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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

JUNE 17 2011: Okay let me back track from the last post to a past event.

Let go back in 5:30 am on Friday, June 17th. Not only was this day a really big day for our studies in Lesvos, Greece but it was also my little sisters birthday! Sorry you couldn't be here in Greece with me lil sis, maybe someday!

At 5:30am I was a very groggy and un-caffeinated little lady, let me tell you! Just about all of us who weren't driving to the field site took a snooze fest on the road. When we arrived the sun was slowly ascending into the sky, casting the most beautiful, dark, golden glow on everything. The air was crisp and cool and the faint smell of flowers and sea salt hung in the air.

We took a drive to collect flowering Vitex sprigs from bushes in the area, both white and violet colored flowers were used in this experiment. In previous posts I mentioned the trouble in finding flowering Vitex due to changing weather patterns and today was no exception, but we did get enough in order to conduct the study.
Since we had set up two transects the day before, we split into two groups, one for each transect. Dr. Barthell, Carmen, Aaron, Rich and Amanda chose the first transect nearest the bay.   Dr. Hranitz, Maria, Josh and myself made up team two. The experiment was conducted exactly the same at the transects.
The goal was to study honey bee behavior on Vitex and Yellow star Thistle to answer questions of the invasive Yellow Star Thistle in the U.S. and how pollination plays a role. This data will be added to about 5 years worth of studies conducted on the Island of Lesvos.
Behavioral studies were conducted for a timed 2.5 min at every plant (chosen the previous day) adding up to an hour for each study. We started at 7 am and continued to work in the very hot, Grecian sun until 8 pm, with a break for a quick lunch.

Vitex and Star Thistle in the field.

My job was to collect, record the time of collection/notes, pin and roughly identify honey bees every hour from 7am-8pm. It was of course my favorite job ever! I hiked around all day (because I couldn't be within the study range) and collected bees and other  insects that happened to be pollinating the Yellow Star Thistle (native to Greece). With my trusty bug net, potassium cyanide kill jar, journal and water I had a ton of fun. I know this really sounds strange to you non bug enthusiasts but to me it was a blast.

Everyone did a fantastic job and even though we were extremely exhausted we really pulled it together!

Magically we still had enough energy to walk to  town and eat at an Italian restaurant, which was seriously one of the best meals of my entire life (the margarita was amazing too!). Thus concludes another fun filled day !

 <3 M

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