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Arboretum landscape turns laboratory

Members from Dr. Rachael Vanette's lab
Members from Dr. Rachael Vanette’s lab select fuchsia blossoms to take back to the lab for analysis. Here, Griffin Hall makes sure to choose blossoms whose nectar has not been robbed by a carpenter bee. Carpenter bees are too big to fit inside the blossom so instead they will bite into the bottom of a flower and “rob” the nectar from there instead .

Dr. Rachel Vannette and lab members are studying microscopic organisms in the nectar of California fuchsia (Epilobium canum). They want to know if the microscopic composition of the nectar varies throughout the flowers’ age and whether it changes as a result of being exposed to pollinators. The nylon bags you see on the corner of Mrak Hall Drive and Arboretum Drive are used to prevent pollinator contact. Every other day they collect covered and uncovered blossoms and take them back to the lab for analysis.

The Arboretum’s documented plant collections are used by researchers in a variety of fields. Learn more about current and recent research utilizing our outdoor, living museum as a laboratory.