Jesse Wade Robinson
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Pollinators in Peril:
Testing how honey bees avoid predators

Why are species disappearing? How can we save species? How can we use science to better our world?

Students in bee suits

Project Description:

Bees are a main pollinator for flowering plants in many ecosystems. They are responsible for pollinating much of the food that we eat and many of the plants important to maintaining healthy ecosystems. Recently, there has been a significant decline in the number of honey bees and many species of native bees. One of the factors that may be affecting bee populations is predators. Yet little is known about how predators capture bees, or how bees avoid predators. You will design experiments to test bees’ reactions to predators. This important research will be used by scientists, such as Dr. Eben Goodale and Dr. James Nieh, to better understand bees and their decline. You can help reverse bee colony collapse.

Project Deliverables:

Scientific paper that summarizes your experiment and results

PowerPoint presentation to the UCSD Nieh Lab scientists summarizing your experiment and results

Project Benchmarks:




TED Talk Clip: Dennis vanEngelsdorp's "A Plea for Bees"
Guest lecture by Dr. Eben Goodale, The Importance of Pollinators and Predators

Dr. Eben Goodale Lecturing students at High Tech High

9/6 Initial Research & Draft of introduction to paper due


Biodiversity and Bees reading due


Field trip to UCSD Nieh Bee Lab and Bee Hives to observe bees in hive, training of bees, and mock experiment

Bee doing a wagglke dance at observation hive


Observations at Hives due


Field trip to Skeleton Canyon to collect and identify bee predators with entomologists, Jim Berrian and James Hung

Jim Berrian and students collect bee predators
Dr. Eben Goodale helps students collect predators at skeleton Canyon
9/13 Predator Identification due
9/16 Lesson on the process of science and brainstorm of experimental design


Lesson on writing a methods section and first draft of methods section due


Bee anatomy lecture and dissection with Dr. Eben Goodale

Dr. Eben Goodale helps three students dissect bees Dr. Goodale shows two students the sting gland in a bee


10/6 & 10/11

Experiments at the Hives at UCSD

Three students in bee suits conduct experiments at the hive. Three students at bee suits look at camera Dr. Goodale helps students with experiments


10/12 Revision of introduction and method due


Lesson on revising scientific paper. Third draft of introduction and method due


Guest lesson by Dr. Eben Goodale, Statistical Analysis of Bee Response to Predators
First draft
of results and conclusion due.


Abstract and literature cited due


First draft of paper due; PowerPoint due

11/9 Second draft of paper due


Presentation to scientists of the Nieh Lab at UCSD

Five students stand in front of projector and audience.


Third draft of paper due


Final paper due.


Exhibition preparation

12/7 Presentation at Ocean Beach Farmer's Market 3-7pm


Exhibition at HTH 6-8pm

Student shows spiders to two visitors With help of father, a boy looks through a microscope. A student looks into camera in front of a design for a mechanical grasping arm.




Examples of Student Work:

PowerPoint Presentations

Video of the presentations

PowerPoint Slide on The Effects of Acanthylosa on Apis Mellifera Feeding Behavior PowerPoint slide on the effect of predator scent on Apis meelifera feedoing behavior. PowerPoint Slide on The effect of spider webs on Apis Mellifera Feeding Behavior

Scientific Papers

The Effect of Spider Webs on Apis mellifera Feeding Behavior by Ambar Avila
The Effects of Acantholycosa on Apis mellifera Feeding Behavior by Jack Davis

Documents Made for Presentations at Farmers Market and School Exhibition

 Pollinators in Peril Poster with Students wearing bee suit and working on a jig.

Pollinators in Peril Poster with descriptions of experiments conducted in biology and bee domiciles constructed in engineering.

Brochure on Pollinators in Peril Project
Brochure on Mason Bees
Brochure on How to Attract Bees