Flower society

A pollinator is considered to be any organism that helps the transfer of plant pollen. Although there are many examples within the animal world, the main representatives are insects from the order of butterflies and the order of beetles (bees, bumblebees, wasps and ants). Rapid habitat loss, overuse of pesticides and climate change have contributed to the sudden death of large numbers of pollinators. The importance of pollinators is recognized worldwide, and their conservation depends on an understanding of anthropogenic influences on their abundance and diversity.

“Flower Society” is a research and educational project of the BIUS section for butterflies in collaboration with the section for butterflies. It is based on the study of wild pollinators of the City of Zagreb by conducting one-day field research during the year.

The City of Zagreb, with its accommodation along the Medvednica Mountain, the Sava River and a large number of urban green areas, is a perfect candidate for studying the impact of urban areas and the anthropogenic effect on the presence of pollinators. Given the trend of pollinator extinction due to urbanization, pollution and climate change, our goal is to assess the diversity of pollinator populations in urban environments such as the City of Zagreb.

The project will be implemented through three seasons: spring, summer, and autumn, with one-day terrains in early April, May, June, and late September. Four locations of implementation were selected according to the geographical location within the city, altitude, and the presence of flower resources. Ponikve Meadow, Medvednica; Maksimir Park; Collective location of city parks (Dr. Franjo Tuđman Park, Tuškanac Forest Park, Zrinjevac, PMF Botanical Garden) and the surroundings of the University Hospital. By analyzing these locations, we will obtain data on species diversity depending on altitude, degree of urbanization, and species specificity for specific locations.

Pollinators will be caught by a selective method of entomological networks passing through the transect. There will be a demonstration of night terrain, where butterflies will be caught using UV light pyramids and automatic light traps. Within one day, one location will be visited and at the end of the month, after visiting all 4 locations, the captured samples will be determined with the help of a mentor at the determination workshop. After the determination of the samples, the insects are prepared using entomological needles and stored in entomological collection boxes. All determined samples will become part of the entomological collection. This cycle of 4 terrains and workshops will be repeated throughout these months with the aim of collecting species throughout the season.

In addition to the research purpose of the project, the project also has an educational side that will be marked by lectures on the idea of ​​the project, its implementation, and results. Also, several short interactive lectures and workshops will be held in high schools with the idea of ​​promoting the protection of natural resources and nature conservation. In addition to the workshops, there will be a one-day field for high school students where the leaders will share field experiences gained by working on this project. The citizen scientist approach includes the implementation of the project with the contribution of citizens by sending photos, tagging on social networks, and participating in monitoring the occurrence of species. After processing the data, they will be compared with the findings of rural areas and the obtained data will be used for further research on the impact of urban areas on the pollinator population.

Project is paid by Student Center of Zagreb.