Harvard Forest Schoolyard LTER teacher published in Biology Letters

Network News Fall 2009, Vol. 22 No. 2
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Ms. Katie Bennett, a long-time participant in the Harvard Forest's Schoolyard LTER Program and a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Teachers (RET) collaborator on ant and pitcher-plant research, has published her first paper in Biology Letters, the rapid communication journal of the Royal Society of London.

In the paper Katie, who is a 5th-grade teacher at Ashburnham's J.R.Briggs Elementary School in northern Worcester County, Massachusetts, along with Harvard Forest Senior Ecologist Aaron Ellison, used a creative field experiment to distinguish between competing hypotheses about how carnivorous pitcher plants attract prey. Their work shows clearly that prey are attracted to pitcher plants by nectar, not color, settling a long-standing debate about mechanisms underlying prey capture by pitcher plants. The research was supported by an NSF RET supplement award to Bennett, who also received a second RET supplement to continue her research on pitcher plants last summer.

Bennett also presented a poster on her pitcher plant research with Dr. Aaron Ellison at a well-attended session during the August Ecological Society of America (ESA) annual meeting in Albuquerque, NM.

Paper: Bennett, K. F., and A. M. Ellison. 2009. Nectar, not colour, may lure insects to their death. Biology Letters. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2009.0161

Poster: Bennet, K. F., and A. M. Ellison. 2009. Nectar, not color, may lure insects to their death.