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2278Re: [beemonitoring] New Video: The "Fractionator" Speeds bulk washing of specimens and separation of large and small insects

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  • David_r_smith@fws.gov
    Jul 31, 2012

      Hi Peter,

      How accurate would pollen analysis per bee individual be expected if the sample is from a pan trap or cup?  Considering the potential for very diverse bee and other flower-visiting insects; isn't contamination (pollen from one insect attaching to another species) a concern?  I think the fractionator appears pretty gentle compared to shaking the daylights out of a sample in a jar full of soapy water.  Many of my specimens still have pollen attached to their scopa afterwards.

      The centrifuge idea sounds interesting if bees are caught individually and kept separate.  But would thepollen actually separate from the bee when spun in a centrifuge?  Are bees buoyant enough to not get flung to the bottom of the tube when spinning?  Sounds like a fun thing to try out.

      Dave Smith
      U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
      Southwest Forest Science Complex, Bldg 82 West
      2500 South Pine Knoll Drive
      Flagstaff, AZ  86001
      (928) 556-2183
      "Field data is the best cure for a precarious prediction"  Dave Rosgen

      Peter Bernhardt <bernhap2@...>
      Sent by: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com

      07/31/2012 07:16 AM

      Sam Droege <sdroege@...>
      Retha Meier <rmeier3@...>, Justin Zweck <jrzweck@...>, "Cane, Jim" <jim.cane@...>, Bee United <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com>, pollinator@...
      Re: [beemonitoring] New Video: The "Fractionator" Speeds bulk washing of specimens and separation of large and small insects


      Dear Sam:

      No one likes a dirty, dead bee.  Yes, this is a nice, clear suite of techniques but I'd really, really, really like to see you put together a protocol and technology for cleaning then deriving information from individual bees.  If Retha, Justin and I used this technique on the bees we collect on Cypripedium parviflorum or on native legumes we would have clean bees to pin but we would be unable to associate each bee with the following information.

      1)  Which bees carried the pollen of the host orchid + pollen of other co-blooming species (in our last wash series we found some bees carried spores of sympatric ferns!).
      2) Which bees (upon escaping from the orchid) carried the detachable stellate hairs lining the pouched labellum.
      3)  Which bees carried bee lice.   

      How about a technique in which the bee goes into a capped vial with some ethyl acetate?  You centrifuge it quickly.  Remove the bee for drying and pinning.  Remove the debris at the bottom of the vial for staining.  What sort of "quickie" centrifuge can you find in these labs?


      On Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 12:28 PM, Sam Droege <sdroege@...> wrote:


      Here is our latest video.  As you can see from the video byline, we borrowed this idea from the fabulous free thinkers at the USDA Micro-Hymenoptera Lab at the Smithsonian.  We now use this technique for all our large batches of bees.  In addition to speeding up the quantity and quality of our specimen preparation it also permits separation of large from small fractions of insects.  The USDA folks are always interested in those small, mostly neglected fractions, even if you are not.  

      Here is the link to the video:


      Its Creative Commons Licence so you can use it in anyway you like!



      Sam Droege 
      301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
      USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
      BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD  20705


      I thought the earth remembered me,
      she took me back so tenderly,
      arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
      full of lichens and seeds.
      I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
      nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
      but my thoughts, and they flowed light as moths
      among the branches of the perfect trees.
      All night I heard the small kingdoms
      breathing around me, the insects,
      and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
      All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
      grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
      I had vanished at least a dozen times
      into something better.

        -From Sleeping In The Forest by Mary Oliver


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