In the fall of 2014, our lab partnered with SNR’s Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to conduct studies of native bee pollinators. Our lab received bees and flowers from southeastern Nebraska and began to explore pollination through the examination of pollen grains recovered from these specimens. We developed our own extraction methods and applied quantification techniques from archaeological palynology. Doing so has allowed us to express pollen concentration values as the number of pollen grains/bee and has allowed us to understand pollen composition in a way similar to assessing pollen composition in melissopalynology (the study of pollen from honey).
Our lab processed pollen from the flowers in order to build a reference collection of Nebraska pollen types. We plan to expand this collection over time as we acquire more flowers. We have also begun a photo-database of Nebraska pollen types that will soon be available on this website.