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UW researchers recruit local gardeners to help bees
Scientists in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington are launching a project today which will allow them to monitor local bee populations, and they need your help.
Members of the Urban Pollinator Project will meet with P-Patch leaders this evening to announce plans to hand out specially selected tomato plants to P-Patch gardeners.
Those gardeners will then act as citizen scientists, monitoring the plants, performing experiments and collecting data.
The data compiled from the P-Patches will help the researchers track the number and diversity of native bee populations around the Seattle area.
It will also help the scientists determine the effects of environmental influences on the bees in hopes of improving crop production in urban gardens.
Why this is so important
Recently, honeybees have received considerable attention because of a phenomenon known as "colony collapse disorder," which has decimated their numbers.
But the honeybees are not the only pollinators in danger. Native bees, like bumble bees, are also in crisis, with populations plummeting.
UW researchers are working to determine what is behind the sudden decline in diversity and abundance.
The survival of such pollinators is critical for human survival as well. Roughly one-third of what we eat depends on bees for pollination.