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Amelia Litz

PhD Student

Advisor: Amy Iler, PhD.

Research Interests: Bees, Plant-Pollinator Interactions, Phenology, Climate Change

Research Topic: How does climate change affect the phenology of solitary ground-nesting bees?

Bees, and their essential role in pollinating the world’s flowers, have become a popular topic buzzing through the media. We hear a lot about one bee species, the European Honeybee, which is not native to North America and is a heavily managed species, similar to chickens or cows. However, for the most diverse group of bees in the world, we know very little! Solitary ground-nesting bees comprise 64-84% of the 20,000 bee species on the planet, yet most of what we know about bees is derived from studies of cavity-nesting bees, bumblebees and the managed European Honeybee.
 
As a field biologist, my research focuses on understanding the natural history of ground-nesting bees to better predict their response to global climate change. My initial interest in bees coincided with a semester of soils courses during my undergraduate studies. I naturally gravitated towards ground-nesting bees, only to find basic life-history information absent in the literature. This is concerning because global climate change is disrupting ecosystems across the globe and, our lack of natural history knowledge makes it difficult to predict how solitary ground-nesting bees might respond. My research aims to characterize the abiotic factors governing the phenology, or the timing of life-history events, of ground-nesting bees. Specifically, I investigate how precipitation and temperature interact with the soil nesting medium to cue life-history events, such as emergence.

 

Awards:

  • 2019 Colorado Mountain Club Foundation Fellowship
  • 2020 American Alpine Club Research Grant
  • 2020 Alumnae of Northwestern University Research Grant
  • 2020 Colorado Mountain Club Foundation Fellowship
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