Projects

Restoration Ecology

 Habitat loss is one of the primary factors leading to the decline in species abundance and richness. Some habitats, such as the tallgrass prairie, have declined dramatically in the past century. For example, tallgrass prairie covered 18 million acres in Minnesota in the early 1900s; now only 1% of this habitat remains in the state. To conserve this habitat, multiple governmental and non-profit organizations are collaborating through the Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan to protect, restore and enhance tallgrass prairie.

 These large-scale restoration programs offer a unique opportunity to address basic ecology questions while also addressing important applied issues in conservation biology. Ian Lane, a PhD student, is studying wild bee colonization and community assembly of newly restored habitats in the prairie.

 Current Funding: Minnesota Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Data-driven Pollinator Conservation Strategies. $520,000 Cariveau (PI). 2016-2019.

Pollination Biology

 A growing number of studies have examined the role how newly created habitat might benefit wild pollinators. However, pollinators may also have important positive effects on restorations. In particular, seed production and pollination may be particularly important in the early stages of restoration when there are open sites available for germination. For his Master’s work, Alan Ritchie is investigating pollen limitations in prairie restorations as well the pollination efficiency of different wild bee species.

 Current Funding: Minnesota Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Data-driven Pollinator Conservation Strategies. $520,000 Cariveau (PI). 2016-2019.

Invasive Plant Management

 Invasive plants can have dramatic effects on native plant communities. These plants may, in turn, influence native bee communities that visit these native plant communities. Further, management actions such as spraying and biological control might also influence wild bees. Through funding from The National Park Service and the Great Lakes-Northern Forest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit, Kiley Friedrich is examining how the removal and management of invasive plants influence wild bee communities.

Current Funding: National Park Service: Great Lakes-Northern Forest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit. Evaluating the National Park Service Exotic Plant Management Team Methods to Ensure Best Practices for Pollinators. $89,815 Cariveau (PI). 2016-2019.