“C.S.I. Pollen”, a Coloss project, aims to be the largest investigation on pollen diversity available to honey bee colonies in Europe. This should be accomplished by an international approach involving beekeepers to participate as citizen scientists. The project period is 2014 and 2015.
Pollen diversity is a precondition for balanced protein, fatty acids and minerals for honey bees. Low diversity is a factor for decrease of colony vitality. In order to investigate this feed factor, the CSI pollen project aim to make an international inventory of pollen diversity linked to land use and the honey bee season. Such a large scaled study is only possible with the help of beekeepers. The beekeepers, that are the main stakeholders, collect data on pollen diversity in a 3-week scheme on three colonies per apiary from April till September. In many European countries samples are collected on the same weekend. The pollen pellets are sorted by the citizen scientist / beekeeper by colour. The number of colours plus data on location, land use and geographical features of the proximity of the apiary are submitted to a central database at the University of Graz. This is the first tier of the project. This first tier will probably underestimate the pollen diversity as colour is only a rough parameter. Subsequently, in the second tier, in national laboratories, the same samples are analysed microscopically to establish the number of pollen types (botanical diversity) to correct the underestimation of the first tier data.
In each participating country a national coordinator is responsible for recruiting the beekeepers that are willing to be a citizen scientist in this project and to help and support the beekeepers in their CS task. A picture manual in each home language is provided to all citizen scientists to ensure all data are collected the same way.