Wind, landscape fragmentation and orchid bee ecology
I am interested in how both landscape structure and wind patterns affect foraging behavior on an ecological scale. To examine these questions, I study the abundance and diversity of orchid bees (Apidae: Euglossini) in fragmented, agricultural landscapes in the Coto Brus region of Costa Rica. Using high speed 3d wind speed recordings with collections of male orchid bees at scent trap, we've found that both wind and landscape structure are important drivers of spatial and temporal variation in visitation by orchid bees. I have also developed a low-cost, field deployable RFID (radio-frequency) reader based on the Arduino microcontroller, which I've used to track orchid bees in the wild.
A male orchid bee (Eulaema bombiformis) collecting floral scent from an artificial flower
A male orchid bee (Euglossa imperialis) outfitted with an RFID tag
A male orchid bee (Euglossa imperialis) marked with an RFID tag visiting an RFID reader filled with attractive scent
Collection site in Coto Brus, Costa Rica