It can be a little anticlimactic when extensive planning efforts in an experimental study yield little to no results. Methods were researched and meticulously planned, equipment was researched and purchased, and scheduling was arranged between seven students and a very flexible facilities management staff at UVA. Unfortunately, we could not help the spring weather. With temperatures averaging around 60°, boughts of rain, and an especially windy night it is not too surprising that no bees were collected, no bugs were trapped, and the only bird we saw while surveying was a dead bird on the bare hospital roof.
How could this whole spring weather issue be handled for better sampling luck in the future? Summertime sampling looks much more promising! As for spring classes, hope for warmer weather?
Our sampling process began on Wednesday April 9th at Gibson Hall. At 8am we met with Jacob, a member of facilities management, to gain access to the roof. Equipped with harnesses we were tethered to the center of the roof and able to set up the malaise trap within ten minutes. At 8am the next morning, two team members met with Jacob to remove the malaise trap from Gibson. Unfortunately, we found the trap completely empty. We then travelled to the Rouss-Robertson roof to set up the malaise trap. This roof also requires that we wear the harnesses for safety purposes. When we arrived at Rouss-Robertson the following morning, we found that the malaise trap had blown over sometime within the last 24 hours (corners were weighed down with bricks but the center of this tent- structure had completely collapsed). Again, the trap was completely empty. We then packed up the equipment for the weekend. The following Tuesday we intended to set up the malaise trap and bee bowls on the hospital roof, but rain caused us to postpone that trip until Wednesday morning.
Though our lack of findings so far is disappointing, there are still a few sampling days to come! Our next blog post will hopefully be more eventful!
Post by Amanda Askew and Jennifer White