Meeting Abstract

P3.11  Sunday, Jan. 6  Blown in the wind: Bumblebee temporal foraging patterns in naturally varying wind conditions CRALL, JD*; COMBES, SA; Concord Field Station, Harvard University; Concord Field Station, Harvard University jcrall@oeb.harvard.edu

Variation in wind increases the cost of insect flight and is likely to be an important factor in the foraging costs of pollinating insects. Few studies to date, however, have investigated how insect foraging patterns respond to wind. We marked more than 80 workers from a bumblebee colony (Bombus impatiens) with unique radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and placed the colony outdoors at the Harvard Forest (Petersham, MA). For two weeks we recorded when individual bees entered and exited the hive, while simultaneously measuring wind speeds from a three dimensional sonic anemometer operating at 5 Hz. Interestingly, temporal foraging patterns of bumblebee workers are individually distinct and remarkably constant over several days, despite strong variation in both direction and intensity of wind flow and turbulence. These results imply that bumblebees continue to forage in variable wind conditions, and are thus good candidates for future studies of adaptations to flight in turbulent wind conditions.