The Buzz Around Solar Energy: How pollinators could be affected in an urban prairie located under a solar array

Title

The Buzz Around Solar Energy: How pollinators could be affected in an urban prairie located under a solar array

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Description

Nonrenewable resources are approaching obsolescence as communities look towards the future and sustainability. Solar energy has been a hot topic, but there is concern about the structures taking over habitats and disrupting the ecosystems they will share. As solar energy, specifically ground solar, becomes more prevalent in communities, the worry of preserving land and habitats increases particularly for lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) and hymenoptera (bees and wasps). This concern is based on the simple fact that renewable energy sources need more area to be effective. This research will examine how the installation of solar panels could affect how frequently pollinators visit a prairie. We observed the number of different pollinators that visited Solidago riddellii and Ageratina altissima which are both prairie plants native to Ohio. Since the prairie had not been seeded yet, 60 mason jars with the prairie plants were placed outside of and underneath the rows of solar panels. The jars were left out for about 24 hours. During this time, an observer recorded pollinators that landed on the flowers.This experiment started late in the flowering season and we did not get sufficient data to answer these questions. However, the ground has been cleared and seeding has now taken place. Since the prairie will be growing by Fall 2019, further observation will take place to test the central question in this study. Continuing this study could help many communities plan for thriving pollinator communities as they begin to install ground solar panels. While renewable energy is crucial, it is important to consider the ecosystem that they are being introduced to and how they might affect target organism of restoration.

Publication Date

4-24-2019

Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Leah J Ceperley, Kathleen A Kargl, Chelse M Prather

Primary Advisor's Department

Biology

Keywords

Stander Symposium poster

Comments

Presenter: Marigrace Sandi Moses, Francisco Jose Suarez Negron

The Buzz Around Solar Energy: How pollinators could be affected in an urban prairie located under a solar array

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