SWOSU professor discovers bee species

A Southwestern Oklahoma State University professor, Victor Gonzalez, found the bee while working on a project with a scientist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Bee Biology and Systematics Laboratory in Logan, Utah.
by Silas Allen Published: September 27, 2013
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Oklahoma has about 200 known species of bees, he said, and large swathes of the state haven't been surveyed. There are probably other species in those areas that scientists don't know about, he said.

Those bees play an important role in pollinating wild and cultivated plants, he said. About two-thirds of the food available today comes either directly or indirectly from plants pollinated by bees, he said.

Recent declines in bee populations make identifying species more important than ever, Gonzalez said. If scientists can recognize the species that exist, they'll be able to tell which ones are being affected by changes in their environments.

“If we don't know what is out there, we cannot quantify any impact,” he said.

by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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Background

Continent home to many species

Victor Gonzalez, a faculty member in the Southwestern Oklahoma State University biology department, and a scientist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Bee Biology and Systematics Laboratory in Logan, Utah, discovered the bee as part of a project that looks at native bees in North America. The continent is home to about 4,000 species of bees, Gonzalez said, and up to 40 percent of them are likely to be undiscovered species.

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