Last summer's total solar eclipse sliced right through Columbia, Missouri. "It was remarkable. As a biologist I generally reserve that word 'remarkable' for biological phenomena."Candace Galen is based at the University of Missouri, in Columbia. And, being a biologist, she thought, why not use this astronomical phenomenon to study a biological one? Specifically: as the skies darkened, would daytime pollinators, like bumblebees and honeybees, call it quits? "What better activity during an eclipse than to go out with a recorder and record the bees? "

去年夏天的日全食席卷了密苏里州的哥伦比亚。“这是非凡的。作为一名生物学家,我通常对生物现象保留“卓越”这个词。坎迪斯·盖伦(Candace Galen)就职于哥伦比亚的密苏里大学。作为一个生物学家,她想,为什么不利用这个天文现象来研究一个生物学现象呢?具体来说:随着天空变暗,像大黄蜂和蜜蜂这样的日间传粉者会就此罢休吗?“在日食期间,有什么比带着录音机去记录蜜蜂的活动更好的呢?”

So Galen asked 400 citizen scientists—including young students—to place audio recorders in 16 flower patches along the path of totality, in Oregon, Idaho and Missouri. When they analyzed the audio, they found that during partial eclipse, bee buzzing continued. But when totality hit, the bees went silent… and only the conversational buzz of human observers could be heard. Then, as the moon passed and the sun again lit up the sky, the bees regained their buzz.The full write-up is in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America.


Galen and her colleagues did notice one strange detail: the individual buzzes lasted longer than normal during the partial eclipse periods. Perhaps, Galen says, because the bees were flying more slowly to navigate darker conditions. Or maybe they were returning to their nests, thinking the day was through. It's hard to tell from the recording, she says. Which is why, come the next American total solar eclipse in 2024, she'll be back out listening once again. "I'm a scientist, my curiosity is never satisfied, right?"