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Michael Dillon to Give UW Faculty Senate Speaker Series Talk April 25

April 19, 2019
people working with equipment in mountains
University of Wyoming Department of Zoology and Physiology Associate Professor Michael Dillon (left) and Wang Yong, a graduate student at Sichuan University, study bumblebee flight near Balangshan Pass in southwest China. Dillon was selected to give the spring Faculty Senate Speaker Series lecture April 25. (Robert Dudley Photo)

Michael Dillon, University of Wyoming Department of Zoology and Physiology associate professor, will give the spring Faculty Senate Speaker Series talk Thursday, April 25.

Dillon, also the director of the UW-National Park Service Research Station in Grand Teton National Park, will discuss “A bug’s life at extremes: how the humble bee thrives from deserts to mountain tops” at 4:10 p.m. in Room 133 of the Classroom Building.

Dillon says native bees are crucial pollinators in agriculture and in wild ecosystems, but recent documented declines in bee populations may have dramatic and far-reaching effects.

“Determining the causes of these declines and how to address them requires research on the basic ecology and physiology of native bees,” he says.

Dillon will discuss how bees cope with environmental and other challenges, and how they can persist everywhere from the deserts of Southern California to the high mountains of western China.

“But, this remarkable adaptability has limits, forcing us to contemplate a world without the humble bee,” he adds.

Dillon has studied the physiology and ecology of insects, particularly bees, for more than 20 years across the western United States, China, and Central and South America. His students currently work on diverse topics, including distributions of threatened bees; effects of wind farms on insects; flight and thermal physiology of bumblebees; and overwintering of native bees.

He recently published a field guide to the native bees of Wyoming with UW colleague Lusha Tronstad, a UW zoology and physiology adjunct assistant professor. The guide engages the public in understanding, appreciating and protecting native bees.

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