Ecosystem service providers in agricultural landscapes

We have a visitor from France here as part of a work placement traineeship. Blandine Prache is doing some research focused on  understanding the ecology and identity of insect species involved in the provision of ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. Her work is in two areas:

1. Understanding the community of bees that occurs  in an agricultural landscape with bee-pollinated crops.  Canola is grown in fields not far from Canberra and we want to know how many different bee species occur in these fields, when these bees are active, and whether the bee community is influenced by other parts of the landscape such as woodland patches and pastures. Blandine has been putting traps to catch native bees each week during spring and the start of summer. This work is being completed with the help of Saul Cunningham.

Blandine and Mick return after placing a bee trap in a canola field

Blandine and Mick return after placing a bee trap in a canola field

A bee trap on the edge of a canola field

A bee trap on the edge of a canola field

2. Examining the parasitic natural enemies of a  leaf-mining moth (Dialectica scalariella) that was released as a biocontrol agent for patterson’s curse (Echium plantagineum). Blandine has been collecting the miners and rearing them in the laboratory to see if they have been attacked by parasitic wasps.

patterson's curse: a common argicultural weed in our area

Patterson's curse: a common agricultural weed in our area