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RE: [beemonitoring] Wanted, estimates of costs for identifying bee specimens

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  • Sam Droege
    Hi Neil: Thanks for the information and offers of help, hopefully we will be needing both. I was thinking less about morpho species and more about species
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 11, 2010
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      Hi Neil:

      Thanks for the information and offers of help, hopefully we will be needing both.

      I was thinking less about morpho species and more about species level (where possible).   Do you ever contract for ID on a per species or per individual specimen basis?

      Again, thanks for the information.

      sam


      Sam Droege  sdroege@...                      
      w 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
      Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov

      Nothing is so beautiful as Spring--
      When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and
       lovely and lush;
      Thrush's eggs look like little low heavens, and
       thrush
      Through the echoing timber does so rinse and
       wring
      The ear, it strikes like lightning to hear him
       sing;
      The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they
       brush
      The descending blue; that blue is all in a
       rush
      With richness; the racing lambs too have fair
       their fling.  
        --Garard Manley Hopkins, 1877--called "Spring."
      P Bees are not optional.


      From:Neil Stanley Cobb <neil.cobb@...>
      To:Sam Droege <sdroege@...>, "beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com" <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com>
      Date:01/10/2010 04:12 PM
      Subject:RE: [beemonitoring] Wanted, estimates of costs for identifying bee specimens
      Sent by:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com





       

      Sam,

       

      There are so many ways to contract and it could be fundamentally different if you want morphospecies versus a species determination.  Typically students or techs that can do a good job of establishing a morphospecies collection for us get between $10 - $16 per hour.  If you mean how do you do it administratively, it could be done as a separate contract or subcontract to a museum or lab.  You can also hire individuals directly but that would not usually be my first choice. I would be happy to coordinate any efforts for the Colorado Plateau and adjacent regions.

       

      Neil

       

      Neil S. Cobb, Director
      Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research
      Peterson Hall, Bldg 22, Rm 330, Box 6077
      Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ 86011

      http://www.mpcer.nau.edu http://bugs.nau.edu http://www.grail.nau.edu/

       

      Neil.Cobb@...
      (Home Office) 928-214-6237
      (Mobile Office) 928-607-4075


      From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Sam Droege
      Sent:
      Sunday, January 10, 2010 8:08 AM
      To:
      beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
      Subject:
      [beemonitoring] Wanted, estimates of costs for identifying bee specimens

       





      All:


      We are putting together some proposals with a variety of Department of Interior agencies (and potentially others) to do a set of large scale surveys of the U.S.  As part of that we will be looking for individuals and groups who would want to either partner or contract for the identification of western species (or morpho species as the case may be).  In order to do that we need to estimate what the costs would be.  


      So, I would be interested in any experiences you have had either as a contractor or as a contractee from any part of the world where someone was paid for doing bee identifications and how that contract or relationship was established.  


      You can post to me privately, but I think it would be useful to post to the group as I know this topic comes up frequently, but isn't discussed very much.


      Many thanks.


      sam


                                                   
      Sam Droege  sdroege@...                      
      w 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

      Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov

      Further in Summer than the Birds
      Pathetic from the Grass
      A minor Nation celebrates
      Its unobtrusive Mass.


      No Ordinance be seen
      So gradual the Grace
      A pensive Custom it becomes
      Enlarging Loneliness.


      Antiquest felt at Noon
      When August burning low
      Arise this spectral Canticle
      Repose to typify


      Remit as yet no Grace
      No Furrow on the Glow
      Yet a Druidic Difference
      Enhances Nature now


                      -- Emily Dickinson



    • Neil Stanley Cobb
      Sam, We do not have a taxonomist, so we do not charge for individual identifications; we work collaboratively with others to get confirmation or consensus on
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 11, 2010
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        Sam,

         

        We do not have a taxonomist, so we do not charge for individual identifications; we work collaboratively with others to get confirmation or consensus on identifications.  Bees are about as bad as any group for getting species-level confirmations, at least in the Southwest.  There are not that many people that can do identifications and they are all very busy.  Spiders, ants, most beetles, even macro moths are easier for us to get identifications.  Most of the time we do not pay for identifications, we make it as easy as possible for people to provide determinations.  Where possible we write in taxonomic services into monitoring or inventory contracts, but it is usually for a few thousand at most.

         

        I would ask people who teach the bee course how much they would charge.  Taxonomists rarely receive anything close to full compensation and many will accept whatever payment we can provide.  If you collect in areas they are interested and you have specimens in groups they are working on, they typically are happy to help in exchange for the specimens you provide them.

         

        Hope this helps.

         

        Neil

         

        Neil S. Cobb, Director
        Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research
        Peterson Hall, Bldg 22, Rm 330, Box 6077
        Northern Arizona University Flagstaff , AZ 86011
        http://www.mpcer.nau.edu http://bugs.nau.edu http://www.grail.nau.edu/

         

        Neil.Cobb@...
        (Home Office) 928-214-6237
        (Mobile Office) 928-607-4075


        From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Sam Droege
        Sent: Monday, January 11, 2010 5:04 AM
        To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: RE: [beemonitoring] Wanted, estimates of costs for identifying bee specimens

         




        Hi Neil:

        Thanks for the information and offers of help, hopefully we will be needing both.

        I was thinking less about morpho species and more about species level (where possible).   Do you ever contract for ID on a per species or per individual specimen basis?

        Again, thanks for the information.

        sam


        Sam Droege  sdroege@...                      
        w 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
        Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov

        Nothing is so beautiful as Spring--
        When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and
         lovely and lush;
        Thrush's eggs look like little low heavens, and
         thrush
        Through the echoing timber does so rinse and
         wring
        The ear, it strikes like lightning to hear him
         sing;
        The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they
         brush
        The descending blue; that blue is all in a
         rush
        With richness; the racing lambs too have fair
         their fling.  
          --Garard Manley Hopkins, 1877--called "Spring."
        P Bees are not optional.

        From:

        Neil Stanley Cobb <neil.cobb@...>

        To:

        Sam Droege <sdroege@...>, "beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com" <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com>

        Date:

        01/10/2010 04:12 PM

        Subject:

        RE: [beemonitoring] Wanted, estimates of costs for identifying bee specimens

        Sent by:

        beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com

         





         

        Sam,

         

        There are so many ways to contract and it could be fundamentally different if you want morphospecies versus a species determination.  Typically students or techs that can do a good job of establishing a morphospecies collection for us get between $10 - $16 per hour.  If you mean how do you do it administratively, it could be done as a separate contract or subcontract to a museum or lab.  You can also hire individuals directly but that would not usually be my first choice. I would be happy to coordinate any efforts for the Colorado Plateau and adjacent regions.

         

        Neil

         

        Neil S. Cobb, Director
        Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research
        Peterson Hall, Bldg 22, Rm 330, Box 6077
        Northern Arizona University Flagstaff , AZ 86011

        http://www.mpcer.nau.edu http://bugs.nau.edu http://www.grail.nau.edu/

         

        Neil.Cobb@...
        (Home Office) 928-214-6237
        (Mobile Office) 928-607-4075


        From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Sam Droege
        Sent:
        Sunday, January 10, 2010 8:08 AM
        To:
        beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
        Subject:
        [beemonitoring] Wanted, estimates of costs for identifying bee specimens

         





        All:


        We are putting together some proposals with a variety of Department of Interior agencies (and potentially others) to do a set of large scale surveys of the U.S.  As part of that we will be looking for individuals and groups who would want to either partner or contract for the identification of western species (or morpho species as the case may be).  In order to do that we need to estimate what the costs would be.  


        So, I would be interested in any experiences you have had either as a contractor or as a contractee from any part of the world where someone was paid for doing bee identifications and how that contract or relationship was established.  


        You can post to me privately, but I think it would be useful to post to the group as I know this topic comes up frequently, but isn't discussed very much.


        Many thanks.


        sam


                                                     
        Sam Droege  sdroege@...                      
        w 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

        Http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov

        Further in Summer than the Birds
        Pathetic from the Grass
        A minor Nation celebrates
        Its unobtrusive Mass.


        No Ordinance be seen
        So gradual the Grace
        A pensive Custom it becomes
        Enlarging Loneliness.


        Antiquest felt at Noon
        When August burning low
        Arise this spectral Canticle
        Repose to typify


        Remit as yet no Grace
        No Furrow on the Glow
        Yet a Druidic Difference
        Enhances Nature now


                        -- Emily Dickinson

         


      • Doug Yanega
        Sam - while in the past, I would do bee IDs for people routinely without fee, there was always a problem when the amount of material exceeded a dozen or so
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 11, 2010
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          Sam - while in the past, I would do bee IDs for people routinely
          without fee, there was always a problem when the amount of material
          exceeded a dozen or so specimens and started to become a "time sink".
          In some cases, it was negotiated that my time could be justified if
          we were being allowed to retain a significant amount of the material,
          but even that won't work under the present economic climate; recently
          (within the last year) our administration has implemented a for-fee
          ID policy, so we now charge $75 per hour for academic/commercial
          identifications. This is the rate calculated to recover my
          salary/benefit costs per hour, plus the administrative costs
          associated with processing the associated paperwork, which (I am
          told) come to almost exactly half that rate (~$35/hour), so roughly
          50% is "profit" - though this is redirected into the museum's budget
          (and there helps to offset the budget cutbacks from the last two
          years).

          Compared to doing work for free, $75 an hour is a major change, but
          we (and no doubt others associated with university-based collections)
          are under increasing pressure to "justify" the meager support we
          receive, and evidently if we can demonstrate some measure of revenue
          generation (i.e., self-sufficiency), this makes it easier for the
          administrators to feel magnanimous about keeping our collective heads
          off the chopping block. It would be nice if we could be TRULY
          self-sufficient, and divorce ourselves from the university's
          financial troubles and the proverbial dangling Damoclean Sword, but I
          honestly can't imagine how that could ever come to pass.

          Ours is certainly one of the major western bee collections,
          comprising around 100K specimens collected and identified by
          Timberlake (and others), and I'd say I'm one of only a handful of
          folks who can give reliable species-level IDs on western bees (and
          I'm by no means the best - that would be Terry Griswold), but it's no
          longer an easy resource to tap into, I'm afraid.

          Peace,
          --

          Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum
          Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega
          phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
          http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
          "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
          is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
        • karen@sevilleta.unm.edu
          This is in response to Neil s suggestion of using student help for species level identifications. I think that using graduate student s expertise is a good way
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 11, 2010
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            This is in response to Neil's suggestion of using student help for species
            level identifications.

            I think that using graduate student's expertise is a good way to weed out
            all the easier identifications and could cut costs quite a bit. Us PhD
            students are usually willing to do work for things such as travel expenses
            or books, or a much more meager hourly wage. HOWEVER, both the student
            AND an expert must agree on which groups the student is capable of
            identifying to the species level with a reasonable degree of error. This
            of course just depends upon the individual student and how much oversight
            that student has and what type of reference collection the student has to
            work from.

            The value of the 'expert' cannot be underestimated. Students like myself
            would most likely fail to recognize new species in even the easiest groups
            unless it was a group that I was particularly interested.

            Cheers, Karen
          • Stuart Roberts
            Hi Sam ID to species level is a massive problem for pollination studies - in fact it is the single most important rate limiting step in such studies. Competent
            Message 5 of 7 , Jan 12, 2010
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              Hi Sam

              ID to species level is a massive problem for pollination studies - in fact it is the single most important rate limiting step in such studies. Competent identifiers are a rare resource - and this is at the UK level. In the farthest flung corners of Europe (often the most bio-diverse) the situation is far far worse.

              In our projects in UK we tend to budget for id's as part of my basic costs (determined on a time basis by my University). I know there will be some things I find difficult and we contract out determinations at somewhere around £1.30 per specimen. This cost is regardless of whether it is an easy or a difficult species to determine - it all comes out in the wash at the end. The deal is: University must provide properly prepared and fully labelled specimens. In return they get an identification to species level and the data entered into a database (provided by the University. In addition there will be a 10% sample that is rechecked to ensure QA. The Uni technician HAS to do the basic donkey-work so that identifiers do not waste their time relaxing/preparing/pinning specimens.

              At a continental level, we have to put more money aside because there is not likely to be in-house expertise. Basic training of technicians can teach them how to id just a handful of species. Our French colleagues were taught 4 species and these accounted for about 75% of all the specimens requiring determination. The rest were sent to specialists. On average charging between 1 Euro -2 Euros per specimen (depending on who you went to). For complete peace of mind, it would still be wise to do a QA check on the ones removed in the first round of filtering.


              Relying purely on the goodwill of specialists is not a great idea, especially if there are a lot of specimens to determine. People identifying things this way are very difficult to press for answers and to get to work to deadlines. We work on the principle that one should NEVER presume on the goodwill, time or expertise of amateurs. If you HAVE to get determinations, you'd be better organising a contract

              I hope this is of some help to you

              Best wishes for the New Year

              Stuart

              --------------------------
              Stuart Roberts
              Chairman, BWARS
              tel: +44 (0)1722 320072

              www.bwars.com

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