Congratulations to Shannon Collins | Advanced Environmental Research Institute
April 27, 2023

Congratulations to Shannon Collins

Lucy Braun Award for Excellence in Ecology

Shannon M. Collins, M.S. Student and Graduate Research Assistant, University of North Texas, Department of Biological Sciences

Lucy Braun, an eminent plant ecologist and one of the charter members of the Society, studied and mapped the deciduous forest regions of eastern North America and described them in her classic book, The Deciduous Forests of Eastern North America.

To honor her, the E. Lucy Braun Award for Excellence in Ecology is given to a student for an outstanding poster presentation at the ESA Annual Meeting. Papers and posters are judged on the significance of ideas, creativity, quality of methodology, validity of conclusions drawn from results and clarity of presentation.

Shannon M. Collins is the recipient of the 2022 E. Lucy Braun Award for her poster presentation at the 2022 ESA Annual Meeting, entitled, "Bottom-up impacts of rotational grazing disturbance on ground-nesting bee assemblages: do they dig it?"

Collins' work addresses how livestock grazing history influences ground-nesting bee communities' access to nesting sites and food resources.

Bee soil nesting habitat has historically been understudied despite its importance for larval survival. Her results show that longer histories of rotational grazing (preceded by continuous grazing) were associated with an increase in vegetative groundcover. However, this impact was unimportant for ground-nesting bee abundance. Instead, soil sand content, which was unaffected by grazing history, was the only significant soil habitat measure driving ground-nesting bee abundance.

Her preliminary results suggest that rotational livestock grazing may be compatible with grassland bee conservation, and highlight the need for determining the mechanisms through which grazing impacts pollinators with different foraging and nesting needs.