Dr. Rachael Bonoan is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Providence College, where she teaches in the Environmental Biology major and leads the Bonoan (aka Providence Pollinator) Lab. The Providence Pollinator lab focuses on insect pollinators, which get most of their nutrients by collecting protein-rich pollen and sugary nectar from flowers. Hailing from Tiverton, RI, she is grateful to be studying insect pollinator nutrition and behavior in her home state.
Rachael and her students have surveyed insect pollinator diversity on Westerly Land Trust properties using bee hotels, bee bowls, and field observations. These data are part of the Providence Pollinator Lab’s reference collection of RI insect pollinators, with a focus on bees. Students in the Providence Pollinator Lab are also investigating which flowering plant species are most visited by bees, and the nutritional content of those flowers. Taken together, these data can be used to inform native pollinator-friendly plantings on Westerly Land Trust properties and beyond. Preliminary data show that if you want to plant for pollinators, dense blazing star (Liatris spicata) is a pollinator magnet, that is also nutritious!
Outside of research and teaching, Rachael is co-founder of the Tufts Pollinator Initiative and founding member/past president of the Boston Area Beekeepers Association. She is passionate about sharing her research with diverse audiences and engaging children in science through encouraging curiosity, which is the topic of her TEDx talk and children’s eBook, Dress Like a Scientist Day.
To learn more about the scientists & stewards on our land click HERE.