Bob will cover pollination by the cactus bees, fruit dispersal by jackrabbits and cottontails, seed burial by termites, and several other interactions with insects and mammals in southern Arizona.
Robert spent the early part of his career studying the seasonality and harvest of pollen by honey bee colonies in southern Arizona (USDA Honey Bee Research Center, Tucson) and western Panamá (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa). Upon returning to Arizona in 1993, he soon discovered that for most species of cacti, even those listed by the state and federal governments, very little - or nothing - was known about their natural history, including pollination, seed dispersal, seedling growth, causes of mortality, life span, and fecundity. Even today, the population sizes of most rare cacti have not been estimated. With small grants from Fish and Wildlife Service in the late 1990s, he set up a number of permanent plots to monitor growth and survival of Turks Head Cactus in the Waterman Mountains and on the Tohono O'odham Reservation. Since 1997 and as opportunity permitted, he has set up a number of plots to monitor Pima pineapple cactus in the Santa Cruz and Altar valleys. With the assistance of AmeriCorps, he set up about 15 80-acre Pima pineapple cactus plots in the Altar Valley in 2001-2003. He is wrapping up a study in the summer of 2012 on how the seeds of Pima pineapple cactus are dispersed. He continues to be interested in the spatial distribution of this plant, its pollinators, and herbivores.
Be sure to mark your calendar and come enjoy a fun evening with an excellent program, good food, free plants and more!