We have been awarded a grant from Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU) Network of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to “Characterize the Impacts to Desert Pollinators from Utility Scale Renewable Energy Installations.”
This $220,000 grant will fund research to determine the type and extent of impacts that utility-scale solar installations on public lands may have on pollinator-plant webs in desert ecosystems. Pollinators play a vital role in maintaining functional ecosystems. This project addresses the need for documenting instances of impacts from fragmentation of pollinator traplines, loss of soil and vegetation habitat for different life stages of pollinators, disruption of dependencies between endemic plants or endemic invertebrates and their respective companion pollinators or host plants, and potential demographic population declines from pollinator mortalities induced by specific types of renewable energy technology.
The Mojave and Sonoran Deserts are a biological hot spot of native bee biodiversity supporting more that 689 species of bees. Collaborators in this grant include Leslie Saul-Gershenz, PhD candidate, Co-PI Neal Williams, Co-PI Lynn Kimsey, Dr. Thomas Zavortink, Dr. Robbin Thorp, Dr. Terry Griswold, Dr. John Ascher will collaborate on this important desert project