Lunar and Planetary Laboratory

Tucson, AZ, United States

Lunar and Planetary Laboratory

Tucson, AZ, United States

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Boys & Girls Clubs of America's Alumni Hall of Fame "Class of 2017" inductees include the following: Anthony Anderson, Actor, "Black-ish"; Paul "Triple H" Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President and WWE Superstar; Jason Witten, All-Pro Tight End, Dallas Cowboys; Skylar Diggins, All-Star Guard, Dallas Wings; Dante Lauretta, Professor of Planetary Science and Cosmochemistry, University of Arizona; Philip Schein, Medical Oncologist; and Tony Clark, Executive Director, Major League Baseball Players Association. "Every day at Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide, kids and teens are inspired to follow their dreams and reach their full potential," said Jim Clark, president & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "Each year it is such an honor to recognize a new class of impressive individuals who serve as role models for the next generation and prove that great futures are within reach for all kids." Boys & Girls Clubs Alumni & Friends Club estimates there are nearly 16 million living Boys & Girls Club alumni today. More on this year's inductees: Anthony Anderson – Actor, "Blackish" Anthony attended, and is active supporter of, what is now the Watts/Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club in Los Angeles. He found his way to acting through his mother, who worked as a background actor. After graduating from the High School for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles, he was awarded a scholarship to attend Howard University, where he earned his theater arts degree. In 1993, he landed his first significant movie role in the Eddie Murphy/Martin Lawrence comedy, "Life." Anthony's versatility as an actor has served him well, with roles in comedies, dramas and action movies, including "Me, Myself & Irene," "Barbershop," "The Departed" and "Transformers." Well known for playing Detective Kevin Bernard on TV's "Law & Order," Anthony now stars in the popular family sit-com, "Black-ish." Paul "Triple H" Levesque – WWE Executive Vice President and WWE Superstar Growing up, Paul was a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Nashua and was a huge WWE fan. Watching his first wrestling match at the age of 5, a televised bout featuring Chief Jay Strongbow, he became a voracious fan. After graduating from high school, Paul focused on competitive body building and was crowned Mr. Teenage New Hampshire when he was 19. In 1992, he enrolled in a wrestling school run by legend, Killer Kowalski, and then made his WWE debut in 1995. Now a WWE executive vice president, responsible for overseeing talent development, live events and creative, Paul also continues to compete as Triple H, his iconic alter ego who has captured every major championship, headlined thousands of events and entertained millions of fans around the world. Jason Witten – All-Pro Tight End, Dallas Cowboys  Jason joined the Boys & Girls Club when he moved to Tennessee at the age of 11. He knew people there cared about him, and the Club became a big part of his life. A four-year starter at linebacker and tight end in high school, Jason was named USA Today's Tennessee Player of the Year as a senior. He enrolled at the University of Tennessee, and was one of the most productive tight ends in the school's history. A 10-time Pro Bowl selection, his 1,089 career receptions place him among the top 10 receivers in NFL history. His off-the-field actions are just as impressive, and include the creation of Jason Witten Learning Centers at Boys & Girls Clubs in Texas and Tennessee. In 2012, he was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year for his community service. Skylar Diggins – All-Star Guard, Dallas Wings The Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County first welcomed Skylar through its doors as a first-grader. From the start, she never wanted to leave. Her friends were there, she got to play, have fun and just be a kid. At the Club after-school, Skylar honed her basketball skills. While numerous colleges recruited her, Skylar chose to stay in South Bend and attend Notre Dame. She went on to become a four-time college All-American and earn a bachelor's degree in business from the university. Now an All-Star for the WNBA's Dallas Wings, Skylar is just as active off the court. She founded Skylar's Scholars, which honors teenagers for academic achievements. She also created Shoot 4 The Sky Basketball Camp Tour, which helps kids ages 7 to 18 improve their basketball skills. Dante Lauretta – Professor of Planetary Science and Cosmochemistry, University of Arizona Dante found a fun, safe haven at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix, where Club staff helped shape his developing leadership skills. After graduating from high school, Dante obtained a dual bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics at the University of Arizona, then a doctorate in earth and planetary sciences from Washington University. In 2011, Dr. Lauretta's desire to give back came full-circle when NASA appointed him Principal Investigator of the seven-year mission, OSIRIS-REx. It inspired him to create "Xtronaut," a STEM curriculum that reinforces concepts including math, science, vocabulary and cooperative-learning. He piloted Xtronaut at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson, and later brought it to the Metro Phoenix Clubs. Dr. Lauretta is Professor of Planetary Science and Cosmochemistry for the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. Philip Schein – Medical Oncologist Just 13 when his fire fighter father perished in the line of duty, Phil found a second home at the Asbury Park Boys Club (now Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County).  Earlier, at age 11 the Club sponsored Phil in a national scholarship competition to study piano, which he won. The young man was also active in the Boy Scout troop affiliated with the Club, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.  Today, Dr. Schein is one of the world's leading authorities in the treatment of cancer, a former President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and a White House appointee to the National Cancer Advisory Board.  He served as a Senior Investigator at the National Cancer Institution, Scientific Director of the Lombardi Cancer Research Center and CEO of US Bioscience.  Currently he helps manage the US National Laboratory on the International Space Station as Vice Chairman, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space.  He has been awarded 11 patents and has published over 350 articles and texts concerning cancer research and drug development. Dr. Schein graduated from Rutgers College, where he has also received an Honorary Doctorate in Science, and then obtained his medical degree from the Upstate Medical University. Tony Clark – Executive Director, Major League Baseball Players Association Growing up, Tony was an outstanding baseball and basketball player, and member of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater San Diego – Encanto Branch. As a high school senior, he averaged 43.7 points per game and broke Bill Walton's San Diego high school single-season scoring record. But baseball was his bread and butter. The Detroit Tigers drafted Tony with the second pick of the 1990 draft. Over a 15-year Major League Baseball career, the 6-foot-7 first baseman nicknamed "Tony the Tiger" batted .262 with 251 home runs and 824 RBIs. In retirement, Tony accepted an offer to join the Major League Baseball Players Association as director of player relations in 2010. In 2013, players unanimously elected him executive director of the MLBPA, making Tony the first former player, and first person of color, to hold one of baseball's most powerful positions. For more information on Boys & Girls Clubs Alumni & Friends Club go to www.bgca.org/alumni About Boys & Girls Clubs of America For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,300 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at Facebook and Twitter. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/boys--girls-clubs-of-america-inducts-seven-leading-entertainers-athletes-and-professionals-into-27th-annual-alumni-hall-of-fame-300455307.html


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

From the earliest days of our solar system's history, collisions between astronomical objects have shaped the planets and changed the course of their evolution. Studying the early bombardment history of Mars, scientists at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and the University of Arizona have discovered a 400-million-year lull in large impacts early in Martian history. This discovery is published in the latest issue of Nature Geoscience in a paper titled, "A post-accretionary lull in large impacts on early Mars." SwRI's Dr. Bill Bottke, who serves as principal investigator of the Institute for the Science of Exploration Targets (ISET) within NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), is the lead author of the paper. Dr. Jeff Andrews-Hanna, from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in the University of Arizona, is the paper's coauthor. "The new results reveal that Mars' impact history closely parallels the bombardment histories we've inferred for the Moon, the asteroid belt, and the planet Mercury," Bottke said. "We refer to the period for the later impacts as the 'Late Heavy Bombardment.' The new results add credence to this somewhat controversial theory. However, the lull itself is an important period in the evolution of Mars and other planets. We like to refer to this lull as the 'doldrums.'" The early impact bombardment of Mars has been linked to the bombardment history of the inner solar system as a whole. Borealis, the largest and most ancient basin on Mars, is nearly 6,000 miles wide and covers most of the planet's northern hemisphere. New analysis found that the rim of Borealis was excavated by only one later impact crater, known as Isidis. This sets strong statistical limits on the number of large basins that could have formed on Mars after Borealis. Moreover, the preservation states of the four youngest large basins -- Hellas, Isidis, Argyre, and the now-buried Utopia -- are strikingly similar to that of the larger, older Borealis basin. The similar preservation states of Borealis and these younger craters indicate that any basins formed in-between should be similarly preserved. No other impact basins pass this test. "Previous studies estimated the ages of Hellas, Isidis, and Argyre to be 3.8 to 4.1 billion years old," Bottke said. "We argue the age of Borealis can be deduced from impact fragments from Mars that ultimately arrived on Earth. These Martian meteorites reveal Borealis to be nearly 4.5 billion years old -- almost as old as the planet itself." The new results reveal a surprising bombardment history for the red planet. A giant impact carved out the northern lowlands 4.5 billion years ago, followed by a lull of approximately 400 million years. Then another period of bombardment produced giant impact basins between 4.1 and 3.8 billion years ago. The age of the impact basins requires two separate populations of objects striking Mars. The first wave of impacts was associated with formation of the inner planets, followed by a second wave striking the Martian surface much later.


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Boulder, Colo. -- April 25, 2017 -- From the earliest days of our solar system's history, collisions between astronomical objects have shaped the planets and changed the course of their evolution. Studying the early bombardment history of Mars, scientists at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and the University of Arizona have discovered a 400-million-year lull in large impacts early in Martian history. This discovery is published in the latest issue of Nature Geoscience in a paper titled, "A post-accretionary lull in large impacts on early Mars." SwRI's Dr. Bill Bottke, who serves as principal investigator of the Institute for the Science of Exploration Targets (ISET) within NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), is the lead author of the paper. Dr. Jeff Andrews-Hanna, from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in the University of Arizona, is the paper's coauthor. "The new results reveal that Mars' impact history closely parallels the bombardment histories we've inferred for the Moon, the asteroid belt, and the planet Mercury," Bottke said. "We refer to the period for the later impacts as the 'Late Heavy Bombardment.' The new results add credence to this somewhat controversial theory. However, the lull itself is an important period in the evolution of Mars and other planets. We like to refer to this lull as the 'doldrums.'" The early impact bombardment of Mars has been linked to the bombardment history of the inner solar system as a whole. Borealis, the largest and most ancient basin on Mars, is nearly 6,000 miles wide and covers most of the planet's northern hemisphere. New analysis found that the rim of Borealis was excavated by only one later impact crater, known as Isidis. This sets strong statistical limits on the number of large basins that could have formed on Mars after Borealis. Moreover, the preservation states of the four youngest large basins -- Hellas, Isidis, Argyre, and the now-buried Utopia -- are strikingly similar to that of the larger, older Borealis basin. The similar preservation states of Borealis and these younger craters indicate that any basins formed in-between should be similarly preserved. No other impact basins pass this test. "Previous studies estimated the ages of Hellas, Isidis, and Argyre to be 3.8 to 4.1 billion years old," Bottke said. "We argue the age of Borealis can be deduced from impact fragments from Mars that ultimately arrived on Earth. These Martian meteorites reveal Borealis to be nearly 4.5 billion years old -- almost as old as the planet itself." The new results reveal a surprising bombardment history for the red planet. A giant impact carved out the northern lowlands 4.5 billion years ago, followed by a lull of approximately 400 million years. Then another period of bombardment produced giant impact basins between 4.1 and 3.8 billion years ago. The age of the impact basins requires two separate populations of objects striking Mars. The first wave of impacts was associated with formation of the inner planets, followed by a second wave striking the Martian surface much later. SSERVI is a virtual institute headquartered at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. Its members are distributed among universities and research institutes across the United States and around the world. SSERVI is working to address fundamental science questions and issues that can help further human exploration of the solar system.


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

From the earliest days of our solar system's history, collisions between astronomical objects have shaped the planets and changed the course of their evolution. Studying the early bombardment history of Mars, scientists at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and the University of Arizona have discovered a 400-million-year lull in large impacts early in Martian history. This discovery is published in the latest issue of Nature Geoscience in a paper titled, "A post-accretionary lull in large impacts on early Mars." SwRI's Dr. Bill Bottke, who serves as principal investigator of the Institute for the Science of Exploration Targets (ISET) within NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), is the lead author of the paper. Dr. Jeff Andrews-Hanna, from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in the University of Arizona, is the paper's coauthor. "The new results reveal that Mars' impact history closely parallels the bombardment histories we've inferred for the Moon, the asteroid belt, and the planet Mercury," Bottke said. "We refer to the period for the later impacts as the 'Late Heavy Bombardment.' The new results add credence to this somewhat controversial theory. However, the lull itself is an important period in the evolution of Mars and other planets. We like to refer to this lull as the 'doldrums.'" The early impact bombardment of Mars has been linked to the bombardment history of the inner solar system as a whole. Borealis, the largest and most ancient basin on Mars, is nearly 6,000 miles wide and covers most of the planet's northern hemisphere. New analysis found that the rim of Borealis was excavated by only one later impact crater, known as Isidis. This sets strong statistical limits on the number of large basins that could have formed on Mars after Borealis. Moreover, the preservation states of the four youngest large basins -- Hellas, Isidis, Argyre, and the now-buried Utopia -- are strikingly similar to that of the larger, older Borealis basin. The similar preservation states of Borealis and these younger craters indicate that any basins formed in-between should be similarly preserved. No other impact basins pass this test. "Previous studies estimated the ages of Hellas, Isidis, and Argyre to be 3.8 to 4.1 billion years old," Bottke said. "We argue the age of Borealis can be deduced from impact fragments from Mars that ultimately arrived on Earth. These Martian meteorites reveal Borealis to be nearly 4.5 billion years old -- almost as old as the planet itself." The new results reveal a surprising bombardment history for the red planet. A giant impact carved out the northern lowlands 4.5 billion years ago, followed by a lull of approximately 400 million years. Then another period of bombardment produced giant impact basins between 4.1 and 3.8 billion years ago. The age of the impact basins requires two separate populations of objects striking Mars. The first wave of impacts was associated with formation of the inner planets, followed by a second wave striking the Martian surface much later.


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

From the earliest days of our solar system's history, collisions between astronomical objects have shaped the planets and changed the course of their evolution. Studying the early bombardment history of Mars, scientists at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and the University of Arizona have discovered a 400-million-year lull in large impacts early in Martian history. This discovery is published in the latest issue of Nature Geoscience in a paper titled, "A post-accretionary lull in large impacts on early Mars." SwRI's Dr. Bill Bottke, who serves as principal investigator of the Institute for the Science of Exploration Targets (ISET) within NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), is the lead author of the paper. Dr. Jeff Andrews-Hanna, from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in the University of Arizona, is the paper's coauthor. "The new results reveal that Mars' impact history closely parallels the bombardment histories we've inferred for the Moon, the asteroid belt, and the planet Mercury," Bottke said. "We refer to the period for the later impacts as the 'Late Heavy Bombardment.' The new results add credence to this somewhat controversial theory. However, the lull itself is an important period in the evolution of Mars and other planets. We like to refer to this lull as the 'doldrums.'" The early impact bombardment of Mars has been linked to the bombardment history of the inner solar system as a whole. Borealis, the largest and most ancient basin on Mars, is nearly 6,000 miles wide and covers most of the planet's northern hemisphere. New analysis found that the rim of Borealis was excavated by only one later impact crater, known as Isidis. This sets strong statistical limits on the number of large basins that could have formed on Mars after Borealis. Moreover, the preservation states of the four youngest large basins -- Hellas, Isidis, Argyre, and the now-buried Utopia -- are strikingly similar to that of the larger, older Borealis basin. The similar preservation states of Borealis and these younger craters indicate that any basins formed in-between should be similarly preserved. No other impact basins pass this test. "Previous studies estimated the ages of Hellas, Isidis, and Argyre to be 3.8 to 4.1 billion years old," Bottke said. "We argue the age of Borealis can be deduced from impact fragments from Mars that ultimately arrived on Earth. These Martian meteorites reveal Borealis to be nearly 4.5 billion years old -- almost as old as the planet itself." The new results reveal a surprising bombardment history for the red planet. A giant impact carved out the northern lowlands 4.5 billion years ago, followed by a lull of approximately 400 million years. Then another period of bombardment produced giant impact basins between 4.1 and 3.8 billion years ago. The age of the impact basins requires two separate populations of objects striking Mars. The first wave of impacts was associated with formation of the inner planets, followed by a second wave striking the Martian surface much later.


Gif composed of thirteen delay-Doppler images of Comet 45P/HMP after 2 hours of observation. Credit: Universities Space Research Association Though not visible to the naked eye or even with binoculars, the green-tailed Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova (HMP) did not escape the gaze of the world-renowned Arecibo Observatory. Scientists from the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) at Arecibo Observatory have been studying the comet with radar to better understand its solid nucleus and the dusty coma that surrounds it. "Comets are remnants of the planet forming process and are part of a group of objects made of water ice and rocky material that formed beyond Neptune," noted Dr. Ellen Howell, Scientist at LPL and the leader of the observing campaign at Arecibo. "Studying these objects gives us an idea of how the outer reaches of our Solar System formed and evolved over time." Studying the comet with radar not only very precisely determines its orbit, allowing scientists to better predict its location in the future, but also gives a glimpse of the typically unseen part, the comet's nucleus, which is usually hidden behind the cloud of gas and dust that makes up the its coma and tail. "The Arecibo Observatory planetary radar system can pierce through the comet's coma and allows us to study the surface properties, size, shape, rotation, and geology of the comet nucleus," said Dr. Patrick Taylor, USRA Scientist and Group Lead for Planetary Radar at Arecibo. "We gain roughly the same amount of knowledge from a radar observation as a spacecraft flyby of the same object, but at considerably less cost." In fact, the new radar observations have revealed Comet 45P/HMP to be somewhat larger than previously estimated. The radar images suggest a size of about 1.3 km (0.8 mi) and that it rotates about once every 7.6 hours. "We see complex structures and bright regions on the comet and have been able to investigate the coma with radar," indicated Cassandra Lejoly, graduate student at the University of Arizona. This comet is only the seventh imaged using radar because comets rarely come close enough to the Earth to get such detailed radar images. In fact, though 45P/HMP has an orbital period of about 5.3 years, it rarely passes close to Earth, as it is doing now. Comet 45P is one of a group of comets called Jupiter family comets (JFCs), whose orbits are controlled by Jupiter's gravity and typically orbit the sun about every 6 years. Comet 45P/HMP, which is passing by Earth at a speed of about 23 km/s (relative to Earth) and a close approach of about 32 Earth-Moon distances, will be observed widely at different wavelengths to characterize the gas and dust emanating from the nucleus that forms the coma. As comets orbit the sun, the ices sublime from solids to gases and escape the nucleus. The nucleus gradually shrinks and will disappear completely within in less than a million years. Radar observations at Arecibo of Comet 45P/HMP began on February 9, 2017 and will continue through February 17, 2017. Explore further: Comet's trip past Earth offers first in a trio of opportunities


News Article | February 6, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

The dwarf planet Ceres continues to amaze. The big surprise was in 2015 when NASA's Dawn spacecraft discovered a mini Everest-sized icy volcano. The lonely volcano triggered thought waves on why it is so alone with no companions. Here comes a new study that says Ahuna Mons is not alone and thousands of other ice volcanoes billions of years old might have flattened out, leaving it all alone. The 2.5-mile-tall ice volcano was a puzzle to scientists considering its solo nature and if the new theory holds up, Ahuna Mons must have many hidden volcanic siblings. The findings came from a study to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, which said ice volcanoes aged millions or billions of years might have existed on Ceres. But they flattened out as time passed and left Ahuna Mons as a solitary structure. "If you see one thing on a planet and nothing else that looks like nothing else, that's sort of strange," Michael Sori of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona and the lead author told Inverse. What has heightened the interest on the icy volcanoes of Ceres is its proximity to the sun, unlike other icy worlds that are too far from the hot star. Considering the position of Ceres as part of the asteroid belt, having icy volcanoes is quite unusual. "Ceres is just barely far enough from the sun for this to work," Sori said. The presence of ice volcanoes has been reported from dwarf planets and moons, like Pluto, Europa, Triton, Charon, and Titan. But they are far from the sun. "But it's also why it makes it interesting because it's the warmest place where it's affected," he noted. The researchers analyzed the question why Ahuna Mons is all alone. Is it the only volcano the Ceres ever had or is it the only one that is visible and others are invisible? The researchers pitched the second possibility of invisibility of the peer volcanoes and said Ahuna Mons was left alone as other volcanoes vanished over millions of years. "We think we have a very good case that there have been lots of cryovolcanoes on Ceres but they have deformed," Sori said. The researchers also put forward a hypothesis noting that unlike Earth, Ceres is bereft of an atmosphere that would wear down volcanoes through rain, ice, or wind. So the valid option is a flattening out of the volcanoes over eons of time in a process called "viscous relaxation." The scientists explained that viscous relaxation is akin to a block of honey changing structure - first it's solid but takes a flat structure as time passes. Also, Earth has a record of glaciers flowing out because of viscous relaxation. That process applies well to Ceres, considering the icy composition of the volcanoes, which turned flat as billions of years passed and the volcanic structures became indistinguishable. "Ahuna Mons is at most 200 million years old. It just has not had time to deform," Sori said. If the flattening of the Ahuna Mons were to happen, it will be an average 30 to 160 feet for every million year it has existed, he added. A study in 2016 found that the craters of Ceres are filled with water-ice. One school of opinion is that if humans start living in outer space and other planets, then the mining of Ceres and other icy worlds will be imperative for securing water. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | February 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

RFID chips similar to the ones used to protect merchandise from shoplifting have granted an interdisciplinary team of UA researchers unprecedented glimpses into a colony of bumblebees. By tagging individual bumblebees with microchips, biologists have gained insights into the daily life of a colony of bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) in unprecedented detail. The team found that while most bees are generalists collecting both pollen and nectar over the course of their lifetime, individual workers tend to specialize on one of the two during any given day, dedicating more than 90 percent of their foraging sorties to either pollen or nectar. The observations also revealed that individual bumblebee workers differ vastly in terms of their foraging activity. Just like their domesticated cousins, the honey bees, bumblebees play important roles as pollinators, thus helping in agriculture and fruit production. But despite the ecological services they provide, many aspects of their biology still remain a mystery. By outfitting each bumblebee with a radio frequency identification, or RFID, tag -- similar to the ones used to protect merchandise from shoplifters -- the researchers were able to keep tabs on them at all times and log the data automatically instead of relying on human observations limited to certain times. "The way these studies have typically been done requires a human observer sitting in front of a hive entrance and taking notes all day, and nobody wants to do that," says Avery Russell, the lead author of the study. Russell is a doctoral student in entomology and insect in the lab of Daniel Papaj, a professor in the University of Arizona's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. "With the RFID chips, we can track every nectar and pollen collection trip made over each worker's lifespan and a portion of the colony's lifespan." The researchers then used this data to determine how patterns of specialization on each food type differed at timescales of a day or over a lifetime. The results are published in the journal Scientific Reports. Once a bumblebee queen has mated, she burrows into the ground and overwinters. The following spring, she emerges and starts a hive that lasts until the fall. A typical bumblebee colony grows to about 75 workers, with about 40 to 50 going out and foraging on flowers for nectar and pollen. After the colony's growth phase, the colony produces unfertilized eggs that hatch into males. The male bumblebees then disperse in search for other unmated queens to begin the cycle anew. "Each individual bee only lives between two weeks to a month at the most," Russell says, "and even though they behave as generalists over their lifetime, our study showed that they tend to specialize on one food source over the course of a foraging day." The researchers were surprised to find a vast difference in efficiency, with the most active foragers making 40 times the number of trips each day as the least active workers. "Interestingly, when we studied the morphology between very active foragers and workers that barely leave the hive, we found that bees with more sensitive antennae foraged more," Russell said. Similar variation has been in observed in honey bees and other eusocial species, where some workers are much more active than others, but no one had seen it to this extreme due to the limits of human observations. "If you watch a bee only for an hour or so, you can't say what it will do over the course of a few days or over its whole life," Russell says. "We don't yet know why, but it could be that workers that forage less do so because they aren't quite as skilled at foraging as others and make themselves useful by doing more around the hive." To track the bees' behavior, the team superglues tiny RFID tags to the backs of the bees. Each tag weighs only 2 to 3 percent of the bee's weight. A Y-tube connects the hive to two arenas, one that offers pollen and one that offers nectar. When a bee leaves the hive to forage, it can choose to go to the pollen chamber or the nectar chamber. Two RFID readers mounted at the entrance keep track of the bees going in and out and help the researchers collect a wealth of data. "This setup gives us information about directionality," Russell explains. "Is the forager leaving or returning from foraging? We also get an idea of whether a bee goes from one chamber to the other, or whether it makes repeated trips to only one chamber, and we get to know how long the trips were." Since the team was especially interested in the sequence of the foraging trips over the course of the day, some heavy lifting was needed to make sense of all the data. To do this, Russell enlisted the help of Sarah Morrison, a doctoral student in the UA's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, who studies orbital dynamics and the evolution of solar systems. "Each RFID reader only spits out timestamps and the identity of the bee, so if you want to know what the bees are doing, you need to parse all that information and turn it into things we can understand," Russell says. "For example, how many trips a forager makes per day." While honey bees are known to be very consistent and tend to stick to one species of plant and often one type of reward over a day, a phenomenon known as floral consistency, bumblebees were thought to be more generalist. The present study came somewhat as a surprise in that Russell's team found the bees tend to make strings of foraging runs for the same reward on a given day. "One possible explanation is that foraging for pollen versus nectar requires very different behavioral regimes, so it makes sense for them to focus on one at a time," he says. "Also, in many cases pollen and nectar are not both available from the same plant species." Researchers still don't know why bees switch between foraging for nectar or pollen. "It is possible they take cues from the brood," Russell says, "in that they produce pheromones that say 'we need more of this or more of that.'" Bumblebees that specialize in a task, either over the course of their lifetime or over the course of a foraging day, turned out to be no more active than their generalist peers, however. Neither were they found to be larger, more able foragers -- raising the question as to why they specialize in the first place. "One of the reasons bees might specialize could be some sort of memory constraint," Russell says. "Rather than having to switch back and forth between dealing with many different floral designs and constructions, it might be more efficient to just stick with one for the duration of a foraging day." As for the more domestic individuals that were found to forage far less than their more adventurous colleagues, Russell says that this might reflect economics of skill allocation. "Those that are less good at foraging probably shouldn't go foraging in the first place," he explains, "as that requires a lot of learning how to recognize a flower and how to collect the nectar. Foragers hone their skills over dozens, if not hundreds, of visits until they figure out how to efficiently pry open the lips of a snapdragon flower, for example. Plus, they have to use visual and olfactory cues to learn which are the rewarding and the non-rewarding flowers."


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.futurity.org

Bumble bees tagged with microchips are offering insights into the daily lives of a colony. While most bees are generalists collecting both pollen and nectar over the course of their lifetime, individual workers tend to specialize on one of the two during any given day, dedicating more than 90 percent of their foraging sorties to either pollen or nectar. The observations also reveal that individual bumble bee workers differ vastly in terms of foraging activity. Just like honey bees, bumble bees (Bombus impatiens) play important roles as pollinators, helping with agriculture and fruit production. But despite the ecological services they provide, many aspects of their biology still remain a mystery. By outfitting each bumble bee with a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag—similar to the sensors that protect merchandise from shoplifters—researchers were able to keep tabs on them at all times and log the data automatically instead of relying on human observations limited to certain times. “The way these studies have typically been done requires a human observer sitting in front of a hive entrance and taking notes all day, and nobody wants to do that,” says Avery Russell, a doctoral student in entomology and insects in the lab of Daniel Papaj, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona. “With the RFID chips, we can track every nectar and pollen collection trip made over each worker’s lifespan and a portion of the colony’s lifespan.” Researchers then used the data to determine how patterns of specialization on each food type differed at timescales of a day or over a lifetime. Once a bumble bee queen has mated, she burrows into the ground and overwinters. The following spring, she emerges and starts a hive that lasts until the fall. A typical bumble bee colony grows to about 75 workers, with about 40 to 50 going out and foraging on flowers for nectar and pollen. After the colony’s growth phase, the colony produces unfertilized eggs that hatch into males. The male bumble bees then disperse in search for other unmated queens to begin the cycle anew. “Each individual bee only lives between two weeks to a month at the most,” says Russell, lead author of the study that is published in the journal Scientific Reports. “And even though they behave as generalists over their lifetime, our study showed that they tend to specialize on one food source over the course of a foraging day.” The researchers were surprised to find a big difference in efficiency, with the most active foragers making 40 times the number of trips each day as the least active workers. “Interestingly, when we studied the morphology between very active foragers and workers that barely leave the hive, we found that bees with more sensitive antennae foraged more,” Russell says. Similar variation has been in observed in honey bees and other eusocial species, where some workers are much more active than others, but no one had seen it to this extreme due to the limits of human observations. “If you watch a bee only for an hour or so, you can’t say what it will do over the course of a few days or over its whole life,” Russell says. “We don’t yet know why, but it could be that workers that forage less do so because they aren’t quite as skilled at foraging as others and make themselves useful by doing more around the hive.” To track the bees’ behavior, the team superglued tiny RFID tags to the backs of the bees. Each tag weighs only 2 to 3 percent of the bee’s weight. A Y-tube connects the hive to two arenas, one that offers pollen and one that offers nectar. When a bee leaves the hive to forage, it can choose to go to the pollen chamber or the nectar chamber. Two RFID readers mounted at the entrance keep track of the bees going in and out and help the researchers collect a wealth of data. “This setup gives us information about directionality,” Russell explains. “Is the forager leaving or returning from foraging? We also get an idea of whether a bee goes from one chamber to the other, or whether it makes repeated trips to only one chamber, and we get to know how long the trips were.” Since the team was especially interested in the sequence of the foraging trips over the course of the day, some heavy lifting was needed to make sense of all the data, so Russell enlisted the help of Sarah Morrison, a doctoral student in the UA’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, who studies orbital dynamics and the evolution of solar systems. “Each RFID reader only spits out timestamps and the identity of the bee, so if you want to know what the bees are doing, you need to parse all that information and turn it into things we can understand,” Russell says. “For example, how many trips a forager makes per day.” While honey bees are known to be very consistent and tend to stick to one species of plant and often one type of reward over a day, a phenomenon known as floral consistency, bumble bees were thought to be more generalist. So researchers were somewhat surprised to find the bees tend to make strings of foraging runs for the same reward on a given day. “One possible explanation is that foraging for pollen versus nectar requires very different behavioral regimes, so it makes sense for them to focus on one at a time,” he says. “Also, in many cases pollen and nectar are not both available from the same plant species.” Researchers still don’t know why bees switch between foraging for nectar or pollen. “It is possible they take cues from the brood,” Russell says, “in that they produce pheromones that say ‘we need more of this or more of that.'” Bumble bees that specialize in a task, either over the course of their lifetime or over the course of a foraging day, turned out to be no more active than their generalist peers, however. Neither were they found to be larger, more able foragers—raising the question as to why they specialize in the first place. “One of the reasons bees might specialize could be some sort of memory constraint,” Russell says. “Rather than having to switch back and forth between dealing with many different floral designs and constructions, it might be more efficient to just stick with one for the duration of a foraging day.” As for the more domestic individuals that were found to forage far less than their more adventurous colleagues, Russell says that this might reflect economics of skill allocation. “Those that are less good at foraging probably shouldn’t go foraging in the first place,” he explains, “as that requires a lot of learning how to recognize a flower and how to collect the nectar. Foragers hone their skills over dozens, if not hundreds, of visits until they figure out how to efficiently pry open the lips of a snapdragon flower, for example. Plus, they have to use visual and olfactory cues to learn which are the rewarding and the non-rewarding flowers.”


News Article | February 18, 2017
Site: phys.org

Just like their domesticated cousins, the honey bees, bumblebees play important roles as pollinators, thus helping in agriculture and fruit production. But despite the ecological services they provide, many aspects of their biology still remain a mystery. By outfitting each bumblebee with a radio frequency identification, or RFID, tag—similar to the ones used to protect merchandise from shoplifters—the researchers were able to keep tabs on them at all times and log the data automatically instead of relying on human observations limited to certain times. "The way these studies have typically been done requires a human observer sitting in front of a hive entrance and taking notes all day, and nobody wants to do that," says Avery Russell, the lead author of the study. Russell is a doctoral student in entomology and insect in the lab of Daniel Papaj, a professor in the University of Arizona's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. "With the RFID chips, we can track every nectar and pollen collection trip made over each worker's lifespan and a portion of the colony's lifespan." The researchers then used this data to determine how patterns of specialization on each food type differed at timescales of a day or over a lifetime. The results are published in the journal Scientific Reports. Once a bumblebee queen has mated, she burrows into the ground and overwinters. The following spring, she emerges and starts a hive that lasts until the fall. A typical bumblebee colony grows to about 75 workers, with about 40 to 50 going out and foraging on flowers for nectar and pollen. After the colony's growth phase, the colony produces unfertilized eggs that hatch into males. The male bumblebees then disperse in search for other unmated queens to begin the cycle anew. "Each individual bee only lives between two weeks to a month at the most," Russell says, "and even though they behave as generalists over their lifetime, our study showed that they tend to specialize on one food source over the course of a foraging day." The researchers were surprised to find a vast difference in efficiency, with the most active foragers making 40 times the number of trips each day as the least active workers. "Interestingly, when we studied the morphology between very active foragers and workers that barely leave the hive, we found that bees with more sensitive antennae foraged more," Russell said. Similar variation has been in observed in honey bees and other eusocial species, where some workers are much more active than others, but no one had seen it to this extreme due to the limits of human observations. "If you watch a bee only for an hour or so, you can't say what it will do over the course of a few days or over its whole life," Russell says. "We don't yet know why, but it could be that workers that forage less do so because they aren't quite as skilled at foraging as others and make themselves useful by doing more around the hive." To track the bees' behavior, the team superglues tiny RFID tags to the backs of the bees. Each tag weighs only 2 to 3 percent of the bee's weight. A Y-tube connects the hive to two arenas, one that offers pollen and one that offers nectar. When a bee leaves the hive to forage, it can choose to go to the pollen chamber or the nectar chamber. Two RFID readers mounted at the entrance keep track of the bees going in and out and help the researchers collect a wealth of data. "This setup gives us information about directionality," Russell explains. "Is the forager leaving or returning from foraging? We also get an idea of whether a bee goes from one chamber to the other, or whether it makes repeated trips to only one chamber, and we get to know how long the trips were." Since the team was especially interested in the sequence of the foraging trips over the course of the day, some heavy lifting was needed to make sense of all the data. To do this, Russell enlisted the help of Sarah Morrison, a doctoral student in the UA's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, who studies orbital dynamics and the evolution of solar systems. "Each RFID reader only spits out timestamps and the identity of the bee, so if you want to know what the bees are doing, you need to parse all that information and turn it into things we can understand," Russell says. "For example, how many trips a forager makes per day." While honey bees are known to be very consistent and tend to stick to one species of plant and often one type of reward over a day, a phenomenon known as floral consistency, bumblebees were thought to be more generalist. The present study came somewhat as a surprise in that Russell's team found the bees tend to make strings of foraging runs for the same reward on a given day. "One possible explanation is that foraging for pollen versus nectar requires very different behavioral regimes, so it makes sense for them to focus on one at a time," he says. "Also, in many cases pollen and nectar are not both available from the same plant species." Researchers still don't know why bees switch between foraging for nectar or pollen. "It is possible they take cues from the brood," Russell says, "in that they produce pheromones that say 'we need more of this or more of that.'" Bumblebees that specialize in a task, either over the course of their lifetime or over the course of a foraging day, turned out to be no more active than their generalist peers, however. Neither were they found to be larger, more able foragers—raising the question as to why they specialize in the first place. "One of the reasons bees might specialize could be some sort of memory constraint," Russell says. "Rather than having to switch back and forth between dealing with many different floral designs and constructions, it might be more efficient to just stick with one for the duration of a foraging day." As for the more domestic individuals that were found to forage far less than their more adventurous colleagues, Russell says that this might reflect economics of skill allocation. "Those that are less good at foraging probably shouldn't go foraging in the first place," he explains, "as that requires a lot of learning how to recognize a flower and how to collect the nectar. Foragers hone their skills over dozens, if not hundreds, of visits until they figure out how to efficiently pry open the lips of a snapdragon flower, for example. Plus, they have to use visual and olfactory cues to learn which are the rewarding and the non-rewarding flowers." Explore further: Bees able to spot which flowers offer best rewards before landing More information: Avery L. Russell et al, Patterns of pollen and nectar foraging specialization by bumblebees over multiple timescales using RFID, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/srep42448

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