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    Brosi Lab

Goodbye to Manogya

November 2021

We’re very sorry to see Manogya leave us this week, but we wish her well on her last semester at Northeastern University. Manogya started her co-op with us in late May and was a crucial member of the RMBL field season, as well as an amazing research assistant in the lab. We will miss her infectious positive energy and her incredible work ethic. After she returns to Northeastern, she will continue working on her independent project on the effect of temperature on niche breadth using pollen metabarcoding. We are looking forward to her conference presentation in the spring. Thanks for being a wonderful lab mate, and we all can’t wait to see where you go next!

Visiting professor Mark Novak joins lab meeting

November 2021

We were very excited to have Mark Novak join our lab meeting this week. Mark is a professor at Oregon State University studying how species interactions impact the structure of ecological communities, using mathematical models and field studies, and he is on sabbatical at UW this quarter. In lab meeting, we discussed Mark’s paper “Characterizing Species Interactions to Understand Press Perturbations: What Is the Community Matrix?” and had a fun discussion about the integration of theory and empirical data. We also discussed the variables that influence pollination events and how those can be defined as functions in a mathematical equation. It was great to have Mark join us and lead this very interesting meeting!

Insect trait measuring begins this week

October 2021

Our lab started measuring traits for our 2021 bee specimens! We measure the body length, intertegular distance (distance between where the wings attach to the body), and proboscis length. Daniel Lahn will be using these data for their independent project this year, and Kaysee will be incorporating these data into her dissertation. This is our first time measuring insect traits (except during a few summers at RMBL), and we’re very excited to see how these traits vary across interaction patterns and environmental gradients.

New undergraduate students join the lab this fall quarter

October 2021

We’re very excited to have new undergraduate students Addison Keely and Greta Gunning join the Brosi Lab this quarter! Addison is a senior studying molecular biology and political science, with a minor in environmental science, and Greta is a junior studying environmental health. They will help us with our spatial gradients and Qnest projects by identifying, sorting and measuring traits for our RMBL insects, as well as learning about DNA metabarcoding of pollen this quarter. Welcome Addison and Greta!

New paper from Connor and Loy!

October 2021

Congrats to Connor and Loy for publishing their paper Plant-pollinator interaction niche broadens in response to severe drought perturbations in Oecologia! They worked on this paper with fellow RMBLers Kelly Endres (a Brosi Lab alum), Amy Iler, Paul CaraDonna, Heather Briggs, Devon Picklum, and billy barr. Their paper uses a long-term dataset of floral visitation to Ipomopsis aggregata to test whether the breadth of its floral visitation niche changed in response to naturally occurring drought perturbations. They found that niche breadth significantly increased in drought years as compared to non-drought conditions, but there were no statistically distinguishable changes in community composition of flower visitors. Read the full paper here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00442-021-05036-0.

Manogya develops independent project for co-op

September 2021

Since returning from RMBL, Manogya has been working on her independent project for her co-op this fall. She will use pollen metabarcoding to investigate how pollinator niche breadth changes with short-term fluctuations in temperature. Manogya will analyze samples from our repeated sampling protocol, in which we sampled a site for pollinators at different times in the same day. This repeated sampling protocol allows us to understand how abiotic factors at different times of the day impact foraging, while holding plant community and pollinator community constant. Manogya will assess niche breadth by measuring the number of pollen species on a specimen during a given foraging period via DNA metabarcoding. She plans to present her findings at Northeastern University’s undergraduate research symposium in April.

The lab starts pollen DNA metabarcoding work

September 2021

We’re getting the molecular side of our work going again with DNA metabarcoding of pollen. DNA metabarcoding is the process of identifying species in a multi-species sample by using genetic markers. We’re doing this with pollen that was removed from pollinators that we caught in the field. This process gives us a more accurate and complete idea of which species of pollen are being transferred and when and where these plant-pollinator interactions occur. Kaysee and Manogya have started making pollen slides to see if our samples have enough pollen. Next, we will test our equipment and supplies and start processing our pollen from the past three field seasons.

Despite smoke and COVID, participation remains high in MeadoWatch program

August 2021

Even as the COVID delta variant surges and wildfires continue to bring smoke to Seattle, our MeadoWatch volunteers are still getting out to Mt. Rainier and collecting wildflower phenology data. We have about 90 volunteers this season, with a mix of new and returning participants, and over 100 hikes recorded so far. The volunteer coordinators, Annie Schiffer and Ava Kloss-Schmidt, have loved interacting with groups of volunteers on the trails every time that they’ve gone to collect data. We are so impressed by the volunteers’ commitment to the program, and we’ve really enjoyed getting to know the program through our volunteers. There’s still another month or so left of the MeadoWatch season, so if you haven’t gotten the chance to get out on the trails, make sure to go before the flowers are gone!

RMBL season ends while MeadoWatch season peaks

August 2021

The Brosi Lab wrapped up the RMBL field season last week, with Kaysee and REU students Ashby and Sabra sampling one last time at our high elevation sites. We had a great season and couldn’t have asked for a better team. Thank you to the staff at RMBL and our funding sources for making this season possible! We look forward to coming back next year.

Now, we’re back in Seattle and ready to do some local fieldwork! Last fall, the Brosi Lab started collaborating with the Hille Ris Lambers lab at ETH Zurich (previously at UW) to continue the MeadoWatch program. MeadoWatch is a community science program at Mt. Rainier National Park that aims to understand how climate change affects timing of flowering and seed production in alpine meadows. Volunteers hike on two trails in the Park and survey the phenology of wildflowers in plots along the trail. These meadows melt out later than those at RMBL, and they’re currently in full bloom! Lab manager Annie Schiffer and volunteer coordinator Ava Kloss-Schmidt are out on the trails each week to collect phenology data and maintain the trails. If you want to be involved in MeadoWatch, visit www.meadowatch.org and sign up for our listserv!

Highlights from the RMBL 2021 season

August 2021

The Brosi Lab’s time at RMBL is quickly coming to a close, but our team has been AMAZING this year! We had a very successful season– we collected a ton of data, reconnected with the RMBL community after a long year and a half of COVID, and enjoyed many lab events and dinners. Here are a few more highlights from this season:

  • Therese was back at RMBL for the first time in 10 years! There were just a few more tourists this time around
  • We collected about 1500 insects (and counting!)
  • The lab had Berry’s chile verde and a fire at the Gates cabin
  • Ashby Baker and Sabra Dewey, our REU students this summer, did an awesome job presenting their projects! Ashby presented on her comparison of pollen composition found on pollinators to floral community composition, and Sabra presented on the effects of drought on diversity in plant communities.
  • The lab decided that dogs are smarter than babies (more specifically, an average dog vs. a baby under the age of 2)
  • We didn’t flood the lab this year
  • Kaysee did a great job presenting at the RMBL grad student seminar for the first time!
  • Everyone stayed healthy and there were no COVID cases at RMBL

The only lowlight of this summer was that Manogya, Kyra, and Ashby didn’t see a moose in Gothic valley, but hopefully they get to return to Gothic in the near future. It’s been a fun and productive summer, and we can’t wait to come back next year!

Early season at RMBL is in full swing

June 2021

Our RMBL team is gradually increasing in size, and sampling has started to ramp up! Last week, Annie, Manogya Chandar, and Berry arrived at RMBL and joined the field team. Manogya is an undergraduate student at Northeastern who is doing her co-op with us this summer and fall. After a relatively cold spring, the temperatures are now consistently in the high 60s, which means there are lots of plants to survey and pollinators to collect!

This year, we have two main projects: Kaysee’s spatial gradients project and our Qnest (quantitative nestedness) project. Between those two projects, we have 16 sites to sample every week. When we go to a site, we count flowers, collect data on sampling conditions, and destructively sample the insects that pollinate the flowers in the transects. So far, all of the sites are set up and sampled at least once, but we hope to sample each site at least 7 times over the course of the season.

The Brosi Lab made it to RMBL!

May 2021

After an exciting, snowy travel day, Kaysee and Therese arrived at RMBL to kick off the field season! RMBL has experienced very low precipitation this year, and some of the Gothic townsite and Crested Butte is already melted out. With the road to RMBL open, Kaysee and Therese didn’t have to snowshoe in, and they’ll be able to start setting up lower elevation study sites. This week they plan to set up our Brush Creek sites, lower Ohio Pass site, and potentially sites closer to the lab like Gothic Town and Stupid Falls. Within the next few weeks, more study areas will melt out, and the first early wildflower species will pop up in these lower sites.

Laura’s fieldwork is underway!

April 2021

This spring Laura Avila, a postdoc in our lab and Nicole Gerardo’s lab, is doing fieldwork to study the impact of agricultural antibiotics on honey bee and wild bee microbiome composition. Her research will also explore the presence of pathogenic bacteria and abundance of antibiotic resistant genes in these bee populations. Laura is conducting her fieldwork in apple orchards around Georgia and other areas in the Southeast. Her work is possible thanks to multiple collaborators at the University of Georgia and funding from the Eva Crane Trust, the Southern Integrated Pest Management Center, the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, and the Eastern Apicultural Society. Stay tuned for more about Laura’s bee microbiome work!

Kaysee presents at Entomological Society of America, Pacific Branch meeting

April 2021

Kaysee Arrowsmith presented her work at the EntoSA Pacific Branch meeting on spatial gradients and network rewiring! She presented data from the 2020 field season and showed that rewiring is predicted by pollinator community composition and abiotic variables, such as temperature and soil moisture, but not plant community composition or geography. Her preliminary findings suggest that geographic variation in interaction patterns is primarily driven by environmental variation between sites and altered competitive dynamics between pollinators for floral resources. Kaysee will collect more data on her spatial gradients project in the 2021 RMBL season. Great work, Kaysee!

RMBL team prepares for 2021 season

March 2021

Only 6 weeks until the Brosi Lab is back out at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory! We had our first big team meeting this week, and we’re excited for the new folks who are joining us this year. UW undergraduate student Kyra Woytek and Northeastern undergraduate student Manogya Chandar are joining the team, in addition to entering PhD students Chris Anderson and Madeleine Strait. RMBL veterans Kaysee Arrowsmith, Therese Lamperty, and Annie Schiffer will be leading the team this season, along with Berry, who will be joining later in the summer.

Since the snowpack in Colorado was quite low this year, we anticipate that the snow will melt out earlier than normal. Kaysee and Therese will head out first in early May to set up sites and catch the few early pollinators, until the rest of the team arrives in early and mid-June. We’re looking forward to the 2021 RMBL season!