The end of an era

Well, dear friends and family, I’m finally home sweet home, writing this post with high-speed internet in the comfort of my office. Such a different feeling from when I wrote the last few posts, sweating in my seat, worried that the page would crash before I finished writing! Though there are so many benefits to being home, I already miss my days hiking in the farms, the sweet smell of coffee flowers, eating my lunch under a tall tree,  and listening to the birds sing.

Continue reading

Posted in Agroecology

Rain, rain, go away, come again …when I’m done, please!

Well, we’re onto visual observations, and it’s going so-so, to say the least. 😦

Last week we were able to get some nectar and pollen collection done, as well as a few visual observations, which was really exciting. It’s nice to go back to working with the actual bees, rather than collecting pollen and nectar as we’ve been doing for the past few months. We’re not seeing much diversity at all – all but one sighting was of honey bees on coffee…but the one sighting that wasn’t a honey bee was so exciting! Continue reading

Posted in Agroecology

Nectar, pollen, measure, nectar, pollen, measure…

**This is going to be a picture heavy post – after all a picture is worth a thousand words! Hope you enjoy!**

So many flowers, so much data! I really can’t complain, though, since things have been going so smoothly. 🙂

We’ve been really lucky with our timing these past two weeks. We’ve been able to arrive to farms either the day of or the day before the coffee flowers opened, which means we were able to either measure floral traits, or bag the flowers to then collect nectar and pollen the following day. Continue reading

Posted in Agroecology, New Life Experiences

Things are great, measuring floral traits!

*Recap: This year, we’ll be focusing on two main objectives: 1. Determining the effects of floral diversity on bee visitation rates to coffee, and 2. Identifying the effects of coffee management practices on coffee floral traits.*

🙂 I couldn’t think of an exciting title for this post, so please forgive the lame name!

But in all seriousness, the field season is off to a great, but slow start. Continue reading

Posted in Agroecology

Field guide for identifying bees in PR

Happy new year everyone! Hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday and are feeling refreshed and ready to tackle everything this new year throws your way.

There’s just over a week left before I leave Raleigh and head to Puerto Rico for another field season! I’m excited, and nervous, because this is likely to be my last field season for my degree…so I want to be sure to get as much good data as possible. Continue reading

Posted in Agroecology, Bee pictures, Something for you | Tagged

Wet processing coffee

Well, I just came back from spending two weeks in Puerto Rico, checking up on how the coffee harvest is going. I have some amazing technicians working for me, but there’s nothing like being there in person to make sure things are going smoothly and all the data you think needs to be collected, is collected. After a few minor tweaks, I’m feeling really confident about the rest of the harvest and data collection. Continue reading

Posted in Agroecology, New Life Experiences

Harvest time! … or is it?

It’s been a very long time, since I wrote my last post…but that’s because not much has happened (research-wise) since I left Puerto Rico at the end of March.

Just a short recap, for those of you who don’t have time to read my older posts. This January, I set out to survey bees in coffee plantations, and also compare their pollination services in shade and sun coffee plantations. The pollination service assessment was done by hand-pollinating some branches, and leaving others to be naturally pollinated by the environment (bees, wind, other insects and animals). If the naturally pollinated flowers yield the same quantity/quality of fruits as the hand-pollinated flowers (which have received all the pollen they need), then I can say that the plants are not pollen-limited (lacking pollen). If the naturally pollinated flowers have lower fruit quantity/quality, then they may in fact be pollen-limited. Continue reading

Posted in Agroecology, Something for you