What is in this article?:
- Research focuses on vital digger bee pollination
- Art of Deception
- A new digger bee research grant is aimed at helping protect this important pollinator by providing land managers with crucial information on its nesting requirements.
Art of Deception
The research led Pulitzer Prize-winning author Natalie Angier to feature their work in "The Art of Deception," published in the August 2009 edition of the National Geographic magazine. Most recently, U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service entomologist Michael Ulyshen, writing for the Journal of Natural History, mentioned their work in "Bugback Riding: Transportation for the Masses" (September 2011).
Saul-Gershentz became interested in the subject while a graduate student at San Francisco State University. She wrote "Beetle Larvae Cooperate to Mimic Bees" in the journal Nature (2000).
Of her newest grant, she says: "Our preliminary data show that the blister beetle exploits four other native California bees including important pollinators in the genus Habropoda and Anthophora." Historically, M. franciscanus was known to be a nest parasite of Anthophora edwardsii distributed throughout California.
Her scientific research has taken her all over the world, including Belize, Borneo, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana, Madagascar, Namibia, Nepal, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Tanzania, Trinidad, Thailand and Trinidad. In addition to meloids (blister beetles), bees and pollination ecology, she has studied katydids.
Saul-Gershenz is a past president of the Pacific Coast Entomological Society; in 1991 she became the first female president in its 91-year history. Her images of insects and plants are showcased iin museums and published in a number of documentaries and books. She served as a scientific advisor for Sir David Attenborough's BBC nature documentary "Life in the Undergrowth" and contributed images for his book (Princeton University Press) by the same name. Her research is highlighted in "The Other Insect Societies" (Harvard University Press) and the "Insect Cuticular Hydrocarbons: Biology, Biochemistry and Chemical Ecology" (Cambridge University Press). Her research is summarized in Laurence Packer's newly published book (2010) "Keeping the Bees: Why All Bees Are at Risk and What We Can Do to Save Them" (Harper Collins/Canada).