The lab starts pollen DNA metabarcoding workSeptember 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 programAugust 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 peaksAugust 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 seasonAugust 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 swingJune 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 meetingApril 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 seasonMarch 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!
Therese’s paper accepted in BiotropicaMarch 2021
This week Therese Lamperty’s paper titled “Ecological drivers of intraspecific variation in seed dispersal services of a common neotropical palm” was accepted in the journal Biotropica! Her paper investigates the factors that may influence frugivore diversity and fruit removal at the level of individual plants. Her results suggest that seed dispersal services can be sensitive to fine-scale variation in habitat structure. Therese completed this work while she was a PhD student at Rice University and collected these data in the Chocó forest in Ecuador. Congrats Therese, and we look forward to reading it once it’s published!
Congrats and welcome Chris and Madeleine!March 2021
Congratulations to Chris Anderson and Madeleine Strait for their acceptance to UW’s Biology PhD program, and welcome to the Brosi Lab! Chris and Madeleine received their offers two weeks ago, and made their decision official this week.
Chris has an evolutionary biology and computational background, and has a passion for fungal networks. During his time in the Brosi Lab, he hopes to study how ecological networks are constructed and how we can quantitatively measure these networks. Madeleine has a background in biology and neuroscience, and is very interested in species interactions, particularly those involving plants, in human-altered environments. She hopes to integrate fieldwork and wet lab techniques to understand how mutualisms change with anthropogenic disturbance.
We’re so excited for Chris and Madeleine to join us!
Brosi Lab members attend the Washington Botanical SymposiumMarch 2021
The Washington Botanical Symposium, hosted by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and the Burke Museum, was held on Thursday, March 4th and featured presentations from botanists across the state. Annie Schiffer and undergraduate students Kyra Woytek and Christy Garrett attended the day of virtual talks and learned about the region’s plant communities. The symposium covered topics such as plant restoration strategies, climate change impacts on plant communities, and rare plants of the Pacific Northwest. Thanks to the organizers for such a great event!
Kaysee passes her qualifying exam with flying colorsFebruary 2021
Kaysee Arrowsmith officially became a PhD candidate on Monday, when she passed her qualifying exam! For this exam, Kaysee presented her proposal on network rewiring and answered questions about the proposal and other ecology topics from her committee (Dr. Elli Theobald, Dr. Lauren Buckley, and Dr. Briana Abrahms). Her presentation covered network rewiring across spatial gradients, which she started at RMBL in 2019, and the effects of network rewiring on seed production in Delphinium barbeyi. Her hard work and many hours of reading paid off, and she passed without any reservations from her committee. Great job, Kaysee!
Loy successfully defends his dissertation!February 2021
On Friday, Loy Xingwen successfully defended his dissertation titled “The effects of anthropogenic change on pollination in plant-pollinator communities” at Emory! He presented on the importance of pollination function, the impacts of bioenergy pine plantation management practices on bee communities, and species-dependent effects on plant fecundity in a community phenology manipulation experiment. Loy collected data at RMBL for the past few years, and he led the snowmelt manipulation experiment with Connor Morozumi.
When he graduates, Loy will work at the Atlanta Botanical Garden as the Conservation Ecology Coordinator. He has worked with the Garden for a few years now, and we’re excited that he’ll be close to our Emory and Atlanta friends. We’re so proud of you, Loy! Congrats!
Welcome back, ThereseJanuary 2021
Dr. Therese Lamperty is back with the Brosi Lab as a postdoc! After completing her PhD at Rice University, Therese did a postdoc at the National University of Singapore, in collaboration with the University of Queensland. In the Brosi Lab, she is going to be working on ecological-networks questions, including expanding some of our work to seed dispersal networks, and integrating our network and molecular ecology components. Welcome to UW, Therese!