangered Species List

Bombus affinis may not be a California native, but we're shining the spotlight on this bumble bee species for a special reason. 

Bombus affinis, the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee, might officially gain federal endangered species status. This news comes around the same time that seven species of bees from Hawaii were just added to the endangered species list. On September 22, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made a formal recommendation that Bombus affinis be covered under the Endangered Species Act. If approved, this will be the first bee species to be listed as endangered in the continental United States and it will gain federal protections that can aid its conservation.

Formerly common in the Northeastern United States, this species went to rapid and severe decline after 1996. A combination of disease, habitat loss, climate change, and pesticides have contributed to its decline. Recent records are mostly from the U.S. Midwest and southern Ontario, with very few individuals seen each year. Creating habitat gardens is just one way individuals can help out as these spaces can serve as important refuge for bees and other insects. 

A final ruling will be made within the next year. The FWS is taking public comments on the issue until November 12th. You can offer your thoughts in support of the proposed listing by following directions the directions here


Above: Images of Bombus afghans from the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Dan Mullen (Creative Commons License). 

NAPPC Conference Recap 
Chris and Chiara, two of our Lab's undergraduate students, participated in the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) International Conference in Washington, D.C. on October 18-20. NAPPC is a growing, collaborative body of 160+ partners to promote pollinator health using numerous strategies and tools. A project of the Pollinator Partnership, the conference brings together experts and practitioners working with pollinators to share their work, connect across sectors, and join task forces on specific topics. Chris remarks, "I was impressed and inspired by the diversity of groups represented at NAPPC; we saw representatives from government agencies, universities, private companies, nonprofits, and more come together unified by the shared goal of pollinator protection." We encourage you to check out the Pollinator Partnership's work on their website- they are an excellent organization focusing on pollinator research, advocacy, and policy. 
Upcoming Events:
We have no public events coming up for November and December. 

Interested in bringing us to an event? Fill out a presentation request form here
One of our undergraduate volunteers, Ingrid, at the Sonoma Nature and Optics Festival in September.
To our Northern California friends: We hope you're staying dry in these wonderful rains we're having. We expect them to produce an abundance of blooms next year - good news for the bees! 
New Publication in Conservation Biology:

"The city as a refuge for insect pollinators."

From the article's abstract: "Urban ecology research is changing how we view the biological value and ecological importance of cities. Lagging behind this revised image of the city are natural resource management agencies' urban conservation programs that historically have invested in education and outreach rather than programs designed to achieve high-priority species conservation results. This essay synthesizes research on urban bee species diversity and abundance to suggest how urban conservation can be repositioned to better align with a newly unfolding image of urban landscapes. We argue that pollinators put high-priority and high-impact urban conservation within reach. In a rapidly urbanizing world, transforming how environmental managers view the city can improve citizen engagement while exploring more sustainable practices of urbanization. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved."

Citation: Hall, Damon M., et al. "The city as a refuge for insect pollinators." Conservation Biology (2016).
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UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab · Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley · 130 Mulford Hall #3114 · Berkeley, Ca 94720 · USA

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