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Backyard Beetles + Pollinators: EREN-NEON Flexible Learning Project

Author(s): Kaitlin Stack Whitney

Rochester Institute of Technology

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Summary:
Students observe insect pollinators and other floral visitors in their backyards, or campus, or nearby natural areas to describe plant-pollinator networks and assess how the assemblages from their sites compare to those in a range of landscapes.

Description

Students observe insect pollinators and other floral visitors in their backyards, or campus, or nearby natural areas to describe plant-pollinator networks and assess how the assemblages from their sites compare to those in a range of landscapes. Ground beetles, some of which are critical and understudied plant pollinators, are of particular interest. Students will learn how and why NEON samples ground beetles, develop an appreciation of the ecosystem services provided by these often overlooked arthropods and have the option to set up their own NEON-style pitfall trap using common household materials.  Students will develop an appreciation of the ecosystem services provided by these often overlooked arthropods and how the assemblages of pollinators from their sites relate to the broader North American landscape. This project can be the subject of a course laboratory activity lasting between 2 and 4 weeks. 

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