Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Final results from CAPS!

Greetings 2009 CAPS participants!

Thank you again for your participation in last summer’s Chicago Area Pollinator Study. We appreciate all of the work that you did collecting bees to study bee diversity and abundance in the Chicago area. While some bee research has continued this summer in community gardens, Lincoln Park Zoo has decided not to continue the citizen scientist aspect of CAPS. This decision is not a reflection on the success of last year’s project; rather, Lincoln Park Zoo and the Urban Wildlife Institute have to put their energy and resources into other projects.

Indeed, the 2009 CAPS project was a success! Our bee expert was able to identify nearly all of the specimens you collected. We are highlighting the major findings here, and you can click on the links if you want to read more.

Bee species caught by CAPS citizen scientists: 50!
Several of these species are uncommon or even rare in this part of the country, and a few may even be the first recorded in Illinois!

We found that, in general, collection sites had more bees if they had:
less impervious surface (i.e. paving, rooftops)
fewer trees
higher human population density

Want to read about why this may be? Click here for further discussion.

Top bee species collected by CAPS participants:

Agapostemon virescens (this one’s a real beauty!)

All four of these species are referred to commonly as “sweat bees.” Click on the links to see what these bees look like!

Based on your responses to the surveys before and after CAPS, we learned that:

some of you are less afraid of bees than you were before CAPS
you can name a few more types of bees than before
many of you learned that most bees are solitary and don’t live in colonies like honey bees do

You can read more about these and other related findings here.

Your feedback about the program contained dozens of useful suggestions. Thank you for all the time and thought you put into offering us suggestions for improvement! We have passed these suggestions along to the Lincoln Park Zoo so that they can incorporate them into future citizen science projects.

Thanks to your efforts and your feedback, we collected hundreds of bees and learned a tremendous amount about what it takes to make a citizen science project happen. We are immensely grateful for your contributions to the project. Please feel free to contact us if you have any bee questions or if you want to read the full report that we submitted to Lincoln Park Zoo.

Thank you again!
The CAPS team
Caroline Gottschalk-Druschke, Jennifer Howell-Stephens, Emi Kuroiwa, Carrie Seltzer, and Cliff Shierk

P.S. If you are interested in getting involved in other citizen science projects related to bees, you may want to look into:

1 comment:

  1. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is also running a citizen science project for imperiled bumble bees. You can find more at