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Into the Wilds

September 27, 2011

At the Wilds, Ohio State Professor Karen Goodell studies how and why bees thrive.

Karen Goodell has a fact that might surprise you: "About 70 percent of flowering plants, including one in three bites of food we eat, require pollination by a bee."

Goodell, a professor in the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at Ohio State's Newark campus, is interested in bee populations. At the Wilds—a southern Ohio conservation center located on reclaimed strip mine land—she is studying the relationship between bee communities and prairie habitats.

"Bees are really the organisms that are moving genes around for plants," she says. "Pollinators are absolutely essential for agricultural production. We need to understand what makes their populations thrive."

Goodell’s two projects use 72 different locations dispersed around the Wilds; Ohio State students help her collect data.

"Being a freshman and getting an internship is amazing," says Stephany Chicaiza, who spent the summer after her first year at Ohio State working with Goodell. "I think it puts me at a different level."

Read more about Goodell's research in onCampus, Ohio State's faculty/staff newspaper.