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Bees of the Big Thicket

 

Last updated 10/26/2021 at 12:09pm

Dr. Daniel Bennett

Amethyst Haynes with bees and Xander Haynes with beetles

Bees of the Big Thicket captured the attention of Dr. Daniel Bennett of Stephen F. Austin State University and Dr. John Pascarella of Sam Houston State University.  Beginning in 2017, Bennett coordinated research culminating in the documentation of 130 species of bees.  Bennett and SFA graduate student, Archie Sauls, collected and compared species diversity in various habitats of the Big Thicket National Preserve.  Bees were sorted, pinned, and labeled with the assistance of undergraduates Amethyst Haynes and Melanie Quinchiguango.

Bennett in the Field

In 2019, Phase II of the project added documentation of the flooding effects on insect populations. Sauls explored the hypothesis that ground-nesting bees suffered higher casualties than above-ground nesting bees.  His analysis culminated in a thesis completed May 2021 which is currently being prepared for publication.

Pascarella identified specimens and supervised the pinning and labeling activities by students. Additionally, SFA undergraduate Xander Haynes pinned and labeled trap bycatch which included select beetle families, orthopterans, neuropterans manitds, wasps and ants.

The research was funded by Stephen F. Austin State University and the Big Thicket Association through penalty monies from a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality enforcement action.

 

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