Sara Bushmann Receives NIFA Fellowship

sarabushmannSara Bushmann, a PhD candidate studying with Dr. Frank Drummond, has won a coveted National Institute of Food and Agriculture PhD Fellowship. This fellowship will provide a stipend and research expenses for the final two years of her project.

“The purpose of my project is to determine the relative economic values of wild bee pollinators and commercial honeybees in lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) production for individual Maine farms.  I will do this by first assessing the relative abundance and species diversity of wild bees found foraging on blueberry flowers on farms with varying management regimes.  This information, along with the known crop yield, will help me determine the economic value of wild bees as a populationand how much value to attribute to honeybees and four other bee generaalone.  I will also evaluate factors that are likely contributors to wild bee abundance and diversity.  I will test factors that involve fieldcharacteristics (size and isolation from other farmland, for example) and farm management practices.  Finally, through workshops and on-farm trainings, I will present my findings to farmers.  My goal is to provide information in a meaningful and pertinent manner, such that blueberry growers feel confident consulting my study when making long and short- term management decisions.”