BOMBUSS 2.0: Building Our Methods By Using Sound Science
Next Steps in North American Bumble Bee Monitoring and Conservation
As domestication of bumble bees has expanded worldwide, so has research on this group of bees as model organisms for study, as crop pollinators, and as conservation targets. The growth of this field of study has been rapid, prompting the conception of BOMBUSS—a meeting to bring researchers together to discuss methodologies and the need and potential for their standardization. In 2017, the inaugural BOMBUSS meeting was planned by Jamie Strange (USDA-ARS), Amber Tripodi (formerly USDA-ARS), Ashley Rohde (formerlyUSDA-ARS), Neal Williams (UC—Davis), and Hollis Woodard (UC—Riverside). The three-day event was hosted at the USDA-ARS-Pollinating Insects Biology, Management and Systematics Research Unit in Logan, Utah.
With nearly 100 participants in attendance from across North America and the UK, the meeting successfully met its primary goals of, 1) identifying common methodologies in bumble bee research and outlining best practices among them; 2) identifying existing knowledge gaps in the literature regarding methodology and formulating plans to address these gaps through peer-reviewed literature; and 3) sharing knowledge and building networks to facilitate and support advancing the science surrounding bumble bee biology.
In 2019, BOMBUSS 2.0 will assemble researchers and conservation practitioners to address next steps in North American bumble bee monitoring and conservation. After kicking off the meeting with a session to update the IUCN Red List and outline priority species for research and conservation initiatives, the three-day task force model meeting will include interactive sessions devoted to, 1) standardizing the methods behind monitoring bumble bees and tracking their movement; 2) captive rearing and recovery management best practices; and 3) protocols behind investigating pathogens and parasites. Novel methods in conservation physiology will be introduced, complementing in-depth explorations of the methods behind understanding bumble bee population biology and how they are influenced by, and interact with, landscapes. The meeting will wrap-up with discussions surrounding, 1) establishing next steps for bumble bee conservation, outlining action items for priority species, and emphasising urgent knowledge gaps in bumble bee research and conservation; and 2) exploring the values and challenges of long-term datasets in developing conservation strategies.