Bombus flavifrons, photo by Brian Klinkenberg
Citizen science is an important and growing area where we can help scientists collect information and documentation on wild species. At E-Fauna and E-Flora BC, citizen scientists can contribute photo documentation of species occurrences in British Columbia, particularly for species where the identification can be verfied from photos. This includes birds, mammals, fish, reptiles and amphibians , along with plants and fungi. But it also includes less charismatic species such as insects, or marine invertebrates, and more.
One group we would like to focus on in 2014 on E-Fauna BC is bumble bees. This is a group that is relatively easy to photograph, and we have expert help in identifying species from photographs.
Bumble bees have been in trouble for several years now, and many species have declined throughout their range. In BC, we have seen these declines, and we have also seen new species appear. Some of this has been documented by E-Fauna photographers, including documentation of the presence of the introduced Common Eastern Bumble Bee (Bombus impatiens) in BC, documentation of the continued presence of the Western Bumble Bee (Bombus occidentalis) in BC (a species that has shown dramatic declines), and documentation of the growing numbers of the Yellow-faced Bumble Bee (Bombus vosnesenskii) as it expands its range in the province.
But there is much more documentation yet to be collected for bumble bees. So far, we have photo coverage for only 20 of our 33 BC species, and we would like to include coverage for the remaining species. Are they still out there? You can help with this. When you are out and about this summer, whether in your garden or in a natural habitat (woods, fields, wetlands), focus on photographing bumble bees and help us provide coverage for these additional species. When you submit your photos, include location coordinates (taken from Google maps) and we will map your record on our species distribution maps.
Anyone can become a citizien scientists for this project. All you need is a camera. Bumble bees are easy to recognize as 'bumble bees', and we can help with species identification. Once you have taken photos, then all you need to do to participate is become an E-Fauna photographer and send us your photos. If you aren't already registered as an E-Fauna photographer, you can register here. We will provide you with a password so you can upload your photos to our database.
Best get ready now....the first bumble bees will appear in a few weeks in southern BC as the weather warms up. Watch for them!
Read about the Student Science North America-wide bumble bee project here.
Read about Bumble Bee Watch here.
Thanks to bumble bee expert Robbin Thorp for supporting bumble bees on E-Fauna BC.