Shenandoah National Park, Virginia – Shenandoah National Park is pleased to award the inaugural Shenandoah National Park Trust Research Grant to Dr. Jessica Rykken, Associate with the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, for her project: “Catch the Buzz: pollinator diversity, distribution and phenology in Shenandoah National Park.”
Dr. Ryyken’s work has several objectives that include documenting species, distribution, phenology, and host plant associations of bees and syrphid flies in the park. A benefit of her project will include protocols for extending this work to citizen science-led monitoring of pollinators in the future.
“Pollinators are clearly at risk nationally, and we are concerned about the fate of these key species,” said Jim Northup, Shenandoah National Park Superintendent. “The park has very little information about pollinators and their life history requirements. This project provides us with this vital information and the relative importance of each species. Dr. Ryyken’s project will also allow us to establish long-term monitoring of pollinators while creating a new generation of citizen scientists and future stewards of the park.”
Research is one important tool used by National Park Service managers to successfully face increasingly complex issues and protect incredible park resources. The research grant program, funded by the Shenandoah National Park Trust, is designed to facilitate and encourage scientific research in the park by supporting field research in the physical, biological, ecological, and cultural sciences.
“Shenandoah National Park is a world-class outdoor laboratory, providing tremendous opportunities to learn about the inter-connectedness of the plant and animal life of our region, and what these connections can tell us about resilience to threats like invasive species and climate change,“ said Susan Sherman, President of the Shenandoah National Park Trust.