The Buzz About Bees: How They Improve Our Lives

APRIL 28, 2017

Dr. Shalene Jha

Assistant Professor, Integrative Biology
The University of Texas at Austin

What is the talk about?

Bees play a key role in pollination, the transferring of pollen between flowers which allows plants to be fertilized and produce fruit. But not all bees live in colonies and few are extensively managed by humans. Most native bee species are solitary and nest in the ground or in woody stems in the wild. In the US, more than 4000 native bee species can be found. But are these pollinators in danger? Dr. Jha shares how native bee species interact with native and exotic plants, from tropical forests to urban areas in Texas, reveals their cultural and economic impact, and discusses the challenges bees face to survive.

About our presenter

Dr. Shalene Jha

Dr. Shalene Jha

Dr. Shalene Jha is an Assistant Professor of Integrative Biology at The University of Texas at Austin, who studies how human land management impacts the way species interact with one another. She is particularly interested in understanding the beneficial services pollinators provide to ecosystems and the humans living within them. She specializes in the use of ecological and genetic tools to measure the health of plant and pollinator communities and to trace how pollinators move across landscapes. Dr. Jha has experience studying plants and pollinators all around the world, from coffee to cotton farms, and Texas prairies to tropical rainforests. She has received numerous awards including grants from the USDA, Texas Parks and Wildlife, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation CAREER program.