9 sites with different urbanisation levels have been selected in Sydney. All of this sites have honey bee hives managed by local bee keepers. I plan to capture bees using a hand net, and lowering their metabolism by putting them in a freezer during 180 seconds. Once they are immobilized, I will: a) weigh them using a portable scale, b) mark them using plastic tags, c) take high resolution pictures to their wings and bodies, and d) release them once their metabolism normalizes.
I will come back three and six days after the initial marking session, and will repeat steps (a), (c), and (d). I will also monitor the bee hives' surrounding, looking for dead marked bees. All recovered marked bodies will be taken back to the lab, to corroborate previously quantified traits. Ecological information will be collected in each of the sites (e.g. vegetation diversity and density).
Bees from different locations will be compared, and the differences in their morphological traits analysed.
Re-capturing marked honey bees is not easy. We have tried this in the past and the re-capture rates were very low (5-10%). To increase this rate, re-capture times have been decreased in to 30%.
This project has not yet shared any protocols.