Whitney lecture to cover native bees of North America



The Evenings at Whitney Lecture Series will return at 7 p.m. Thursday with the program, “Native Bees of North America: Who Are They, What Do They Do and How Can We Conserve Them?”

Hosted by the University of Florida Whitney Laboratory, the lecture will be at the Lohman Auditorium, 9505 Ocean Shore Blvd.

During the program, Rachel Mallinger, assistant professor in the University of Florida Department of Entomology and Nematology, will talk about the diversity, biology and behavior of native wild bees in North America.

Mallinger will discuss the contributions bees make to plant pollination as well as threats to bee populations.

There are approximately 20,000 species of bees worldwide, Mallinger says, including 4,000 species in North America.

Bees are arguably the most important pollinators for both crop and wild plants. Therefore, a decrease in the overall number of bees and bee diversity can have significant consequences on food supply and native plant communities.

Mallinger will discuss native bee conservation efforts and ways in which bee habitats and communities can be managed on the local level to overcome a decline in population and diversity.

Mallinger is a pollinator ecologist with a particular focus on wild bees. Her research explores patterns of bee diversity, plant-pollinator networks and plant pollination rates.

She joined the University of Florida Department of Entomology and Nematology in November 2017.

Before that, Mallinger was a postdoctoral research associate with the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture in Fargo, North Dakota, where she studied plant-pollinator interactions in sunflower fields.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Kalamazoo College, a master’s degree in entomology and agroecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a doctorate in entomology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Whitney Laboratory is a biomedical marine research institute of the University of Florida. It is composed of nine faculty-led laboratories that use marine organisms for basic biological research that can be applied to human health, understanding of local natural resources, and insight into our dynamic local environment.

For information, call 461-4000 or go to whitney.ufl.edu.