Conserving Wild Bees and Other Pollinators of Costa Rica
Costa Rica is home to over 400 species of native wild bees and about 50 species of hummingbirds. But habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change threaten the health and survival of pollinators around the world. How can we better protect these important species?
More than three-quarters of the world’s crops depend on pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. These animals provide essential ecosystem services and play a crucial role in the production of many fruits and vegetables. But a changing climate, pesticide use, and habitat loss or degradation threaten pollinator communities, although the full impact of these threats is not well understood. For example, warming temperatures could force pollinator species to shift their ranges to higher elevations, which could impact agricultural production, or it could be that a changing climate will cause these species to disappear altogether.
One way to mitigate the effects of climate change is by planting “agroforests”—or forests that grow in pastures around or among crops—that could benefit pollinator communities. As part of this expedition, you will work with local communities to plant trees to create agroforests, which could not only help pollinator communities, but could provide livelihoods for low-income families in the region.
In the rugged tropical forests of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, you will join the research team to investigate how threats to bees and butterflies will affect the critical pollination services they provide.
Conserving Wild Bees and Other Pollinators of Costa Rica Video
A Typical Itinerary
- Day 1: Arrival, introductions, travel to field station
- Days 2-4: Collecting, surveying, and observing pollinators
- Days 5-6: Planting shrubs and trees in agroforests
- Day 7: Team departs (volunteers on second week arrive, itinerary repeats)
You have the option to join the expedition for two weeks.
HOW YOU WILL HELP
Observe plants and collect bees
Observe flowering plant species for floral visitors and collect them using aerial nets and jars. Identify the flowering plant to genus or species using photos and iNaturalist. Collected flower visitors will be exported to EKU lab for identification.
Plant restoration experiment shrubs
Help maintain a plant nursery. Plant shrubs in small plots in pastures to set up experimental plots to test a restoration strategy of ‘biodiversity islands’ for tropical forest restoration.
Collect pollen from bees visiting squash
Observe and count pollinator visits to planted squash located in 30 home gardens spanning 200m-1500m elevation. Carefully store pollen and bees in vials.
Field conditions and research needs can lead to changes in the itinerary and activities. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.
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