Undergrad Research Day at the State Capitol!

We are thrilled that two of our undergraduate researchers, Lucas Lauter and Owen Ireton, were able to present their research at the University of Missouri’s Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol. They presented posters under the capitol rotunda in Jefferson City and met other students and state legislators. Notably, these are the first in person posters presented by our lab since the entomology meeting in 2019!

Owen presented work he’s been working with grad student Rachel Brant on honeybee competition with native bees around St. Louis. Lucas presented on work he’s been doing with grad student Avery Baker on what bees find memorable about flowers and other bees. Great job representing the lab and our campus!

The campus newspaper wrote an article about the event. https://blogs.umsl.edu/news/2022/04/11/um-system-undergraduate-research-day-2022/

Congrats Fall 2021 Graduates!

Our first in person commencement in TWO YEARS was this past Saturday. We were happy to watch a few lab members walk across the stage. Andreia Figueiredo Dexheimer graduated with her PhD. Andreia was also chosen as the Student Marshal for the Graduate School. And we have new bachelor’s degree graduates with Taylor Bayless, who worked on orchid bees with Andreia, and Amina Hamza and Omar Manzoor, who worked this fall on bumble bees. Congratulations to all of you!

Andreia and Taylor
Andreia and Aimee

Congrats to Dr. Andreia Figueiredo Dexheimer!

We are so thrilled to congratulate Andreia on her successful dissertation defense today! Andreia gave a fabulous talk in person and on Zoom. Her dissertation, “Cognitive Ecology of Color Vision in Orchid Bees,” involved a mix of field work in Florida, some conceptual work, and some lab work, both here at UMSL and with the Morehouse Lab at the University of Cincinnati. Andreia also worked with the Saint Louis Zoo for part of her research.

Congratulations Andreia! A tremendous amount of work and thought, as well as skill, was needed to navigate completing a dissertation in the middle of a pandemic. Excellent work!

Catching Royalty

We managed to celebrate the spring a bit by catching a few queen bumble bees for Jeremy’s summer project. I never imagined we’d be allowed in to the Missouri Botanic Gardens with insect nets, so it was wonderful to be granted permission to collect a couple of queens and great fun to be able to do so on a day when the gardens were closed to the public. We then traveled to the Litzinger Road Ecology Center where James Faupel and an intern joined us to wrap up our captures.

Few things are more fun than hearing a buzz, spotting a queen, and running at her with a net. It is like being in a living Far Side cartoon. Beautiful morning and great to be doing science together after a long COVID winter.

Color Preference in Orchid Bees

Andreia and Aimee attended the first all virtual Animal Behavior Society meeting last week. It was really great to have a chance to see all the talks asynchronously, so neither of us missed anything we wanted to watch. The challenging part of the talks for everyone was fitting a presentation into only six minutes!

Andreia summed things up well:

And here is Andreia’s talk if you’d like to hear a little bit about her dissertation work on orchid bees.