Biology major helping in national pollinator protection effort

  Wednesday, August 5, 2015 2:00 AM

Pittsburg, KS

Biology major helping in national pollinator protection effort

According to the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, bee pollination adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year. That’s why, earlier this year, the Obama administration announced new steps toward promoting the health and well-being of bees and other pollinators.

The goals announced by an interagency, national task force in May included reducing honey bee colony losses, increasing monarch butterfly numbers and restoring millions of acres of land for pollinators.

This summer, a Pittsburg State biology major is taking up that cause as part of an internship with the U.S. Forest Service in Manistee, Mich.

Trevor Burrows, a senior from Riverton, is part of a two-person team that is conducting the first pollination survey in the history of the Manistee National Forest. The main focus of the study is surveying open areas in the forest for flowering plants and pollinators.

"The purpose of these surveys is to help the forest get an idea of the pollinator habitat that it possesses,” he said. “The data gained from the surveys will help the forest determine how to improve the pollinator habitat in the coming years.”

Burrows said studies such as these are important to the effort of promoting and protecting the world’s pollinators and their habitats.

“The loss of the world’s pollinators would have a devastating blow to the global economy and ecological community,” he said. “It’s important to continue the study of these pollinators and their habitats so proper conservation measures can be put in place to help prevent the collapse of the pollinator population.”

But that’s not the only challenge with which he’s been tasked during the internship.

“Another part of my internship objectives is to help lay the groundwork for a 20-plus-year management strategy of the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly,” he said. “The Karner Blue is quickly becoming the number one species in need of conservation on the Manistee National Forest.

“I’ve also been able to go on bat surveys, Piping Plover surveys/banding, electrofishing surveys, and participated in the monitoring of the endangered Pitcher’s Thistle,” he said.

Burrows credits Pittsburg State with providing him and other students with interesting and valuable internship experiences.

“This internship has made me very proud of PSU and in particular our Field Biology program,” he said. “The professors in the department helped to make me feel ahead of the curve during the majority of this internship. Most of the information and ideas I was exposed to during the internship were at least touched on in the classroom.”



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