UW enlisting 'citizen scientists' to study bees

Credit: AP Graphics

Western honey bee collects nectar from a flower, River Ridge, Louisiana.


by KING 5 News


Posted on April 25, 2012 at 9:21 AM

SEATTLE - University of Washington scientists want to find out what's decimating bee populations

They met Tuesday with leaders of local p-patches - those urban gardens located around the Seattle area - to hand out special tomato plants.

Those gardeners will then act as citizen scientists, monitoring the plants, performing experiments and collecting data.

The data compiled from the p-patches will help the researchers track the number and diversity of native bee populations around the Seattle area.
It will also help the scientists determine the effects of environmental influences on the bees in hopes of improving crop production in urban gardens.

Bees play an important role in agriculture, and scientists say about one third of what people eat depends on bees for pollination.

Urban Pollination Project

The "Tomato Protocol" (pdf)