Building a butterfly garden pollen database and its practical application to the plant-pollinator studies
Pollination is a mutually beneficial process for both plants and pollinators. Plants provide pollen, nectar, and other feeding and nesting resources to pollinators. Most crops are pollinated by multiple pollinators including species of bees, butterflies, beetles, flies, and others. TWU had initiated native plant butterfly gardens to attract and sustain pollinators such as Monarchs and many other butterflies, bees, and native bumblebees whose populations are in decline. The goal of this project is to study the plant-pollinator relationships. The objectives are to build 1) a database of pollen morphologies using microscopy techniques and 2) a network of native plant-pollinator relationships. Scanning electron microscopy of pollen collected from garden plants and pollinators will serve the purpose. This research will offer data for restoration and conservation activities as well as advice to gardeners and farmers on plant resources they need to enhance both the pollinator populations and crop yields.
Creative Arts and Research Symposium