LEWISBURG, Pa. — The following are Bucknell University story ideas that may interest you in June.
THE BUZZ ON BEES: There’s been a nearly 53 percent over-winter mortality rate to the Pennsylvania honey bee population since 1988. Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is often cited as the cause, but biology professor and beekeeper Elizabeth Capaldi says there’s more than one reason. She also cites pesticides and other agrochemicals, like fungicides and herbicides, which can have interactive, toxic effects for insects. Consequently, there’s no one-size-fits-all fix. “There are a lot of scientists working on coming up with tools for beekeepers to manage their colonies better in light of these changes, but it’s not going to be like getting a headache, taking an aspirin, and having that headache go away,” said Capaldi, co-author of the book Why do Bees Buzz? Fascinating Answers to Questions about Bees (Rutgers University Press, 2010). In the meantime, she says everyone can help the bees by planting native plants that flower throughout the growing season and avoiding pesticides. Bucknell researchers are currently constructing a new laboratory on campus that has been dubbed the “bee dome” — a hoop-house structure 60 feet long by 14 feet wide and 15 feet tall, covered with an insect mesh that allows air and sunlight to filter in. When it’s up next to the David Burpee Greenhouse on West Campus, the structure will allow Capaldi to control experiment variables while maintaining an environment that simulates nature as closely as possible. She will make a Reunion Weekend presentation titled “The Cognitive Lives of Animals” on Saturday, June 2, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in the Gallery Theatre, Elaine Langone Center. CONTACT: Capaldi, 570-577-3822, email@example.com
ANIMAL BEHAVIOR PROGRAM PURE GOLD: Bucknell celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of the premier animal behavior programs in the country. Only a handful of colleges offer a degree in animal behavior for undergraduates, and none have Bucknell’s variety of primate species. Faculty and students answer a diverse set of questions about hormones, behavior, cognition, ecology, and evolution by studying rats, salamanders, frogs, bees, chickens, bats, and four primate species: lion-tailed macaques, hamdryas baboons, brown capuchins and squirrel monkeys. “There’s nothing like it on the undergraduate level,” says Professor and Program Director Peter Judge ’77, psychology and animal behavior. Another distinguishing factor is the hands-on experience the program gives undergraduates. In addition to conducting research on campus, animal behavior students have performed field work in Alaska, Tanzania, Brazil, India and Australia. As part of the anniversary celebration, there will be a tour of the Animal Behavior Facility for Bucknell alumni, students, faculty and staff during Reunion Weekend on Saturday, June 2, from 3-4 p.m. CONTACT: Judge, 570-577-1339, firstname.lastname@example.org
THE ADVICE JEFFERSON NEVER RECEIVED: When Italian studies professor Lisa Perrone traveled to Florence, Italy, to research an 18th-century Italian professor and associate of Thomas Jefferson, she made a surprising discovery: a lost letter to the former president. The letter was by Filippo Mazzei, a political philosopher, physician and Italian patriot of the American Revolution and friend of Jefferson. Through further analysis, Perrone found irrefutable connections between the mysterious letter dated Sept. 27, 1812, and one sent by Jefferson to Mazzei on July 9, 1811. Perrone’s essay about the translated letter, “The Advice Jefferson Never Received: Health Counsel Delivered to Jefferson from his Italian Friend Filippo Mazzei, Two Hundred Years Too Late,” was just published in the spring edition of Common-place, the academic journal of early American life. She is returning back from a fellowship at Monticello awarded by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation to make the presentation, “The Advice Jefferson Never Received,” at Reunion Weekend on Friday, June 1, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the Forum, Elaine Langone Center. CONTACT: Perrone, 570-577-1947, email@example.com
CONTACT: Mike Ferlazzo, 570-577-3212, 570-238-6266 (c), firstname.lastname@example.org