For the last several years, members of my lab and I have been involved in surveying the diversity of bumblebees in and around Maine. I’ve been a volunteer contributor to the Maine Bumblebee Atlas, a citizen science project run by researchers at UMaine Farmington and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. We’ve also been submitting observations to bumblebeewatch.org, which is run by the Xerxes Society, a non-profit focused on invertebrate conservation.

Related to that work, I’ve been interested in methods for the visualization of complex dataset. As a side project, I’ve drafted a map of bumblebee sightings around the Gulf of Maine. This was also my first attempt to use Shiny, the R package for dynamic web content. This interactive map presents data collected by me and my students as well as numerous citizen scientists. Here, members of the community, can explore the distributions of bumblebees around the Gulf of Maine. Clicking on individual dots provides more detail on each bee. Once genetic and microbiome data are available, I will add those data to this online visualization. That addition will allow students and community members to see for themselves how the diversity of bumblebees, their microbial communities, and their health varies across the landscape.

Let me know what you think of it!