Senior biology major, Kellen Paine, has been working on organizing and cataloguing the museum’s invertebrate collection this year. The museum has an extensive collection of bees, but a lack of identification on many of its specimens (the bees are in fact in a bit of a jumble). The bees were previously identified by Dr. Chandler, but there are many left to be identified. To remedy the situation, Kellen and the museum’s director Heather Lerner, visited biology professor and bee expert, Rob Jean, last week to get some help with identification.
Rob teaches biology at St. Mary of the Woods College and is especially knowledgable about Indiana bees. He had some interesting news for the museum- one of the bees in the collection is only the third recorded specimen of its kind in Indiana (Lithurgus gibbous for those following along in the bee guidebook) and is of a species most likely extinct in Indiana. A quick google search on “bee extinction” yielded this interesting graphic on the honeybee decline. The situation for pollinators world wide is being strongly impacted by climate change and other ecological changes. If you are interested in helping save the pollinators (bees!) you can check out some tips from the US Fish and Wildlife service here.
The visit with Rob was highly informative for the museum, and a great experience for Kellen to learn more about bee identification. Rob kept some of the bee specimens for further study and he’ll be visiting us here at the museum to return them soon. Information from the Joseph Moore Museum collection will also be used in a new guide to the bumble bees of North America being compiled by Earlham College grad Leif Richardson ’94 from the Dartmouth College Life Sciences Center.